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Mile-High Yoga

Six Traveling Tips to Ease Discomfort

The scene is set: ticket is purchased, bags are packed, last minute tasks seen to and there is vacation spirit in the air. Arriving at the airport, often with leftover time to experience, the discomfort begins. Excitement takes back burner position as fatigue and body pain begin to move in. And the flight hasn’t even been announced yet.

To help combat potential problems associated with traveling, follow the 6 asanas (postures) below and ward off tightness and muscle discomfort:

1. Sustainable seated posture
Place feet evenly on the floor, parallel and a few inches apart; sit up on sitting bones and tip the pelvis to bring it vertical (think of “neutral position”). Drop shoulders down; bring shoulder blades toward one another, finding room in the neck. Breathe in fully and exhale fully, engaging abdominals with the in breath, and keeping them active with the out breath (return to this position between each seated exercise.

2. Pigeon on the plane
If possible on board, place one ankle on top of opposite knee. Hinge forward at hips, keeping the spine neutral. Hold for 20 seconds, feeling a deep stretch in the hip. Repeat on other side.

3. Seated twist
If there are no disk issues, keep knees and hips facing forward, reach around to one side with both hands, holding the back of the chair or the armrest. Breathe in and on the exhale, rotate rib cage and look over back of seat as best, keeping as much length in the spine as possible. Remember: shoulders back and down. Hold for 20 seconds and return to start position. Repeat on other side.

4. Gentle neck stretch
With chin tucked slightly, carefully let right ear drop toward right shoulder ~ gently! Hold slight stretch for 20 seconds and return to neutral, breathing deeply. Repeat on other side.

5. Shoulder rolls
Inhale as the shoulders are lifted up toward the ears. Exhale as the shoulders roll back and down, opening the chest and letting shoulder blades come toward one another. Continue to bring shoulders back and down. Repeat 3-5 times.

6. Shoulder stretch
With right hand on left elbow and left hand on right elbow, hold folded arms out in front of chest. Draw right elbow as far as is comfortable to the right, stretching the outside of the left shoulder. Draw left elbow as far as is comfortable to the left, stretching the outside of the right
shoulder. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Needless to say, some of these asanas won’t be possible at certain times. There are opportunities at the airport that may not be present once one boards the plane. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all! Even breathing deeply will contribute to relaxation and less discomfort. One idea: think proactively. Practice these postures ahead of the day of travel and continue, as well, once the destination is reached. Enjoy your flight!

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