6 Airport Yoga Stretches Revolutionising Travel Health [Free Yoga Guide PDF]

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Airport Yoga Stretches

 

AIRPLANES are a fabulous way to travel between destinations quickly and efficiently. However, remaining seated for an extended period of time thousands of miles up in the sky results in many dangerous health risks on the body! You can easily reduce or even prevent problems by performing the stretches in this blog post.

No time to read the post? Download the FREE AIRPORT STRETCH GUIDE (See 8-Page PDF preview below):

 

Negative effects flying has on the body:

  • The oxygen level in your blood drops as a result of the cabins being pressurized to simulate a 6,000 to 8,000-foot elevation on Earth. This causes sleepiness, dizziness and having a general lack of mental sharpness.
  • Blood stops circulating as efficiently as it should, and collects in your legs and feet causing the area to swell. In serious cases, this develops in to blood clots within the legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • As a plane gains altitude and cabin pressure drops, the gas in your intestines expands. Your stomach might feel full or cramped which can lead to pain, bloating or worse.
  • Being seated for an extended period of time shortens the muscles around the hip and lower back area, hamstrings and calves, and prevents proper blood circulation to nourish the muscles in these areas. This causes tightness and pain when you eventually stand up again.

By performing just a few of these simple moves before you travel, you give your body a multitude of benefits: lengthening the muscles that shorten while seated; massaging your internal organs, improving circulation and relieving anxiety you may experience before and during your flight.

 

Travel Stretch 1: Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

Lotus Pose Meditation Breathing Airport Yoga Travel Health
Lotus Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Begin your pre-flight stretching with lotus pose together with a pranayama (breathing) exercise to centre your mind and focus to the practice. This meditation practice will also aid in mental health and the calming of any pre-flight fears.

Don’t worry if you are not yet able to sit in full lotus comfortably, concentrate on alternating each leg in a half lotus until it feels gradually more natural over time.

Sit upright, acknowledging the straight lift of your spine, from your sitting bones through the crown of your head. Form each hand in to Gyan mudra (touching your index fingertip to the tip of your thumb, while holding your other three fingers straight) and place the backs of the hands on each knee.

Once you are ready, the most effective way of relaxing the nerves and quietening the mind is to take nice long deep breaths and then to focus especially on extending the exhales. This method will help to bring your awareness to breathing and distract your mind while your body and mind becomes naturally soothed.

Benefits for flying:

  • Calms the brain to combat pre-flight anxiety or stress from traveling.
  • Stimulates the pelvis, spine, abdomen, and bladder ready to be worked on during the rest of the yoga practice.
  • Stretches the ankles and knee muscles which are shortened while seated for long travel periods.
  • Gyan mudra helps to improve concentration.

Contra-indications:

  • Consult in your doctor before doing this pose if you have ankle or knee problems.

Travel Stretch 2: Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Cow Face Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing - Hong Kong Airport - Travel Health
Cow Face Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Again, sit upright, acknowledging the straight lift of your spine, from your sitting bones through the crown of your head.

Bend your legs and place one knee over the other, keeping the feet flexed and pulling them back inline with the hips.

If you are unable to cross your hands behind your back yet, use a prop, such as a piece of clothing, as a strap between your hands. Gradually overtime as you work the hands toward each other you will eventually be able to clasp them.

Hold for a minimum of 4-6 deep breaths (one inhale and one exhale)

Benefits:

  • Deeply opens shoulders and chest before you endure hours of hunching in your plane seat.
  • Lengthens the ankles, hips and thighs, which are shortened while seated during travel.

Contra-indications:

  • Consult in your doctor before doing this yoga pose if you have serious neck or shoulder problems.

Travel Stretch 3: Butterfly Pose (Badha Konasana)

Butterfly Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing - Hong Kong Airport - Travel Health
Butterfly Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Sitting up tall, bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to drop towards the floor into a diamond shape. You may use props under the knees if you find the pose difficult to begin with. To attempt a deeper version of this stretch, bring your heels closer to your hips and gradually lower your chest towards the floor on each exhale.

Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Loosens up the groin and hips which become compressed while seated.
  • Relieves stress and tiredness, which is perfect to combat stressful travel days.
  • Stimulates the digestive organs ready to be stretched.

Contra-indications:

  • If you have Groin or knee injury, only perform this yoga pose with blanket support under the outer thighs.

