As we gear up for summer travel plans, we want to ensure we stick with our health and fitness goals. A great way to do that is through yoga, an extremely portable sport that can de-stress you after a harrowing flight or hours packed into a car on a long road trip. Stretch out your muscles and enjoy these poses while you are traveling:*
● Dancer’s Pose (natarajasana): Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight into your right foot and lift up your left leg behind you, bending the knee so you can catch your ankle in your left hand. To counterbalance, stretch your right arm out in front of you. Hold this pose as you keep your gaze relaxed and focused in front of you. Repeat on the other side. This is a great pose to stretch your quads and hip flexors, which many of us need after sitting in a cramped space for too long.
● Cobbler’s Pose (baddha konasana): Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching and your knees wide apart. Don’t force your knees down to the ground; instead, let them fall naturally. If your hips and groin feel too tight, sit on a block or a folded blanket. This is another good hip opener that can make you feel looser and more relaxed.
● Triangle Pose (trikonasana): Stand at the front of your mat with your feet together. Step backwards with your left foot and turn your foot in at about a 45 degree angle. Bend to your right at the waist and reach your right hand down to your ankle (or calf if you cannot quite reach your ankle, but be sure not to rest your hand on your knee). Extend your left arm straight up into the air and let your gaze follow your left hand. Continue to lift through your left arm to help open your chest and when you’re ready, straighten your torso back up to standing and repeat on the other side. If we spend too much time in the car, many of us tend to hunch over the steering wheel and this pose can help open up your cramped chest and upper back muscles.
● Lizard Pose (utthan pristhasana): Begin at the back of your mat with your feet together. Step forward into a lunge, keeping your right knee directly over your right foot and your left leg straight. Carefully bring your hands down to the floor inside your right knee. If your hips allow, lower yourself to your elbows, keeping your legs engaged in the lunge. Repeat on the other side.
● Mountain Pose with Hands Bound (baddha hasta tadasana): Here is another chest and shoulder opener for those times when you ended up crammed into the center seat on an airplane. To perform this pose, begin by standing straight up, feet shoulder width apart. Lace your fingers behind your back and straighten your arms. Slowly raise your hands behind your back, keeping your posture and arms straight.
These are some of the poses you can do from the comfort of your own hotel room (or guest bedroom if you’re visiting friends or family). Additionally, here are a few tips for incorporating yoga into your travels:
● Bring your own yoga mat or towel. At the very least, bring some sanitizing wipes if you’re going to borrow a mat--nothing ruins a trip faster than getting a stranger’s weird foot fungus. Also, at the very least, turn a hotel towel into your yoga mat if you can’t fit your own mat into your luggage--if you start thinking about the amount of germs on hotel carpet, you will never leave your house without a bubble suit.
● Consider checking out a local class. If you are going to be staying somewhere for a few days and have some downtime, check out a local class. Many places offer fairly inexpensive rates for a drop-in and you can benefit from the guidance of an instructor as well as meet other like-minded people during your travels.
● Find times to practice mindfulness and meditation. Yoga is so much more than just twisting yourself into a human pretzel. Look for little ways to involve calming breathing exercises into your travels; you can do these anywhere and they have the potential to lower your stress while dealing with travel annoyances. Taking a few moments to meditate on the plane will not get the kid behind you to stop kicking your seat, but the mindfulness and meditation might help you feel calmer about the whole situation.
What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate yoga into your travels? Let us know in the comments!
*Vemma Nutrition Company recommends following a healthy approach to weight loss by consulting with your physician or health care professional prior to starting any new exercise or diet plan.