Staying slumped in a seat is a surefire way to get cricks in the neck or a stiff lower back. While you are travelling you can often find yourself stuck in somewhere cramped, and you can quickly become very uncomfortable.
But the good news is, there are some great yoga poses you can try for those times when you’re on the road or in the air. There may not be enough space for a full on sun salutation, but try these yoga poses when you’re next in transit to avoid or alleviate cramps, digestive issues, crabbiness and more.
We weren’t made to sit still for hours at a time, so give yourself a stretch or two, and arrive feeling fresh at your final destination.
This is a simple pose that releases the shoulders and upper back. You can do it in a seat or standing – it’s great either way. Talasana gives you the same spinal stretch as that first arms-reaching yawn in the morning. We hold a lot of tension in the upper back and between the shoulder blades, and this pose lets you get rid of those travel anxieties.
Method: Whether standing or sitting, inhale and interlace your fingers on top of your head, with palms facing up. Be conscious of your lower body and shoulders pulling towards the ground. Exhale and push your fingers up to the sky, and enjoy that wonderful stretch! As a variation, feel free to bend gently from side to side.
This cat/cow variation is done in a seat, so don’t worry if you feel a little self-conscious about getting on all fours in a crowded terminal or carriage… Marjaryasana gives you space between your vertebrae, and an instant uplift to your mood.
Method: Treat this pose the same as cat/cow, just in a seat. Exhale as you create a curve with your spine, with the peak at your seat. Next, inhale to reverse it, pushing the heart forward and the chin up.
You might have a snooze to pass away your travelling time, but it can be downright horrible to wake up to a stiff neck. Try these yogic neck rolls to combat having to sleep in a strange position, or simply because they feel wonderful. Sometimes our necks can be tighter than we realise, and loosening them up is an instant way to find a little peace.
Method: Bring your chin to your chest, and exhale as you slowly roll your head back. Inhale as you bring your head forward. Repeat this a few times, and try in the opposite direction. Take a moment here to really stretch deeply into the neck; you might find some tender spots or little knots. Focusing on the breath will also help you calm down and feel relaxed in the often hectic environment of a crowded bus, train or plane.
Your spine has likely been slumped forward if you are forced to be in a seat for a long time, so this pose is a great way of reversing that unpleasant sensation. The lower back is where we store a lot of our emotions, so keeping this area supple will help you maintain your smile on your travels.
Method: While standing, place your palms on the small of your back, just above the sacrum. Breath in and squeeze the elbows together, then exhale as you push your hips forward. As the hips go forward the elbows squeeze, which leads to a lift in the collarbones and a proud chest.
Eagle brings release to the shoulders and arms, and subsequently lets your entire body relax. When our shoulders are tense our body is in panic mode, so a nice wring out of the arms in this pose is a delightful way to relax while in transit.
Method: Bring one arm out in front of you, bent at 90 degrees. Wrap the other around it. The aim is to have the palms touching, the forefingers and thumbs pressed against each other, and the other fingers in a clasp. The ultimate goal is to bring the thumbs to face your third eye, but it’s still a great stretch if you can’t quite get there. Once your arms are good and twisted, draw your elbows down and away from you on an exhale. Repeat on the other side.
When there’s loads of noise going on around you or you’re having trouble sleeping, tuning out and meditating can bring you a whole lot of calm.
Method: Close your eyes if it helps, and bring your attention to how your inhale fills your belly with air, and how with each exhale you become more relaxed. If your brain becomes busy and thoughts sneak into your head, simply acknowledge them and let them go.
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