How to Practice Yoga while Traveling
What’s essential to Yoga? Just body, breath, and mind. Yoga is incredibly portable. Wherever you may find yourself, you have your body and your breath. And with those elements present, you can calm your mind and create the union that is Yoga. What follows are simple Yoga practices you can do on the go, without having to pack any props.
Lowering your stress when you’re stuck in traffic: When you’re stuck in traffic and you feel your stress level begin to rise, remember that tranquility is as available as your breath. Without taking your eyes and mind off the road, begin to notice your breath. Breathing through your nose, follow your breath as you inhale, and then follow it as you exhale. Try lengthening your exhalations. Continue to breathe with focus, allowing some of your attention to rest on each inhalation and exhalation.
Finding ease on a plane: You may not want to think about it, but while you’re en route to your faraway destination, you face a small but real risk of developing deep blood clots in the leg that can then migrate to the lungs or brain (deep vein thrombosis). Yoga offers ways to move about effectively in the confines of the plane, to get the circulation moving and keep you safe.
While you’re in your seat: While seated, slowly rotate your ankles a few times in one direction and then in the other. Then point and flex each foot several times. Add some focus breathing, taking note of each inhalation and exhalation. Repeat every hour or so, or as desired.
While you’re up and out of your seat: When the captain finally turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign and you’re free to move about the cabin, try doing a modified warrior I walk as you make your way to the restroom. With each step forward, pause with your front knee bent and push your back heel down to the floor. You’ll give the back of the rear leg a good stretch. Not only does this step up circulation in your legs, but it also feels delicious after all that sitting.
Using your hotel room as your private Yoga studio: No props? No worries. One or two bath towels can substitute for a Yoga mat. Your forgiving limbs (soft or bent knees) replace the need for a strap or blocks. If the floor isn’t appealing even with a towel atop it, you can use the wall for many postures that you normally do lying face down.
The cobra is one of many postures that easily lends itself to practice at a wall. Stand in front of the wall at arm’s distance, with your legs a comfortable and stable hip distance apart. Place both hands at the wall, with your palms up and arms parallel at shoulder height. Soften your knees and then, on an inhalation, lift up from your breastbone and elongate your spine. Begin to arch back, maintaining the length in your spine. Allow your head to be a continuation of your spine instead of throwing it back and compressing your neck. On your exhalation, slowly unwind back to your initial standing position, with soft knees. Repeat three to six times, or more as desired.