Yoga on the Go
Traveling, vacations, or any plans that redirect you from your comfortable atmosphere to somewhere unknown can confuse your daily routine. Your sleep schedule is interrupted, you have to compact your belongings into a small bag and live using few things for the duration of the trip, and it may be difficult to find time to do the things for your body that are essential for good health and enjoyable to do.
Many people practice yoga, but do not make an effort to meditate and practice asanas when they are away from home. When they return home with aching backs or stiff shoulders, it is not always the time spent traveling that causes this. Sitting in one position for a long period of time may stiffen the back or temporarily reduce blood circulation, but pain will not be relieved unless tended to. The body may also feel out of alignment when the practice of yoga has been given up for a period of time.
Because airplanes, cars, trains, and most other methods of travel leave you limited space to move in, it is best to do this type of yoga in these areas. Here are some yogic ideas on how to relieve traveling stresses and pains when confined to a small space:
1) Inhale a deep breath for four seconds, exhaling doubly as long. If you are able to walk in an aisle, do so while using this breathing technique. Put the right foot forward on the four counts, and exhale as your left foot meets your right. Repeat starting wit the left foot, followed by the right. This simple movement accompanied by special breathing allows for better blood circulation.
2) For this next exercise, you can remain seated. Stretch your spine in an upward motion starting with the first vertebrae then on to the next, and then the vertebrae after that until you have reached the bone at the base of your neck. Relax the back and intake a yoga breath for four seconds. Exhale the breath double that time for eight seconds, while relaxing the entire spine. Repeat seven more times. This exercise enables blood to reach your spinal area with less difficulty and gives the body energy.
3) Push your hands – focusing mainly on the palms – against the seat or wall space in front of you and inhale a deep breath for four seconds. Remain in your own seat with your back pressed firmly against it for the duration of this yogic exercise. Relax the spine, take hands away from the space, and exhale for eight seconds. Do these exercises eight times total. The arms and hands will feel refreshed and blood can better circulate to the hands and spinal chord.
4) Lift your right leg into the air, and bend it at the knee. Connect both arms around your knee as if you were loosely hugging it, and take a four second inhalation breath. Exhale for eight seconds and return to your normal sitting position. Perform the same movement with the left leg, and remember to breathe slowly and calmly. This exercise should be done eight times for maximum benefits.
5) Place your hands on the side of your ribs, right hand on the right side, left hand on left side. Inhale for four seconds, exhale for eight seconds. Notice how your ribs expand and contract with each breath. Do this exercise seven more times for a total of eight breaths. Deep breathing always gives a person more energy, but the awareness of the body is a technique in yoga that creates self awareness and living in each moment. Instead of waiting to arrive at your destination, you should live in the moment of travel and enjoy being exactly where you are.
The five tips should make traveling a more pleasant experience and allow your body time to exercise peacefully while in a sitting position. Meditation is also easy to perform anywhere, but you should refrain from verbalizing mantras because other passengers may become agitated. Most methods of travel are fairly quiet so meditating should not be difficult. Stay healthy and enjoy your travels!