yoga for traveling

yoga for traveling

Summertime is travel time, and lately, all my students are asking me for travel yoga poses. Whether they are anticipating being hemmed in to a tight space on an airplane or sitting for hours on long road trips, every one wants to know how to take yoga with them on his or her travels. Yoga on the road is easy… and the only prop you need is a strap!


First, let’s talk about how to sit on the plane.  I got these tips from Mirabelle at Alive and Shine Center who in turn got them from Aadil Palkhivala who flies constantly. There are three things to remember: give yourself sacral support, strap your thighs, and use your seat belt as a traction device. Once you’ve found your seat on the plane, sit on your sitting bones, not your sacrum (the triangular shaped bone at the base of the spine). Draw the flesh of your buttocks back towards the seat back and scoot all the way back in the seat. Then use a small pillow (I find the airline pillows and blankets to be the perfect size for this, neck pillows are too bulky) to give yourself sacral support by wedging the pillow between the sacrum and the seatback to keep the sacrum from dropping backwards. You don’t need lumbar support; you need sacral support. Spending hours with the sacrum dropping back is what causes the low back ache once you finally stand up.  Then, strap your thighs so that when they release, the strap holds them in the relaxed position. This keeps your thighs from gripping which tends to happen unconsciously as the body works to hold the legs in place in a tight space.  Finally, with the seat belt buckled tightly at the root of your thighs, use it as a traction device for the spine by pressing down on the armrests and extending the spine up as the seatbelt pulls your thigh bones down. Do this every 30 minutes or so. Twisting occasionally also feels lovely.

If you’re planning a long road trip, these poses are great to counteract all that sitting in a car:

Supta Padangusthasana: stretches the hamstrings, relieves low back pain

Traction Twist: lengthens the psoas, the opposite action of sitting in a car or a plane

Matsyansana (Fish): put those shoulder blades back in place after long hours at the steering wheel

Lunges / Low Lunges / Setu Bandha: more psoas lengtheners/strengtheners; this muscle gets so tight when you sit

Adho Mukha Svanasana: the ultimate, multi-tasking, self-balancing yoga pose

Supta Bharadvajasana: restorative pose for jetlag

Letitia Walker
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