8 Yoga Poses to Restore Your Body After Long Distance Flying
This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.
Long distance trips are amazing, but spending long periods of time inside of a plane can really throw your body out of balance.
Yes, you could walk around the plane, or do exercises in your seat, but at the end of the journey you'll still feel like you need a serious stretch and muscle adjustment. So, here are eight poses that will help you even out your blood flow, stretch discomforted muscles, and gently send you to sleep (helping you overcome any jetlag you may experience!).
8 Poses to Restore Your Body After Long Distance Flying
1. Reverse prayer pose
Sitting on a plane can leave you feeling hunched and crunched. Reverse those effects by opening up the muscles in the front of your chest and upper back with reverse prayer pose. Push your palms together behind your back, and press them forward into your spine to gently open your heart chakra. Breathe here for 10 rounds of breath. If this is too difficult for you, you can modify by holding opposite elbows instead.
Take right arm up first, gliding the forearm down your back, and sending the left arm behind your back to meet the right, easing into cow face pose. This pose helps open your lungs and your upper side body, as well as open up your arms and shoulders. Focus on breathing into areas that feel creaky, releasing tension out with the exhale. Switch sides, elongating the upper body and breathing once more, and finish by rolling your shoulders forward and backward.
3. Forward fold with clasped hands
As you glide down into forward fold, really stretch out the backs of your legs here. Because your body is feeling more stiff, use this pose to reconnect your upper body to your lower body. Clasp the hands behind your back, and release them forward and away in front of your head. This will work to release the shoulder girdle, and tightness in the neck muscles. If you need a deeper stretch, slowly bend the right leg, and lean your body to the left (and repeat on the opposite side). It’s a gentle way to wake up your spine, and move the breath throughout the body.
4. Pyramid pose
One of the major causes of tight hips is spending too much time sitting down. Reverse the effects of a tight outer hip by sliding into pyramid pose. Place your right foot in front, press your feet into the ground to activate your core (protecting your spine). Slide the left hand toward the outside of the right foot, and fold over the front leg. Breathe into your calves, your t-ban muscle, and your outer hips. Repeat on the left side.
5. High lunge pose
Now that your leg muscles have been gently opened, it’s time to open up the inner hip muscles. Slide into high lunge on the right side, and stretch the left hand over your head. Continue to breathe into the hip joint, and sink down lower into your lunge. If you are feeling a little more stiff than usual, straighten your front leg, and sink deeper into your lunge. Continue to do this for as long as you need, and then repeat on the left side.
6. Heron pose
Sit on your heels, and place the right leg out in front of you, grab your calf muscle, and lean back for a hamstring stretch (taking your left leg off the ground completely). In this case, you want to focus on the hamstring stretch, rather than core strength and balance. Keep your mind focused on your breathing, and feel free to use your left hand to keep you stable during your stretch. Finish this pose by dropping the right leg to the floor, and lean over for a nice back body opening. Repeat on the left side.
Come into butterfly pose. Feel free to flap your legs like butterfly wings to activate the hip joints, and when you are ready, slowly round your back, sinking one vertebrae at a time into the floor. Lay here for at least two minutes, and feel free to prop up your knees with a block for a more supported opening.
This pose is listed last because it actually helps glide you into a deep sleep. Legs up the wall pose is a great way to get the blood out of your feet and back into your abdomen, chest, and brain. It’s deeply calming, and will also help your nervous system reboot itself. Because the benefits of this pose come from the pull of gravity, you need to stay here for at least 10-15 minutes to really receive all the benefits this pose has to offer. If you’re doing this pose in the morning and need energy—follow with a gentle ab workout, and you will feel energized and recharged!