Stay limber when you fly: Airplane yoga1
When I was little, I loved to fly. I loved the excitement in preparation for the trip, the view from up above, the sight of fluffy clouds, and the promise of adventure. I was not in charge of the logistics, I didn’t have any existential fears, and I appreciated having uninterrupted time to read my books.
Nowadays, I am not that fond of flying. It’s always a race to get everything ready before the trip, flights get delayed, turbulence makes me queasy, and my body gets stiff from all the sitting. But I found that even very simple movements done in conjunction with deep breathing can help put my body and my mind at ease during long flights. These movements have to be small, of course, to make sure that they don’t bother my neighbors. I once watched a video of a woman who was attempting to do a headstand in her airplane seat during the flight. The video was recorded by her incredulous neighbor, who was understandably bothered by her foot swinging in front of his face. I would never recommend anything like that, for everyone’s health and safety. But there are plenty of movement options that you can easily do in your seat without bothering anybody. Here are two examples of short practices that you can do on your flight. The first one moves the entire body, it helps to lubricate your joints and loosen up your muscles. The second one consists of two parts: part one focuses on the neck and part two deals with the hips. Give those practices a try on your next trip and see if they work for you.
If you get anxious while flying, try this simple pattern of belly breathing. Inhale for about eight seconds and imagine moving the air from your nose down into your belly. Then exhale for about 10 seconds and imagine directing energy from your belly down into your feet. Do it for 12 breaths and notice how you feel afterwards.
Airplane Yoga: Whole Body (pdf) >
Airplane Yoga: Neck focus (pdf) >
Airplane Yoga: Hip focus (pdf) >
These practices have been added to Sequence Wiz home yoga practice app. You can find them under Specialty practices > Under 20 minutes. Learn more about the app >
Thanks Olga. Your practice shows us how simple and effective yoga is no matter where you are.