AIRPORTS MIGHT BE MORE STRESSFUL THAN A DAILY COMMUTE THROUGH HEAVY TRAFFIC.
Between delayed, canceled and overbooked flights, it often seems you’re more likely to have a headache than a relaxing flying experience.
Once you board your flight, the seats are designed to misalign your back. The scoop-shaped chairs are reclined just enough in their “upright” position that they almost force you to slouch. Plus, navigating your personal space when a stranger’s arm and leg are spilling over into your tiny allotted area makes the whole experience a little too close for comfort.
But good news: There’s no shame in practicing yoga in the airport. In fact, many airports even have yoga rooms.
So before you board your next flight, take ten minutes to practice these five yoga poses to have a pain-free and more tranquil flight.
5 YOGA POSES TO TRY BEFORE YOU FLY
1. Down Dog
This pose is great to reverse the painful airplane back. Start in a pushup position with your wrists under your shoulders and your back and legs flat, like a plank. Make sure your hands point straight forward. Without moving your hands or feet, stretch your hips up and back, in an upside-down V-shape. Once you lift your hips up, look at your feet and check that they are about hip-width apart and straight. Then, bend your knees a good 4 inches, work your arms straight and get a lift in your lower back. This alignment is key. Try straightening your legs – but stop as soon as that lift in your lower back becomes compromised.
2. Side Angle
If you were to practice one standing pose, this one is the most beneficial. There is a big release in your lower and middle back when you stretch the sides of your torso laterally through this pose. Collapsing through the sides of your body or slouching is a recipe for pain. Start in Warrior II, with your front foot pointing straight forward and your knee pointing straight over your front foot. Bend your front knee until your knee is right over your ankle and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. If your right foot is forward, bring your right forearm to rest on your front thigh, and stretch your top arm alongside your ear with your palm facing down. Stamp your back foot down heavily to set your back upper thigh into its socket. Keep that form as you tuck your front hip down and under and lengthen your back.
Start in Warrior II again. This time, straighten your front leg, reach your front arm forward and touch your front hand down, just outside your outer shin. Without moving your feet, draw them toward one another, until your legs are absolutely straight. You will feel that power from your feet all the way up into your pelvis. Keep that strength and stretch back down through your feet, extend your back and reach up through your top hand. If it does not hurt your neck
, look up toward your top fingertips. Make sure your shoulders do not round forward and your back does not collapse or round. If they do, get taller in your stance. This pose is wonderful to strengthen and stretch your legs, back and neck
– all the trouble areas you will likely have during your flight.
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Photo Cred: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet