Posted on August 29 2019
Easy Airport Yoga For When You're Feeling Stiff
Author: Karla Tafra
Traveling is amazing and we all try to make the best of it. Exciting adventures, exotic new foods, exploring different cultures, climbing gorgeous mountains, dipping our feet in crystal blue waters...they are the reasons we click “book tickets” and head out to the airport. Ah, that airport life...the worst part of traveling. Making sure we get there on time, go through security checks, drop off our luggage and then the waiting….and sometimes, even more, waiting if our flight gets delayed or canceled. All of that seriously takes a toll on our bodies, and I’ve found that moving a bit is crucial for making me feel good, less stiff, and ready to spend some odd hours on that plane. Here are some of my favorite airport yoga poses you can do anywhere, anytime, and in any travel outfit.
1. Utanasana Modification (Forward Fold)
Forward folds are crucial when it comes to traveling. We are usually stuck in an airplane seat for long periods of time and our poor hamstrings and back muscles are all tight and scream for help. Performing this simple forward fold is so effective and I love doing it before my flight, throughout my flight (when I get up to go to the bathroom or stretch my legs a bit) and especially after the flight. Keep your knees bent for as long as you need to and let your upper body fall heavy on your thighs. You can take it even further and include a shoulder rinse by interlacing the fingers behind your back and letting your arms fall over your head. Try incorporating a gentle sway left and right, even alternating knee bends to add some motion and release the tension from the hips.
2. Anjaneyasana Twist Modification (Low Lunge Twist)
Since we’re talking about airport yoga, I’m not a fan of placing my hands on the floor, so I’m always modifying this pose by using a chair or even my own suitcase :) Make sure to really activate the quad of the straightened leg so that you can feel the hip flexor stretching and at the same time protect your knee. Gently open up into a twist and use your breath to go deeper into the pose. Stretch out through your arms and feel the energy flow through your body.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Twist)
Ardha Matsyendrasana is a really nice twist you can do literally anywhere and anytime. Your breath will be the lead on this one, so try to deepen it as much as you can, using inhales to grow taller from your seat, and exhales to go deeper into the twist. Squeeze out all the toxins and bring in fresh energy into your body! This is my absolute go-to before the flight (while I’m waiting to board) and every couple of hours in the plane as well!
4. Purvottanasana Modification (Upward Plank)
Once again...not a fan of placing my hands on the floor for the full expression, so using whatever you can find is just as good. The goal of this pose is to open up the chest, stretch out the whole front side body (including the hip flexors!) and open the throat. You can bend the knees or keep the legs extended and dig the heels deep into the floor to use them as leverage for going deeper into the stretch. Let your head fall down naturally and feel gravity work its magic without any pulling sensation. You can even slightly open up your mouth to relax your jaw. You can also do a seated modification for when you’re in the plane - it won’t create the exact same effect, but it will be amazing for your chest and upper back.
5. Parsva Sukhasana (Seated Side Stretch)
This pose is a love song for your obliques, hips, and back muscles. Make sure your sitting bones are firmly grounded in your seat the entire time, as you really want to maximize the stretch. Once again, your breath leads the way, so utilize inhales and exhales to go deeper and stretch more. Send your shoulder away from your ear to make sure you’re stretching your neck and properly engaging your back muscles.
About the Author:
Karla Tafra is an experienced yoga teacher and nutritionist. She is also a bodybuilding.com athlete, as well as Bumble Seattle Community Rep. Check out some more of her inspiring yoga poses on Instagram: @karlatafra!