It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking, which means there are few worse places for your health than an airplane where you can be trapped in a seated position for hours on end. Frequent flyers and international travelers might want to consider trying a few flight-friendly yoga poses to reverse some of the damaging effects of extended periods of sitting.
Benefits Of In-flight Yoga
- Release muscle tension
- Reduce the load on your spine
- Increase blood circulation
- Relax your mind
- Soothe the nervous system
- Decrease anxiety
- Be fresh to take on the activities after you land
In-flight Yoga Pose #1: Seated Spinal Twist
- Sit upright on your seat with your feet on the floor.
- Place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand on the seat, just behind your left hip.
- Inhale and gently lift up through your spine and chest (as much as possible, without straining or disturbing your fellow passenger). Now twist slowly to your left so that you’re looking over your left shoulder.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, keep breathing deeply and then as you exhale, gently twist slightly more by engaging your belly muscles more towards the left.
- Leverage your right hand against your left knee to deepen the twist. Take eight-ten deep breaths.
- Repeat this procedure on the other side.
In-flight Yoga Pose #2: Seated Cat Pose
- Sit on the edge of your seat. Keep a comfortable distance between the knees and your ankles in line with your knees.
- Place your hands on your thighs and as you inhale, tilt your pelvis and abdomen outward and allow your chest to arch up and forward.
- As you exhale, curl your pelvis inwards and backwards, arching your spine outwards, lower your chin as your chest moves inwards.
- Repeat this yoga posture four-six times.
In-flight Yoga Pose #3: Seated Shoulder Shrugs with Blanket
- Sit comfortably with your back against 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. Lift your shoulders, 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 bring them down.
- Repeat this yoga pose three times.
In-flight Yoga Pose #4: Back-Release Pose
- Seated upright on your seat, 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 in this pose taking eight-ten deep breaths.
- Repeat this posture with the left foot.
In-flight Yoga Pose #5: Neck-Release Pose
- Sit upright and lean your left ear towards your left shoulder. Wrap your left arm around the right side of your head, touching your right cheek. Breathe deeply.
- Release the left arm and slowly roll the head forward, bringing your chin down and over to the right side.
- Now, lean your right ear towards the right shoulder. Wrap your right arm around the left side of your head, touching your left cheek. Breathe deeply into the chest and the left side of your neck.
- Repeat this yoga posture taking six-eight deep breaths on each side.
This article has been adapted from the original article posted in www.artofliving.org