Travel Stretch 4: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Mastyendrasana)

Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing - Hong Kong Airport - Travel Health
Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Place one foot flat on the floor outside the opposite leg and twist the torso toward the top leg. The bottom leg may be bent with the foot outside the opposite hip, or extended with toes vertical. The arms help leverage the torso into the twist by using the opposite elbow to the outside of the opposite knee and pushing in to the twist. The other hand is used for balance and to help keep the chest open and back straight.

Again form the free hand in to Gyan mudra and hold the pose for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Detoxifies the body before a long flight.
  • Releases tension in the neck and back, making you feel more relaxed and uplifted before your travel.
  • The twisting motion of this pose literally wrings out the digestive organs. This is especially important pre-flight to rid the digestive system of gas that can expand during traveling on the flight and cause discomfort.
  • Gyan mudra helps to improve concentration, so you can get the most out of your pre-travel practice.

Contra-indications:

  • Do not do this yoga pose if you have suffered a spinal or back injury, or you are pregnant.

Travel Stretch 5: Low lunge/ Crescent Moon Pose (Anjaneyasana)

High Lunge Crescent Moon Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing - Hong Kong Airport - Travel Health
High Lunge Crescent Moon Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Bend your right knee, keeping your right ankle directly beneath it, and place the left knee onto the mat and untuck your toes. Sink your pelvis forward as you place your palms on the front knee for balance. Deepen the stretch by reaching the hands up past the ears and lean back slightly.

Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Opens the hip flexors that become compressed while seated for the duration of traveling.
  • Reduces lower back pain and tightness that can be uncomfortable when sitting for long periods of travel time.

Contra-indications:

  • Please consult your doctor before doing this pose if you suffer from heart conditions

Travel Stretch 6: Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakpotasana)

Standing Mermaid Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing - Hong Kong Airport - Travel Health
Standing Mermaid Yoga Pose Meditation Breathing – Hong Kong Airport – Travel Health

Practice this yoga posture only when you are fully warm by preparing the body with the lunges, slight backbends and shoulder openers within the previous poses in this blog. The image is an advanced standing variation of the mermaid yoga pose. However, for the standard mermaid yoga pose, sit down and place your shin down and parallel in front of your body. Straighten your other leg behind you and bring your bottom leg up, tucking the foot in to the elbow and clasping the hands together, as in the photo. If you are not yet able to do this, reach behind with the same side hand and focus on bringing the bottom leg up, using the other hand on the floor to the side of you for support.

Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Freedom from back ache and sciatica which can cause intense discomfort while seated for long hours of travel time.
  • Lengthens and strengthens the lower back, quad muscles, and hip flexors which become contracted during the flight.
  • A stronger and more potent digestive system to reduce any stomach discomfort during and after the flight.

Contra-indications:

  • Please consult your doctor if you have knee problems before doing this yoga pose

Download the Free Airport Yoga PDF Guide!

Get In Touch!

If you have any questions regarding any of the yoga poses illustrated in this blog post, please feel free to contact me for more detailed guidance and tips on how to progress with the stretches.

Don’t forget to take a picture or video next time you stretch at the airport and tag @Vibrant_Yogini on Instagram, post on the Facebook Page or Email Me! I would love to send you my support and see your stretches.

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Sending you peace and comfort for your travels.

Namaste

Vibrant Yogini Signature

P.S. All images of yoga poses used within this blog post were produced at the gate in Hong Kong airport while waiting for my flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. If I can set up my mat and do stretches while traveling in a busy airport, so can you! Reap the benefits of practicing yoga at the airport before your flight and practice the stretches in this blog post ☺


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58 thoughts on “6 Airport Yoga Stretches Revolutionising Travel Health [Free Yoga Guide PDF]”

  1. Even though we’re not into yoga, can appreciate what you are saying, really interesting to hear what effects flying has on your body, as I’ve only really known about the DVT. I will bear all these in mind when we take our next long haul flight! thanks

    1. Hi Garth, thanks for your comment. What I love about this type of exercise is that you dont have to be a regular practioner of yoga in order to benefit from these particular stretches before your travels. It is refreshing to see ‘non-yogis’ taking an interest and my aim is to enlighten people from all walks of life on how they can improve their health slowly but surely to feel a sense of better general well-being 🙂 I hope you will find my guide useful on your next adventure 🙂 namaste

    1. Thank you Albert. What a great idea, I would love to see more yoga rooms at the larger airports. It is especially important for those on a busy schedule as soon as they land; yoga is so good for preparing the body and mind, as well as reducing the negative impacts of flying on the body. I would love to check the yoga room out at SFO!

