Yoga Poses for After a Flight
When we travel, no matter how excited we are about our trip, when we finally arrive at our destination we can feel tired and worn out. The following five yoga poses are helpful to get your body grounded and relaxed at the beginning of your trip, after a flight or long car ride. These postures are great for all levels of yogis and can be done on a mat or in a bed.
1. Puppy Dog
Stand facing and up against a wall. Hands at hip height. Walk your feet back until they are directly under your hips and your arms are straight. You are making an L-shape with the hands at the wall and feet on the ground. Press the hands firmly into the wall and reach your hips back as your heels ground into the earth. With each exhale see if you can lengthen your spine a little more and allow the shoulders to relax away from your ears. Stay for fifteen breaths.
Benefits of posture: This is a prep for Downward Facing Dog. It opens the entire back body and releases tension without strain on the arms.
2. Forward Bend
Standing with your feet hip distance apart and knees bent, hands on your hips. Fold from the crease of your hips and with a flat back. Release your hands to the floor. If your hands don't touch the floor fold in front of a chair or bed where you can rest your hands. Staying with hands resting on the floor or a chair release your jaw and tongue away from the roof of your mouth. Gently shake your head side to side and front to back.
Benefits of posture: Folding forward allows your heart to be above your head. It opens the entire back of the body while giving the mind a chance to release excess thoughts.
3. Ankle to knee
Lay on your back on the floor or bed. Feet on ground and hip distance apart. Take the right ankle across the left thigh. Lift the left foot off the floor and hold onto the back of the left thigh with hands clasped. Press the right elbow into the right inner thigh to allow the right hip to open up. Relax the shoulders. Stay for ten breaths. Release both feet back down and hip distance apart. Take the left ankle across the right thigh. Lift the right foot off the floor and clasp the hands around the right hamstring. Press the left elbow into the left inner thigh to allow the left hip to open. Stay for ten breaths. Release both feet back down and hip distance apart.
Benefits of posture: After sitting for a long period of time our hips can become very tight. This position is a gentle way to open up the hips and keep your knees safe.
4. Legs up wall
This pose can be done on the floor or the bed. Sit with your right hip against the wall. Bring your hands behind your back and slide your legs up the wall as you release your back onto the ground. Your body will be in an L-shape when in the position. Try to rest here for one to five minutes.
Benefits of posture: This is a very gentle inversion that allows the blood flow to shift and any bloating that may have occurred in your ankles to release. It soothes the nervous system and is a wonderful restorative posture.
5. Lying down twist
Lay on your back on the floor or a bed. Bring your knees into your chest and stretch the arms out onto the floor in a T shape. Gently release both knees to the right keeping them close to your chest. Rest like this for five to ten breaths. After 5-10 inhales and exhales bring the knees back to center and over yo the left. Knees again close into the chest, taking five to ten breaths. Bring knees back to center and place feet flat onto floor.
Benefits of posture: Traveling can create unease in our digestive system and this position can help soothe your belly.
Happy travels, yogis!
Liza Laird is a Life Coach and Yoga Therapist based in NYC. She leads retreats around the world. Join her for a retreat and follow her blog at lizalaird.com/blog.