Did you know that doing yoga at the airport is a new trend among stressed travelers?
The cherry on the icing is that most airports are encouraging this health initiative by introducing yoga spaces at airports.
Sitting in tight units like an airplane seat for long periods can really take a toll on our body, making us stiff and achy.
The side-effects, especially during long flights , would be concerns like sluggish blood circulation in the body. If subjected to this routinely, it could result in the shortening of various muscles, like the hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and glutes.
We might experience discomfort in our neck from falling asleep in awkward positions, as well as uneasiness in our shoulders and upper back, again due to restricted space.
Here are three yoga stretches to do at the airport, whether yoga space is available or not. These postures provide all the stretch and relaxation that our body craves for, and at the same time these stretches can be executed in a subtle manner, ensuring that we do not end up attracting everyone’s attention.
The Three Must-Try Airport Yoga Asanas
1. Standing Forward Bend:
Target areas: Hamstrings, Calves and Back
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
- Calms the mind and soothes the nerves.
- Relieves tension in the legs, spine, neck, and back.
Where and How to do it:
Are you feeling stiff after a long flight or want to loosen up before boarding one? Find a less crowded spot to do this stretch. Once you find one, stand steady and then with an exhale, bend forward from the hip joints. If possible, keep your knees straight, and bring your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in front of or beside your feet, or bring your palms to the backs of your ankles. Let your head & shoulders droop towards the floor, passive and relaxed. Your upper body is hanging forward like a rag doll. Keep the heels firmly pressed to the floor and, to increase the stretch , draw the sitting bones up toward the ceiling and firm up the knees more. Stay in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat 5 times — this will ensure you are deeply relaxed.
2. Shoulder Rotation (Skandha Chakra):
Target areas: Shoulders and neck
- stretches the muscles of the shoulder girdle and upper back.
Where and How to do it:
You can do this while waiting for your flight in the waiting area or even inside the fight itself. To perform this exercise , you need to sit upright on your seat. Place your hands, palms down, on your thighs ensuring that your chin is parallel to the floor. Draw your shoulders straight up to your ears,
then draw them back and down, squeezing your shoulder blades in the upper back, in together strongly. Pause for a few seconds and continue for half a minute, in a circular movement. Then do it for another 30 seconds reversing the direction of rotation.
3. Seated Cat-Cow Pose
Target areas: Back, Hips, Shoulders
- Removes muscle strain and stiffness
Where and How to do it:
Again, as this is a seated pose you can do it in the waiting area. If you are tired of reading a book and are feeling stiff in the spine, come forward onto the front edge of your seat. Place your hands on your thighs and sit with your spine erect. Inhale and arch your back inwards, pushing the stomach forward, and shoulders backward. This is the seated Cow Pose. Stay in the pose for 5 breaths, Then with a deep exhale, hunch your shoulders into your ears, rounding up the entire back and pulling the tailbone downwards. Your chin should now be tucked into your chest. This is the Cat pose. Again, stay for 5 breaths and repeat 5 to 10 times more for each transition. The back will instantly feel opened out.
Remember, if our flight gets delayed, use the time to do these three easy to do exercises. This quick yoga practice will make us feel less guilty about missing our yoga session, back home at our studio.
All we need for airport yoga is, to ensure that our travel clothes are comfortable and which allow us to stretch. Doing yoga does not always require us to unfold a mat. So, if you are up for a long flight this season, try out these three yogic stretches and travel without building up stress.
Happy yogic travelling !
Sapna Sondhi Dutt
Sapna has 18 years of experience as a yoga teacher and practitioner. She founded her yoga studio, Yoga with Sapna, with the aim of spreading the benefits of the art with the masses. She has also created unique sequences for practicing traditional yoga and each class is different, not a set routine. Physical asanas, breathing, and meditation are all done in an integrated flow. Students at Sapna’s yoga studio range from beginners to those who have been coming there for over ten years.