Traveling puts stress on your mind and muscles as you carry heavy luggage, sit for long periods of time, or wait in line ups. By doing some simple yoga poses during your travel, you can relieve the muscle tension while relaxing your mind.
5 Simple Yoga Poses
Here are some simple yoga poses and breathing exercises that can be done while you sit on the plane.
1. Deep Breathing
Before you board the flight, practice some deep breathing. This instantly calms, rejuvenates, and center you. Controlled breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to counter our natural desire to respond negatively to stress.1
- Breathe in deep through your nose for a count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of four.
2. Yoga For The Spine – Seated Spinal Twist
If you start to experience back pain during the flight, a seated spinal twist can help ease the pain. This simple back stretch can be done in your seat and alleviates the strain of sitting for long periods of time.
- Sit upright with your feet on the floor.
- Place your left hand on the seat behind your left hip. Then put your right hand on your left knee.
- As you inhale, lift through your spine and twist slowly to the left as you look over your left shoulder.
- Breathe in deeply as you hold the position for a few seconds.
- As you exhale deeply, see if you can twist a little bit further.
- To come out of the pose, exhale and slowly release your hand from your knee and release the left hand back to center.
- Repeat the other side.
3. Yoga For Shoulders – Seated Shoulder Shrugs
Your shoulders may be aching from carrying heavy luggage or slouching during times of sitting too long. Shoulder shrugs isolate specific muscles that are associated with pain in the neck and numbness in the fingers.2
- Roll your blanket up and place behind your back lengthwise, along your spine.
- Sit back on the blanket.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your shoulders.
- Hold your breath as you squeeze your shoulders up to your ears and backward.
- During your exhale, squeeze your shoulder blades together and bring them down.
4. Yoga For The Back – Seated Figure Four Pigeon Pose
Giving your back some attention during a flight prevents the pain you may experience from long periods of sitting and carrying heavy items. This gentle pose also helps blood circulate through the legs and into your feet.3
- While sitting upright on your seat, cross your right ankle over your left knee.
- Ensure that your left foot is planted firmly on the ground.
- Flexing your right foot protects your knees.
- As you inhale deeply, give attention to your lower back.
- For a deeper stretch, fold and bring your torso forward to the right.
- Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
- Repeat the other side.
5. Yoga For The Neck – Neck Release Pose
Carrying luggage on one side of your shoulder as well as mental stress can cause neck pain. This gentle pose, along with deep breathing helps to relax the muscles in your neck. A randomized clinical trial found that yoga appears to be an effective treatment for neck pain with potentially positive effects on mental well-being. 4
- Sit upright and lean your left ear to your left shoulder.
- For a deeper stretch, you can wrap your left arm around the right side of your head.
- Breathe deeply.
- As you release your left arm, slowly roll your head forward and bring your chin down to your chest, moving it to the right side.
- Repeat on the right side and continue the process ten times.
These poses help the parts of your body that are generally affected when you travel. You alleviate pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Breathing helps you stay relaxed as it combats the stress of travel. You should arrive at your destination feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to embark on whatever adventure awaits you.
|↑1||Jerath, Ravinder, John W. Edry, Vernon A. Barnes, and Vandna Jerath. “Physiology of long pranayamic breathing: neural respiratory elements may provide a mechanism that explains how slow deep breathing shifts the autonomic nervous system.” Medical hypotheses 67, no. 3 (2006): 566-571.|
|↑2||Andersen, Christoffer H., Lars L. Andersen, Ole S. Mortensen, Mette K. Zebis, and Gisela Sjøgaard. “Protocol for Shoulder function training reducing musculoskeletal pain in shoulder and neck: a randomized controlled trial.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders 12, no. 1 (2011): 14.|
|↑3||Parshad, O. “Role of yoga in stress management.” The West Indian Medical Journal 53, no. 3 (2004): 191-194.|
|↑4||Michalsen, Andreas, Hermann Traitteur, Rainer Lüdtke, Stefan Brunnhuber, Larissa Meier, Michael Jeitler, Arndt Büssing, and Christian Kessler. “Yoga for chronic neck pain: a pilot randomized controlled clinical trial.” The Journal of Pain 13, no. 11 (2012): 1122-1130.|