  2. I just love yoga, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts on travel yoga. I am always looking for new poses and didn’t know a few of these. Thank you for the wonderful post, and welcome to #feetdotravel 🙂

    1. Hi Scarlett, thank you so much for your beautiful comment and your support. It is great to be part of the community. Yoga is one of those flames that once it is lit it never fades 🙂 I am looking forward to continuing to encourage globe trotters on how to stay fit, strong and healthy so that the travel experience can be enjoyed even more 🙂 I am so delighted that my guide has helped you. Namaste!

  3. Hi Samantha,
    Thank you for sharing this post. I have been doing yoga since 1999 and it has helped me so much! I am glad you talked about Ardha Matseyndra asana which has multiple benefits but is difficult for many people. Yours is an amazing blog post. You must repost it on 21st June which is International Yoga Day. I shall be sharing it as a tweet on bnb_nation on 21st June and shall tag you too!

    1. Hi Ambuj, thank you so much for your kind comment. You are very welcome and I couldn’t agree more with you about the benefits of yoga. Thank you for informing me about world yoga day. I most certainly will repost again, or I will create a special new yoga blog and keep you updated! Thank you so much for your support. Namaste 🙂

  4. Great article. I love yoga and have not thought of doing these positions before my flight or in between flights. I will definitely find a travel pad and get started. I pinned this for later use. Thanks for sharing! Namaste 🙂 #feetdotravel

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you for your comment. I am so pleased you will use the guide and find it helpful. I have created a PDF with each of the poses in a ‘spider diagram’ style with key directions to ensure that you adjust your body in to the pose correctly. I created it as a go-to airport stretch ‘quick-guide’ that can be read on a smart phone, tablet or kindle e-book reader for busy travellers on the go. With regards to finding a travel pad, I find that if I want to travel lightly I only take my yoga towel with me and use it as both a towel and as a yoga mat! However, a travel pad will be very beneficial if you need that extra support. I look forward to hearing how the yoga is going on your travels in the future 🙂 Namasate, Samantha

  5. I can just imagine the other travellers at HKIA while you were shooting your poses. 😀
    All jokes aside though, I have just purchased a very light/ thin pad for yoga on the go. I started about a year ago and always feel so great while I’m practising regularly then get out of sync when I travel so this time I’m finding room for my mat in my bag. Great post and welcome to #feetdotravel

    1. Hi Shona, thank you for your comment. You did bring up a very interesting point. Worrying about people’s reactions to me practicing yoga in public used to make me feel imprisoned and unsatisfied that I couldn’t just have the courage to do what I wanted to do. However, I have overcome that hurdle now and you soon realise that maybe at first people will look, but generally your confidence combined with ‘being in the zone’ distracts any feeling of fear and you become comfortable even in the most unusual of poses and in the busiest of places 🙂
      I can also totally relate to that out-of-sync emotion! Good on you for investing in a travel yoga pad, it will be worth every penny for your general well-being on the road. I look forward to hearing of how your yoga is going during your travels! Namaste 🙂

    1. Hi Carmen, Thank you for your comment. Resting an injury is so important to allow for full recovery, but I can understand how eager you must be to use your shoulder within yoga again. It can be frustrating having to break your routine, however, it also allows time for you to explore new poses and exercises focusing on other areas of the body that you may not have before 🙂 I wish you a speedy recovery! Namaste 🙂

  6. This is such a great post. Travel can bring on the stiffness but stretching is amazing at relieving that! Thank you so much for your comment on my post <3 I would love to collaborate with you sometime and I look forward to it!

  7. Omg love that you made the little airport guide! We have a 14 hour flight coming up in 5 days so we will have to try these stretches during our layover! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Ashly, thank you for your comment. I am pleased you like the guide and you should definitely try out the stretches before your flight. Take a picture for Instagram/ Facebook or tweet to me I would love to hear you are benefiting from it 🙂 Have a safe flight! Namaste!

    1. Hi Dominique, thanks for your comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed the article and I hope you will make use out of the guide too 🙂 The guide contains a breathing exercise you can do to reduce and even remove any feelings of stress or anxiety before flying so you can really enjoy your travels! Let me know if you do use it in the future, I would love to hear! Namaste

    1. Hi Jessica, thank you for your comment. Yes for exactly those reasons and more I wanted to help as many people as I can to try and reduce the symptoms of flying on the body. 10-15 minutes of your time can greatly impact your flying experience. I hope I can influence more people to start thinking and caring about their bodies and health so that they can feel good 🙂 namaste!

