Travelling can often be a real pain in the neck… shoulders… back, etc., especially when you’re spending hours sitting upright in a cramped airline seat
Luckily, there are a number of easy yoga poses to do while travelling so that you can arrive at your final destination feeling refreshed and energised.
“My life has been a big adventure with lots of travel involved, but the thing I missed most about home was my regular yoga practice,” says Janet Farquharsen a Cape Town-based yogi.
“As I embarked on my teacher-training journey, my yoga mat became attached to my backpack wherever I went, but having just returned from a guided holiday in Nepal, I tried some ‘yoga on the go’ using the bare earth as my mat this time. It proved there are plenty of easy yoga poses to do whilst travelling in even the most remote destinations…
Much like Janet’s experience in Nepal, it helps to choose a holiday destination that encourages a feeling of peace and wellness, adds Theresa Szejwallo Trafalgar South Africa Managing Director, who is a qualified yoga instructor and manages to combine her yoga habit with frequent travel.
“Go for holidays that will reward you with zero stress in planning your day-to-day itinerary, but allow you enough breaks to get out and stretch your legs, and your mind, on immersive experiences where you can engage in your surroundings, connect with people and build a greater awareness within yourself.”
Keen to stretch yourself and your legs while you’re on the road?
Here are five quick and easy yoga poses to do while you’re travelling. Be advised, however, that you should visit a qualified yoga instructor before attempting these if you suffer from any ailments.
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
A good pose to try after a long journey or day of walking or trekking is Sarvangasana, also known as a ‘shoulder stand’. In this pose, your body is balanced on your shoulders with your feet in the air. For an easier version, find a wall, wiggle your buttocks up to it as close as possible and stretch your legs up against it. This is great for soothing the leg muscles, balancing all systems in the body, and stimulating the thyroid gland.
This extended side-angle pose provides a great side spinal stretch and also activates all your leg muscles. Step your legs wide apart, then begin by bending one leg toward a 90-degree angle as you exhale and stretch. Make sure your thigh is parallel to the floor, stay for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat both sides but be careful not to stretch beyond your capacity.
Prasarita Padottananasana (wide-legged forward pose)
This pose brings a fresh flow of blood to the brain and gives your hamstrings a good stretch. The aim is to fold forward from the hips so that you can stretch without straining your back. When interlinking your fingers behind your back, it also opens up your chest and shoulders. Breathe slowly for five or six breaths. An easier way to try this is to lean forward over your hotel bed, or chair.
Namaskarasana (prayer-squat pose)
Adopt a squatting position, keeping the feet apart, knees wide apart and the elbows placed against the inside of the knees. Bring your hands together in front of the chest. Hold for four to eight breaths This squatting position lengthens the spine, opens your chest and increases flexibility in the hips. This is a great pose to practice when waiting in a queue at the airport.
Goolf Chakra (ankle rotation)
This is an easy exercise to practice during long flights or coach journeys. It’s also discrete, as you can do it whilst sitting in your seat or standing. Simply point and flex your toes, rotating your ankles to keep the joints lubricated and the blood circulating. Slowly rotate your right foot clockwise 10 times and then repeat 10 times anti-clockwise. Then, try with your left foot.
These simple, classic yoga poses can be done all over the world in hotel rooms, lobbies, terraces, lawns, sidewalks and also in the aisle of your bus or plane, adds Farquharsen.
“It would be great if all airport and hotel lounges had open door yoga studios where we could spend 30 to 60 minutes mitigating the physical and mental rigours of our travels, but even just taking a stroll with a local guide can help get the blood flowing,” concludes Szejwallo.
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