The Yoga of Packing



BY: Jessica Proulx 

AH, amazing. You booked a yoga retreat and you are so excited to travel to a far off land and experience time in meditation and contemplation. You are looking forward to the change this trip will breed and you have, in your mind, a set of intentions for your retreat and your practice. And, you might think that your practice begins when you kick off your flip flops and take your first seat on your mat- but that is not the case. 

Your retreat starts the moment you begin to pack your bag, and, if, you are looking to find some growth and change on this trip, you don’t want to pack the same way you always do. 

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes. 

Carrying along all of your “baggage” only adds to the layers you are trying to peel away to get back to that deep part of yourself you are longing to spend time with. When preparing for a yoga retreat (or even a regular vacation) think simple, necessary, and organized. When you take away some of the guess work, “do I wear this dress with those shoes, or those pants with this shirt, red lip stick, green eye shadow”, you are able to devote your time and energy to you. 

Here are my simple tools to begin your retreat early and practice “The Yoga of Packing” 

  • Carry- On whenever you can. A carry-on bag forces your to pack light and necessary, it skips some anxiety inducing steps at the airport, and it stream lines your travel process. 
  • Choose the right kind of bag for you. I personally love a hearty back pack. By carrying my bag on my back, my hands are freed up to hand off my travel documents, drink a cup of tea, shop around during layovers, and I don’t have to keep looking down to make sure that it is there. Other people opt for a roller bag. Whichever you choose, make sure you test it out. Is it easy to maneuver, comfortable on your body, are you able to pick it up easily and place it in the overhead bin?
  • Choose your liquids wisely. When you carry on, the TSA allows you to pack 3.4oz liquid containers in a clear, quart sized, zip lock bag. Remember that almost everywhere you travel offers shampoo, conditioner and body wash, so there is no need to pack it. For liquids, I always choose a travel size sunscreen (so I can get right in the the sun without running to a store), a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap (it works as shampoo, body wash, laundry soap, and pretty much anything that needs to be cleaned), and natural bug spray.  Even in the craziest travel spots, I have been able to find all the comforts of home in local stores, hotel gift shops and airports. Grab what ever extras you need when you arrive. 
  • Only pack the clothes you need: Oh, if there is anywhere that attachment to the material can rear its ugly head, it is with clothing. If you are traveling to a warm climate, you don’t need jeans, a hoodie, or an bulky clothing. It is usually easy to find a laundry facility, and if you can’t, you can wash your clothes with the Dr. Bronner’s and hang it up to dry. You only need a handful of tops and bottoms and plenty of under garments. Pack sensible shoes that will be comfortable for lots of walking and can go in the water, a hat a sunglasses to protect from the sun, and one 2 bathing suits (you can wash them out each night and hang them to dry). 
  • Pack a second, small bag: If you carry on, you are able to pack another, small personal bag. This is the bag that you want to put under the seat in front of you on the plane and the one you want to pack the essentials that you keep close by so not to disturb your bag in the overhead bag. This bag is perfect for your wallet, phone, travel documents, passport, any needed medication, a book or other entertainment, a bottle of water (staying hydrated is so important during travel) and your head phones.
  • The little things: Start with the necessary: toothpaste (I go with tooth powder- you don’t have to worry about getting it all over your bag), tooth brush, deodorant, medications & vitamins and anything else that you need to be clean and comfortable. Pack any power cords for you electronics and remember a universal adapter if you are traveling to places outside of the US with different plugs. Once you have all that you NEED, fill the rest of your space with the things you want: a journal, extra book, make-up, essential oils, etc.. 

Be mindful and present while you pack. Take the time to breathe, organize and be honest with yourself about what you want and what you really need. When you are able to simplify your travel experience, your energy is spent more wisely and directly on the work you have set out to do. Take the worry out of having everything you want, and feel satisfied and easy having just what you need. 

Check out the video below for more.




Jessica Proulx, ERYT 200, ERYT 500

Owner, Yoga Teacher, Massage Therapist, Teacher at Om Yoga Teacher Training School

Jessica Proulx BA, LMT, RYT and Reiki Practitioner graduated from the University Of Connecticut in 2005 and from The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 2009. She has been studying yoga since the age of 16 and has been teaching yoga since the age of 18. While in college, Jessica completed a study abroad program in Bangkok and Chiang Mai Thailand where she furthered her education in Buddhism and Thai culture. Jessica is a Justice of the Peace in Connecticut and available to perform wedding ceremonies for those looking for a spiritual ceremony outside of a specific religious sect.

Jess believes that yoga and wellness should and could be affordable and attainable for anyone and that is why in 2011 she got some of the most talented people she knew in the field to come to Om- and from there, The OM Center was created. She teaches both in Connecticut and Om Center Retreats both in the US and abroad. She is the owner and lead teacher of The Om Center Yoga Teacher School which offers 200 hour and soon to be 500 hour yoga teacher trainings and is the future director of Sugar Mountain Farm Retreat.

She has earned her 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification from The Kripalu School of Yoga with an emphasis on Vinyasa and Ayurveda. Jess has been lucky enough to study with some amazing and incredible teachers like Yoganand Michael Carol , Larissa Hall-Carlson, Coby Kozlowski, Sudhir Jonathan Foust, Crystal Sullivan and Shelley Nyren all of whom she highly recommends to those who are looking to further their studies in Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation and/or Pranayama.

Film By: Spencer Fappiano of Fappiano Films 

Find him and his work @fappianofilms