The summer after I started yoga, I indulged — a lot — and did not practice consistently. I gained back the 20 pounds I had lost, my body stiffened up and my chronic back pain
The cycle of slacking on vacations, returning home to lose weight and gaining it all back on my next trip became so frustrating I started to dread being away from home.
Now, I know better. Rather than avoid trips or let my practice slip, I take yoga with me wherever I go.
When I stay at a hotel, for example, I wake up 15 minutes earlier to complete my yoga routine in the room. This pattern allows me to enjoy traveling, sustain my practice and feel light and pain-free. It also helps me stay mentally grounded and less anxious when I return to my regular schedule.
Attempting to keep up your own practice on the road can be daunting and awkward at first, but it’s worth it.
8 Yoga Poses You Can Do in Your Hotel Room
1. Cat Cow Flow
Why: Sitting on a plane or in a car for a long period of time can cause you to slouch
and flatten your lower back. But when you’re on your hands and knees, your legs and arms are anatomically neutral, which creates the space your lower back needs to begin your practice and shift into good alignment.
How: On your hands and knees, make sure the center of your wrists are underneath your outer shoulders, your wrists are straight and your knees are directly under your hips. Arch your back and look forward when you inhale; round your spine and look toward your belly when you exhale. Move through this cycle for three to five breaths. Each time, try to arch and round your back a bit more.
2. Down Dog
Why: Because you bear weight in this pose, it can help build strength
in your arms, upper back and legs, and improve your mobility. It can also stretch your hamstrings and improve the tone and mobility in your shoulders and back.
How: Start in a plank – aka the top of a pushup. Make sure your wrists are right underneath your shoulders and your legs are straight. Without moving your hands or feet, lift your hips up and back to create an upside-down V. (If you need to bend your knees in order to create a lift in your lower back, that’s fine.) With your weight spread evenly across your hands, press them down and forward, squeeze your arms straight and lift your hips up and back. Lengthen your spine and hold the pose for three to five breaths.
Why: When you’re stagnant, it doesn’t take long for the small, stabilizer muscles in your back to stiffen and deteriorate. Practicing locust pose helps reverse that tendency since lifting your chest and legs off the floor builds strength and length in your back. This pose is an efficient way to invigorate your back muscles and a great way to open up your shoulders and back.
How: Lie down on your belly with your arms at your side like airplane wings. Inhale, lengthen your back and lift up your arms, shoulders, chest and legs. Rotate your inner thighs toward the ceiling and keep your arms and legs powerful. Set your shoulders back and lengthen your neck.
4. Twisted Lunge
Why: Twists are great ways to lengthen one side of your body, from your hip all the way up to your underarm. In turn, they help alleviate back pain
and maintain a healthy range of motion in your back.
How: Start standing at the top of your mat with your hands on the floor. (You can bend your knees to touch.) Shift weight onto your right foot and step your left foot back on your mat into a lunge. Then, bend your front knee over your ankle while making sure your back foot is vertical. Straighten your back leg completely and lengthen your back. Inhale, reach your right arm toward the ceiling and plant your left hand on your fingertips under your left shoulder. Continue to stretch your back as you turn your chest toward the ceiling. If balancing is difficult, look down until you are balanced and then slowly look up. Hold the pose for three breaths before switching sides.
5. Side Angle
Why: Side angle is an asymmetrical pose that helps build power in your legs, stretch the top side of your body and create space in the lower half of your back.
How: Stand with your feet wide and facing the long edge of your mat. Point your right foot toward the front of the mat. Bend your right knee until your shin is perpendicular to the floor your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Square your hips and shoulders toward the wall in front of you, rest your right forearm on your front thigh and stretch your top arm alongside your ear. Lengthen your back and hold the pose for three breaths before moving on to the second side.
6. Wide Angle Forward Fold
Why: Whether you spend your vacation walking, running, biking
or sitting, your hamstrings will most likely tighten up, which can result in lower back pain. This pose keeps the backs of your legs open and your leg muscles strong.
How: Stand with your feet about 4 feet apart; make sure they’re even and parallel. Lengthen your back and hinge from your hips to bow forward and touch the floor in front of you. Bend your knees as much as you need to in order to touch the floor. Keep your weight even, both in the heels and in the tops of your feet. As your hamstrings loosen, walk your hands closer to your feet. Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
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