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Some of the greatest joys of life are the adventures of traveling. Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure or both, travel can bring challenges such as tight quarters and being unable to move around for extended periods of time—Coach class, anyone?
Practicing a few yoga poses can help lengthen tight muscles and release tension before you take off, while in transit, and after you arrive. Below are tips and poses to help with incorporating yoga into your travel plans.
Comfort is key.
Plan to wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in when you get a chance, no matter the time of day. Being a yoga and comfort enthusiast I wear my yoga pants everywhere. I might layer on a skirt, long shirt, or sweater, but I am ready to stop, drop and do yoga!
Travel yoga mats are great.
If you don’t already have one, consider getting a travel yoga mat. I have a few, and I can name many surprising places that they have fit into during my travels—such as the outside pocket of my already crammed full suitcase, my purse, and in my laptop case. I know that if I have my travel mat, I can make any place work.
Remember that anything is better than nothing!
Staying present with how you are feeling and looking for opportunities to stretch will allow you to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. As you might do in your regular practice, work on those areas that call for your attention.
Own your practice.
It is easy to feel weird when practicing in public. Remember, you are doing this to benefit your health and to keep your body moving. Maybe you will end up inspiring others to get up and move when they see you taking care of yourself!
Choose the poses you need.
This series will energize body and mind and get you going to your next destination with a little more pizazz. Choose the poses that correspond to your body’s needs, or if you have time, practice all of them as a sequence.
Standing Forward Fold
Stand tall with feet hip distance apart and arms by your side. Inhale your arms out and up, bringing palms together.
As you exhale, extend your heart forward, hinging at the hips. Bend the knees enough to find your edge with the backs of your legs. Let your arms reach to the floor or feet, dangle them in front of you, or place them on your thighs for lower back support.
To release, bend the knees. Inhaling, sweep your arms out and up, coming back to standing.
Downward Dog Twist
Come to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Spread fingers wide and curl under toes, straighten legs as you lift up through the hips. Reach your left hand to the outer edge of your right leg. Spiral your rib cage to the right holding your arm straight and gazing underneath your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
Find a comfortable heel to arch alignment and turn your right foot to face forward shifting your hips the opposite direction. Lift arms shoulder height extending through your fingertips and reaching the right arm forward to your edge then floating your hand down to your shin or ankle. Raise your left arm toward the sky stacking your shoulders and leaning your torso back. Repeat on the other side.
Start on all fours and lower your forearms onto the floor shoulder-width apart. Curl your toes under and begin to straighten your legs any amount. Keep your shoulders over your elbows as you walk your feet forward to deepen the stretch.
Kneel with shins hip-width apart and hips stacked over knees. Place hands on the lower back. Lift your belly and curl your chest open. Roll your shoulders back and gently release your head back while pressing your chest toward the sky. If it is accessible, reach your hands to your heels or keep your hands firmly placed on your back.
Incorporating yoga into long travel days can make a real difference in how well we travel. Moving and letting go of tension and tightness that can build up over long trips in tight places is essential in keeping energy levels up and for enhancing your general well-being.