When we travel, near or far, bus, car, plane or camel, there is no doubt our body is affected. Sitting for long periods of time makes hip flexors tight, you piriformis ache, and your mind foggy.
While sitting in the airport waiting for my friend to pick me up to go to **WANDERLUST!!!!!! :) I was thinking about what I do when I travel and thought I would share it with you.
We are most certainly spoiled by beautiful hour or 90 minute yoga sessions, but when on the road, you probably don't have time for this.
Do what you can! Even ONE downward doggie (adho mukha svanasana) can make such a difference on your legs and body. Being upside down is cleansing, allowing the entire body to benefit from the blood flowing opposite its normal pathway. Stretching the legs and arms will wake up the whole system. Focusing on the breath and going inward, even for a few moments, and calm and energize the body and mind. It's powerful. One or two poses can make all the difference.
When in an airport, I like to take a few minutes while waiting in between flights by stretching in the gate terminal. Yeah, occasionally people stare, and maybe think I'm a little strange, but the jokes on them because I'm the one that will feel good when landing in my destination instead of tight and tired.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. sit on the carpet, take your shoes off and put your legs straight out in front of you. If you want to bend your knees a little, thats fine, you're not warm yet. Begin breathing deeply in through the nose, out through the nose. Raise your arms towards the sky, and fold forward into Rag Doll pose, releasing your head towards your knees and letting your whole body go limp. Let gravity do the work here, no tension in the neck. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
2. Separate the legs and stretch them individually: flexing and pointing the toes and leaning forward into the stretch.
3. lay backwards, putting your jacket or sweatshirt under your head (germy in airports!) and go into a figure four pose on your back. This is a great strech for opening hips and to stretch the piriformis. It will energize through your hips into the spine. cross your right ankle above your left knee and engage your leg by flexing your right foot. On the exhalation, draw your right knee away from your face as you bring your leg slightly closer to your body. AFter 5 deep breaths, switch legs and repeat on the other side.
4. Then find a piece of wall you can put your hands against. Facing the wall, you will do half downward facing dog pose or Arda Adho Mukha Svanasana) Legs are hip width apart. Inhale, bringing your palms together at the heart. Exhale, reaching your arms overhead and then extending your arms in front of you to grasp the wall, hands parallel to each other against the wall. (walk your feet back as needed to keep torso parallel to the floor) Press your hips up and back, and firm your shoulder blades down your back as you bring you chest toward your thighs. Look towards your belly button and stay for 10 breaths.
Remember, even doing 1 of these can really help your body and mind! A little goes a long way. Look for opportunities to practice poses like these throughout your day.