Kick off National Yoga Month with 7 tips for starting and maintaining an at home yoga practice.Read more
It's time to travel!
The travel bug is just around the corner as summer makes it's turn to greet us. That means you may find your seat planted in tight spaces with long flights or car rides on the front and tail end of your adventures. This month, I am bringing some moves you can do from your chair; to stretch out, calm, move about from your seat.
Let's start with some simple neck stretches.
Sit on the floor with your back against the seat of a chair. You can cross your legs or have them long out in front of you. Palms down and relaxed. Begin to tilt your head back slowly, rocking side to side. If your head can touch down comfortably on the seat on the chair, allow it to rest. If you need an extra lift or support on the back of your neck, use a pillow or roll up an outer layer so that you can breathe and relax with your heart lifted. Breathe here for a few minutes and slowly come up, taking long blinks, to reconnect. This is great for many of us that tend to have our heads down in our phones or a book, a gentle counterbalance to rounding the neck and back.
If you're feeling anxious or have been rushing through the storm of other buzzing travelers throughout the airport and such, this is next one is for you. Have a seat in a chair, take your legs wide, and begin to bow forward. Come to a place in the fold that you can relax, feel at ease. You can place a pillow or your backpack between your upper body and legs for support. Let your head hang here. You can grab opposite elbow creases or interlace your fingers at the base of your head. Allow the head to get heavy, neck is loose. Take several breaths here, or fold for 1-2 minutes. Slowly, come up to sit. Forward bending calms the nervous system, allowing you to go inside yourself with your breath and release.
Working your way down the body, take your palms shoulder-width distance to the top of your chair and begin to walk your feet back. You may place your feet beneath your hips in this half lift, L-shape. Or, if you're like me, with tight hamstrings, walk your feet a foot forward and bend your knees. Press your palms down. Neck is neutral, melting your chest. Draw your ribs in as you send your tailbone back. Stay here for a few breaths. This is great for lengthening your back-body, opening the shoulders, chest, and hamstrings.
This next series is a 3-part one. These are mild movements you can do consisting a little core work, arm strengthening, and front body opening. Sit in your chair, take your palms down on each side of you. Press down, lift your bum off your seat. Start with your knees bent, feet hip-width distance. With your breath, press down, straightening your arms to lift up. Draw your belly in and move with your breath. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift. Take 10-20 reps, rest for 5 breaths, and continue for sets of three. This is great to get some blood pumping into your system. A little heart-rate action, especially if you've been sitting for long periods of time.
The next posture is a variation of reverse plank. You'll start seated, like above, and begin to walk your feet forward, stretching your hip flexors, and front body. This posture involves light core work while stretching—it’s great if you've been sitting for long periods as the hips flexors can feel tight. This feels great, stay here for 5-10 breaths and lower back down.
And finally, a hip opener. Get right in to the outer hip and flute, a variation of half-pigeon in a yoga class. This one can be done in your seat. Sit up nice and tall. To start, take your right ankle on top of your left thigh and flex your right foot. You have the option to take one palm to the right foot and one on your knee. You can begin to bow forward, melting your and belly chest forward, like you would in half pigeon. Stay here for 3-5 minutes, allowing your body to relax, and your spirit to breathe.
These are a few great ways to incorporate some calm, stretch, and a little body movement while traveling. These poses can be done in small places, using a chair, and nearly everywhere. Sometimes we have to use what we have on the fly. Heck, you may find someone asking what you're up to and they may join in. Keep your calm and stretch on.