Yoga to Prep for Long Flights
Travel is exhilarating, life-changing, inspiring – and absolutely brutal on the body. Unless you’re a CEO, Executive, or plain old billionaire, you’ll be calling economy class your home for 10+ hours on international flights. While there are plenty of ways to make yourself more comfortable during flights, a good habit to get into is limbering up before you even get off the ground.
Whether you’re visiting family, heading off to a retreat, or beginning a new adventure, get into your Zen state with these great poses:
Sitting upright in an uncomfortable chair for hours causes a lot of strain and can bring on a massive headache. Loosen up your neck and shoulders with a nice full body stretch like Downward Dog.
Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders aligned over your wrists and hips over knees. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across your hands. Tuck your toes under and lift up and back, reaching your pelvis towards the ceiling. Touch your heels to the floor if you can, but if not stay on your toes. Your body should resemble an “a” shape. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders.
Thread the Needle
Another pose that’s great for your neck and shoulders, thread the needle is a gentle twist the help release tension.
Start again on your hands and knees, shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Inhale, reaching your right arm up to the ceiling, then exhale and bring that arm down, sliding it under your left arm. Keep your palm up and reach until you can set your shoulder onto your mat. Rest your cheek lightly on the mat, putting your weight on your left arm and keeping the hips up. Switch sides and repeat.
Even though your back and neck may seem the stiffest after a long flight, your lower body needs attention too. Avoid tight hips and sore legs with a deep stretch like a low lunge.
Begin in downward dog, bringing your right leg forward between your hands. Lower your left leg towards the ground, touching from your knee to your toes down onto the mat. Sink your pelvis down to stretch deeper. You can either touch your fingertips to the ground or rest your hands on your knee. Make sure your right knee stays over your ankle to avoid injury. Repeat on the left side.
Known by many other names such as The Cobbler’s pose and Bound Angle, Butterfly is great for opening the hips and can even aid digestion.
Sit with the soles of your feet touching and your back straight. Pull your heels in as close to your pelvis as possible, stopping when you feel you can’t go any farther without putting too much pressure on the knees. Try to keep your knees close to the ground and don’t let them fly up when you pull your heels in.
Seated Spinal Twist
Say goodbye to a stiff back! Seated Spinal Twist brings flexibility to the entire back, one vertebra at a time. There are many variations, but one of the most popular is known as Half Lord of the Fishes.
Start in a sitting position with your legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring your foot towards your pelvis, leaving the leg resting on the ground. Bring the left leg up and over the right, resting your left foot beside your right thigh. Next, lift your chest and reach your spin up, then hook your right arm over your left knee, twisting your torso to the left. Breathe here for five breaths, and then switch sides.
Hopefully, these poses will help you arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to go. Some can even be practiced on the plane if you’re willing to put up with confused and mildly amused expressions. Who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire a yoga revolution amongst your fellow passengers!