A day of travel can be both exciting and exhausting. For those of us that work to include regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, and a consistent daily routine, it is no surprise that a day or two of travel can throw us off balance.
Whether traveling for work or for play, it is important to establish a routine to help ground yourself as you cross time zones and enter new communities and cultures. We feel most at home on our yoga mats, so have quick go-to yoga poses for after travel to help restore some balance to our bodies so that we can make the most out of anywhere our yoga takes us!
Post Travel Yoga Poses
As you can see from the photo, this pose can be done pretty much anywhere! If your lower back is rebelling after hours of sitting in the car or on a plane, drop down in to a squat wherever you are (though you might want to step out of the crowd so that you don’t get stepped on!). Depending on where your yoga takes you, if you happen to be in India or Indonesia you’ll be in good company as people use this pose instead of sitting in chairs.
You can get in to this pose from standing. Simply bring your feet to hip width distance apart, turn your toes out slightly and sink your hips down. Your final variation of the pose will depend on how tight you calves and quads are, but for many your hamstrings will touch your calves. If you have knee injuries of any kind, you can use a block under you for support or keep your hands on the ground. This one can be done in a quiet corner in the airport with shoes on or on your yoga mat with props.
Malasana is also a grounding pose, so as you find yourself in new places this is the perfect way to ground and center.
2. Sun Salutation A
Sun salutations are the best way to start the day, no matter where you find yourself. We particularly love this one on the beach as the sun rises and it is also perfect after a long day of travel as the sequence allows you to warm up and stretch all of the major muscle groups.
Use this illustration as a guide through a few sun salutations:
3. Figure 4 Pose
Figure 4 pose is a great way to stretch tight hips, and can be done standing or lying down for a more restorative variation.
For the standing pose, cross your ankle above your knee and then bend the standing leg as you would in chair pose. Keep the top foot flexed and bend the standing leg more deeply to increase the stretch.
The more restorative variation is the same shape, but on your back. If there is open wall space near that you can use, you can relax in this pose with the “standing” foot against the wall. You can apply gentle pressure to the bent knee to help deepen the hip stretch. Once you’re set in the pose, close your eyes and stay for 8 – 10 breaths before you switch sides.
If there is no wall available, you can clasp your hands behind the “standing” knee and gently pull the knee in toward you to deepen the stretch in the opposite hip. Stay relaxed through your upper body as you stretch.
4. Legs Up the Wall
Ahhh, the ultimate yoga pose for after travel! If you find yourself with swollen ankles or calves after sitting in a car or airplane seat for many hours, this inversion will help get blood moving and relieve fatigue from the lower body. This pose also gently stretches the legs and lower back, which is perfect after a day of sitting. Laying with your legs up the wall is also the perfect way to calm yourself before trying to fall asleep in a new time zone.
Whether you’re in the airport or your hotel room, find empty wall space. If you find yourself on the airport floor, find a yoga mat, towel, or piece of clothing to lay back on instead of the floor itself.
Sit with one hip close to the wall. As you lay down, run your legs up the wall with your calves touching the wall. If your hips are tight, you may need to wiggle back from the wall a few inches to take some of the tension out of the stretch. Otherwise, your sit bones may be pressed up against the wall.
Relax your upper body, close your eyes, and relax here as long as you’d like. Be sure to pause for a few seconds with your knees bend and soles of your feet flat against the wall before coming out of the pose.