passengers on a plane
Exercise

Tips to Make Traveling Easier on Your Body

Anyone who travels frequently knows that without planning and awareness, travel can be a pain, literally. Some of the most common issues are the following:

  1. Stiff and swollen feet
  2. Sore knees
  3. Tight hips
  4. Achy lower back
  5. Irritated shoulders
  6. Upper back and neck tension
  7. Headaches
  8. Fatigue and lethargy
  9. Irritability
  10. Overall dis-ease

 

What to do:

 

  1. Move. Move before you fly. Move during your flight. Move after your flight. Yoga postures that engage the gluteals and elongate the hip flexors (like lunges or bridging) are especially good. Go for a brisk walk after you land, if at all possible.
  1. Wear shoes that you can easily remove so you can spread and stretch your toes. Stand when you can and rise up on the balls of your feet and slowly lower your heels. Then stretch your calf muscles by leaning against a wall with one leg extending behind you and your heel on the floor. Stretch your hamstrings and hips by putting your foot on a ledge or wall before you board.
  1. Do big arms circles with each shoulder like you are swimming. Circular movements of your ankles, hips and shoulders really help increase circulation, and help lubricate the joints.
  1. Side bend–Stand and lift your arms above you head and bend sideways while taking deep breaths.
  1. Twist. Standing, sitting, or lying down. Twists are really great for relieving tension in the back and are great for respiration.
  1. Breathe. Try these two yogic breathing practices. Breathe in for a count of five and out for a count of five. Even inhalations and exhalations. Do this for a few minutes. It can be both calming and energizing. Or try to double the length of your exhalation. Breath in for 3, breathe out for six. Do this for a few minutes and notice how you feel. This is an especially good breathing practice if you are feeling tense and irritable.
  1. Buy some lacrosse balls and roll on them before and after your flight. They are really great for the feet, back muscles, hips and shoulders.
  1. Buy a yoga strap and use it to help stretch your shoulders and hips.
  1. Drink a lot of water. Even if you have to get up and go to the bathroom regularly during your flight. That will be a good chance to move!

Carrie Owerko has been teaching yoga and exploring the relationship between body, breath, and mind for several years. She holds a Senior Intermediate Iyengar teaching credential, is a certified Yoga Therapist (IAYT), and continues her studies with the Iyengar family by traveling to India on a regular basis, as well as with continuous and in-depth studies with her yoga teacher, Patricia Walden. Over the years she has performed in and co-choreographed many yoga demonstrations, including Live: Light on Life, presented at City Center in NYC during BKS Iyengar’s Light on Life US National Book Tour in 2005.