  8. I love that yoga doesn’t take a lot of space so you can really do it anywhere. Such a good idea to do it in the airport too, since you’ll be sit cramped for the next few hours!

    1. Hi Sarah, Yes you are 100% right! Yoga is so versatile and for everyone in all situations. I couldn’t imagine a life without yoga and so happy to influence others to gradually incorporate yoga in to their lives too. I hope you benefit from the guide on your next flight 🙂 namaste!

    1. Hi Delphine, yes I totally agree ! Also, thank you for your comment on my outfit. It was such a comfortable travel outfit! Especially as the trousers are so breathable and super soft! The trousers are actually yoga pants from YogaEssential, it is an Italian brand which only uses good quality 100% natural fibres from Italy so it is really soft on the skin. I have a link to them if you are interested: https://yogaessential.com/en/pants/13-yoga-pants-relax.html and I can actually get you 10% discount on their website if you use the code: SamanthaFriends 🙂 (they also ship worldwide which suits my travel life perfectly!). Namaste 🙂

  9. This is wonderful! I heard so much about yoga but I haven’t try it yet! But I feel like having little session before your flight would be the best thing ever ! You must feel so relax on the flight ! I always get very anxious when I fly!

    1. Hi Ada, thank you for your comment. You should definitely give yoga a try, perhaps before your next flight 🙂 I would love to hear how your next adventure goes once you incorporate these stretches! Also, the breathing exercise alone will really benefit you if you feel anxious before flying 🙂 namaste!

  10. Thanks for sharing an informative post. We only knew about the risk of DVT when flying. We are not the best Yoga practionnners but we will keep your tips in mind as we should be on a plane soon 🙂 thanks again! Patrick and Cécile

  11. This is such a good idea! 🙂 ALthough I’d feel self-conscious in front of all those people I know I
    d relax and get into it when I started – and it would be a wonderful way to relax and stretch before a long flight. IT’s a great way to fit some exercise in and make a positive use of your time waiting at the gate. And you can wait quite a while sometimes!

  12. Awesome way to counteract the negatives of flying! Who would have thought yoga in an airport?! Sitting so long makes us so tight but I never thought of the other issues.

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes I can’t agree enough about the benefits of yoga in helping anxiety. The breathing exercise alone is sure to calm the nerves and lower the heart beat to stop any feelings of anxiety. Anxiety is so common amongst people I meet, and I have suffered from it in the past myself. I will actually be publishing a blog fully focused on anxiety to help all those who suffer from it regularly, from time to time, and those who may not experience it but know somebody who does so that they too can try to understand what it is and how to help. Namaste x

  13. i love this, my therapist has been telling me to do this when traveling as a way to relax and also stay more balanced and I really like all of the tips you shared. thanks!

  14. Great post! I love yoga and would really benefit from utilizing these poses. Airports and flying are stressful enough, having something like this would really be helpful. 🙂

  15. This would help to refresh the body after a long flight. Love the cute pictures too. Wonder if i could get my kids to do it with me. 😉

  16. This is awesome. We have a long haul trip coming up that includes overnight stays in airports (fantastic, right??) so we will definitely refer back to this post!

  17. That is such a great idea! I would likely not do a pose that puts my big behind in the air & might break my back with the mermaid one; but I would totally do the discrete ones! I definitely need to stretch more and get so restless in the airports

  18. First, I love the PDF’s that you offered in this post. That is such a great idea. I think I’m too self-conscious for yoga in the airport, but you are rocking it! Do you ever have random strangers join you?

    1. Hi Davi, thank you for your lovely comment. I am sorry for the MIA slow reply (I have been upgrading my website to a secure one and had a few complications along the way!). I haven’t had strangers join me at the airport, but I would be so happy if they did 🙂 Perhaps next time I should try to encourage others to who look restless around me 🙂 I have had strangers on my travels join me for yoga on the beach! I would love to hear if you tried any of the poses during your travels (even if in private!). Namaste 🙂

  19. Traveling is such a hassle nowadays, and the long lay overs ( or delays) can be brutal. I love the idea of doing some very selective and effective stretches. Great tips.

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