Travel can take a toll on the body. Long flights, road trips, or train rides force us to cramp our bodies into a small seat for numerous hours. Practicing a few gentle yoga poses before traveling can help lengthen the muscles of our bodies before we take off. The same goes for after we arrive.
Poses to Do Before Traveling
Find an area at the airport or train station that provides enough space for you to stretch your limbs comfortably — if you are going on a road trip, you can do these poses at home before you leave Try not to feel weird about practicing in a public place, remember you are doing this for the benefit of your health, so own your practice.
These poses will create length in the spine, and open the hips and groin. It will be nice to have some length and openness before getting into your seat. Hold each pose for approximately five breaths (1 minute):
Downward Facing Dog / Adho Mukha Svanasana
Standing Forward Fold / Uttanasna with feet hip distance apart
Seated Forward Fold / Pashimottanasana
Seated Spinal Twist
The above poses help create length in the spine, creating space for the vertebrae. They also help release any tension in the low back, and lengthen and stretch the muscles of the lower back.
The following poses help open the hips and inner groin. The hips become very tight while sitting for long hours. Hip opening poses also help us release stress, which could be built up from preparing for your trip.
Ankle to knee
Bound Angle / Baddha Konasana
Wide legged forward fold / Upavistha Konasana
Poses to Do After Your Flight
You can do these poses when you arrive at your destination. After flying, we want to re-lengthen the spine, create more openness in our hips (which are most likely very tight from sitting in a confined space), and help fight jet lag or the tiredness traveling typically creates.
Hold each of these poses for five breaths (1 minute). These poses will create a sense of grounding, help fight off any bloating you experience in your stomach and feet and recirculate energy throughout the body.
*Repeat Forward Fold / Uttanasana with hands clasped up and over the head, *after 3 breaths, switch the clasp of the hands
Lying on back, knees into the chest
The above poses lengthen the spine, and stretch the lower back. These poses will feel very different when done after your fight/train/car ride from all the crunching that was just done in the spine. Give your body a few minutes to adjust and to re-lengthen.
Continue with Tree pose, which helps us feel grounded after spending hours in the air.
Stretch deeply in Pigeon to open the hips once again.
Bring your legs up to a wall. Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes. This poses increasing circulation and allows blood to flow in the reverse way, towards the heart and head. This pose will help any swollen feet/ankles from flying and will also ease the onset of jetlag.
Happy Traveling yogi’s – J
*For more information on each pose, what they look like, and how to get into them, I suggest using the Yoga Journal Pose Index.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Justine Thorner is a yoga instructor and board certified health coach. She is able to integrate yoga with her understanding of and passion for nutrition and holistic health to help her clients live their happiest, healthiest & most fulfilling lives. Justine loves sharing her knowledge with the world. Check out her website & facebook page for healthy tips & inspiration, and stay connected with her on twitter.
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