Air travel, no matter how near or far you're traveling, is exhausting. More often than not, it seems like the pre and post flight coordination is just as demanding and tiring on the body as the actual time crammed into a tiny seat on a plane for hours on end. It goes without saying that commuting, long lines in security and boarding, sitting, waiting and flying can leave the body (and mind) feeling extra cranky.
While living abroad in Hong Kong and taking numerous flights back to San Francisco, I found it imperative to get my yoga in on each flight. Moving my body on those 14 hour flights was essential for my joints and muscles, and if I be so honest as to say my patience levels.
Between long naps, reading and movies on flight, I always try to find an opportune time to walk the aisles and find a slot either by emergency exits or near the bathrooms to get just enough space to stretch.
With summer near and travel ahead, below are a few of my go-to poses to unravel tightness and stress from long travel days. You can do these in the aisles too, but seek a wall space if you need help balancing.
Forward fold with shoulder opener
Take a slight bend of the knees and fold your torso over your legs. Interlace your fingers with your palms facing each other behind your back. Draw your shoulders back away from your ears towards each other while bringing the hands closer towards the floor. Relax your neck here and take 5-10 slow deep breaths.
Standing quadricep stretch
Standing on your left leg, bend the right knee being and draw the heel of the right foot to your right buttock while keeping the knee pointing down and close to the left knee. Stand upright with your abdominal muscles engaged and tailbone lengthening down. You can flex the foot or point the toe of the right foot up depending on what feels better on your knee. Take 5-10 breaths here and then change sides.
Hip and side body stretch
Stand with your feet about outer hips distance apart and fold your torso over your legs. Bend your knees as much as you need to so that your hands come down to the floor. With your left knee bent deeply and left finger tips staying on the floor, straighten your right leg and reach the right arm up towards the sky. Keep reaching your outer right hip back and to the left as you turn your chest up. Bring your right forearm behind the back and either grab your left hip crease or your shirt to open the chest a little more. Stay here for 8 deep breaths then release and change sides.