By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Whether you are traveling to a Yoga teacher training intensive, away for vacation, or on business, Yoga techniques can help you before, during, and after your journey. There is no doubt about it, traveling disrupts the body’s rhythms and can make one feel unwell. Practicing Yoga before, after, and during a trip, however, can make the transition much smoother.
Before starting the trip, sit in Sukasana or Easy pose and practice Yoga breathing techniques (pranayama) for a few moments. Slow, flowing movements and forward bends will relax the body in preparation for the cramped conditions in a car or airplane. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Seated Twist) has a positive impact on the abdominal organs and the effects on the lower back, hips, and spine, reduce discomfort during travel.
During the trip, focus on moving your body at least once an hour for five minutes or more. If possible, stand up in the aisle, at least once, if you are on a long flight in in a plane. Plan to make pit stops if you are traveling by car. Remove your shoes and concentrate on the sensations in each part of your body. Center yourself and pull your spine up long, then stretch your arms overhead and to the sides. Flex and point your feet to maintain circulation. Deep, mindful, and slow breathing can calm travel anxiety. Mild pranayama is helpful for maintaining oxygen levels and keeping the muscles comfortable.
If you are staying in a hotel room, there may be no room for full practice. Try a version of Uttanasana supported by the wall in a forward bend. Keep the buttocks on the wall and the heels 6-12 inches from the wall, and enjoy the calming of the nervous system. Try Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) on the rug or bed, and Utthita Trikonasana or Extended Triangle pose alongside the bed or a wall, to flex and open the hip muscles. A modified backbend can be done over the desk chair against the wall.
If the weather cooperates, Sun Salutations outdoors first thing in the morning fight jet lag powerfully. If not, Vrkasana or Tree pose is an energizing and space-saving Yoga asana to start you on the right foot. Hydration is important throughout travel. Be certain to drink a little water while flying, as the dry air in an airplane dehydrates travelers. An Ayuverdic drink called golden milk is known for being helpful with jet lag. Made of turmeric, water, milk, almond oil and honey or maple syrup, it is usually consumed warm in the evening after arrival to heal and “reset” the body clock.
With time and attention, Yoga practice does not have to suffer during travel, and the body will reap the benefits of continuity at this stressful time.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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