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No matter how excited we are about the trip, when we travel during the holidays, we can feel stiff and exhausted when we finally arrive at our destination.
If you’re spending time traveling on a plane, train, or automobile this holiday season, the following sequence will bring you much-needed relief after hours spent sitting.
This body-opening yoga routine helps alleviate aches and stiffness after hours or days of holiday travel. Try to practice each pose for 5–6 breaths, and remember to do only what feels good for you. After going through this sequence, you’ll feel a new sense of freedom and comfort in the body.
Perform the routine as often as you need throughout your travels. I recommend trying it first thing in the morning before a morning walk or family breakfast! Continue this routine for at least a week when you return home, and it will help you recover from the travel hangover. Once that layer of fatigue is remedied, you will then start experiencing the amazing and rejuvenating impact your holiday travel had on your body and mind.
- Begin with gentle joint rolls and stretches. This is a great way to start your practice. Gently move all the joints of your body, beginning with the neck and moving down through the shoulders, wrists, back, hips, knees, and ankles. Move in any way that feels good to release tension and stiffness. Synchronize the movements with your breath to maximize the benefits. Remembering your travel’s pleasant memories, smile as you stretch effortlessly, like a smooth, flowing dance.
- All Direction Back Stretch. Click here to learn my favorite set of stretches for the back. It’s a game changer that magically relieves an achy and stiff back.
- Cat Pose. The slow yet dynamic movements of this pose, tuned with the breath, begin warming up the body and stretching and strengthening your lower back. After sitting in a cramped airplane seat for 10 hours, your back craves this and will thank you.
- Downward Facing Dog. This pose gets the blood pumping and circulating throughout your body. It’s an excellent way to stretch your hamstrings, shoulders, calves, and side bodies. In addition, it relieves aches and tiredness after walking and exploring a new city all day long and refreshes your body and mind.
- Simple Spinal Twist. You can’t go wrong with this simple twist! After a holiday of indulging, your liver and kidneys need some extra care. When you twist your body, you are cleansing your system by releasing toxins and awakening your spine.
- Pigeon Pose. After hours of sitting during travel, pigeon may be a challenging pose to practice. However, it completely releases the tension from your hips and spine and prepares you for another day of travel.
- Bridge Pose. Traveling can wear your back out! In bridge pose, you’re literally bending your back in the opposite direction you’ve been sitting in for a few hours. This will instantly relieve that achy back and open up your heart and lungs to fill with fresh air. It’s energizing, restorative, and rejuvenating all at the same time.
- Shoulderstand. This inversion gets the blood flowing throughout the body. It also boosts metabolism and clears the mind.
- Dancing Shiva Pose. Release all the tension accumulated in your spine with this simple but very effective twist. Make sure you gently breathe in and out and relax into the pose.
- Sun Salutation. Adding just a few rounds of slow-paced sun salutations to your routine invigorates your body and refreshes your mind and spirit. If you have a “date” with a stunning hilltop sunrise or a mesmerizing beach sunset, a few rounds of this famous sequence (include the associated mantras if you’d like) can make your date a lifetime memory.
- Corpse Pose. Even if you don’t have time to go through all of these poses, be sure to end each practice session with Savasana. It is so peacefully restorative to lay horizontally and allow the ground to absorb your weight after a stressful day. After being up in the sky or on the road all day, sometimes all you need is to feel a little bit grounded.
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayam (Alternate nostril breathing). Finally, do a few rounds of alternate-nostril or simple deep breathing to calm and center your mind. If you have a meditation practice, plan on doing it as much as your schedule allows.
GI detox with lukewarm water. This simple technique is a great way to cleanse the overindulged digestive system. Drink 2–3 glasses of lukewarm water first thing in the morning after brushing your teeth. This helps loosen the toxins and digestive waste sitting in your tract and clean it out. You can repeat this every 2-3 days.
Practicing yoga before and after long days of travel totally transforms the way your body reacts to the jet lag, physical discomfort, and stress that comes with it.
Get onto your mat and experience the magic yourself!