We are all familiar with the fatigue and physical stress that we encounter during air travel. Besides the Jet lag, our body also undergoes some stress and strain during travel.
Prolonged periods of sitting still - especially in a highly air-conditioned airplane, train or bus can cause stiffness, tension and a lack of circulation in the body. Practising simple yoga poses while seated in an airplane can help release muscle tension and increase circulation while flying. These postures can also help ease your mind, soothe the nervous system and decrease anxiety, which helps you to arrive feeling much more relaxed and fresh for the activities that lie ahead !
Try the following sequence of limited-space the next time you fly. And don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Seated Spinal Twist
- Sit upright at the edge of your seat with your feet on the floor.
- Place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand on the seat cushion just behind your left hip.
- Inhale and gently lift your upper torso (as much as possible, without straining or disturbing your fellow passenger!) through your spine and chest twist slowly to your left so that you're looking over your left shoulder.
- Hold this position, keep breathing deeply and then as you exhale, gently increase the twist slightly more by turning your belly muscles more towards the left.
- Leverage your right hand against your left knee to deepen the twist. Take 8-10 deep breaths.
- Repeat the above procedure for the other side.
Seated Cat/Cow Pose
- Sit at the edge of your seat, with your knees at comfortable distance apart from each other and bring your ankles in line with your knees.
- Place your hands on your thighs and as you inhale, tilt or curve your pelvis and abdomen outwards and allow your chest to arch up tilt forward and arch the spine inwards. This is the Seated Cow pose.
- As you exhale, curl your pelvis inwards and backwards, arching your spine outwards, lower your chin, move chest inwards and down. This is the Seated Cat pose.
- Repeat 4-6 times.
Seated Shoulder Shrugs with Blanket
- Sit comfortably, placing your back close to your seat and place a rolled-up blanket lengthwise along your spine, against the back of your seat. Inhale gently and then hold your breath then lift only your shoulders upwards, while keeping your arms at rest.
- Still holding the breath, squeeze the shoulders by pushing them closer to the ears and backwards (without straining yourself).
- As you exhale, squeeze your entire shoulder blades together and then to the front, wrapping the shoulder blades around the blanket.
- Repeat three times.
Back - Release Pose
- Seated upright in your seat, raise your lower right leg and cross your right ankle over your left knee, leaving the left foot on the floor.
- Keep your right foot flexed to help protect the knee. Breathe deeply and take your attention to your lower back.
- If you wish to deepen the stretch, fold and bring your torso forward.
- Hold this pose for 8-10 deep breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
Neck - Release Pose
- Seated upright, lean your left ear toward your left shoulder. Wrap your left arm around the right side of your head, touching your right cheek. Breathe deeply, allowing the right side of the neck to soften.
- Release the left arm and slowly roll the head forward, bringing your chin down and over to the right side.
- Next, lean your right ear toward the right shoulder. Wrap your right arm around the left side of your head, touching your left cheek. Breathe deeply into the abdomen and the left side of your neck.
- Take 6-8 deep breaths on each side.
Caution: It is important to practice these asanas with caution.