GO-TO POST TRAVEL SEQUENCE.
We all know traveling is awesome - even if it is just for work and you don’t see much of the city you’ve arrived into. Getting to experience a different time zone, city pace and interacting with locals is a great way to shift your perspective. Many times it makes you appreciate all the blessings you have in your life. However, traveling can take a serious toll on your body, in a lot of ways. If you travel to a new time zone your body clock can feel totally off, which can make you feel tired and cranky.
It’s important to stay hydrated and eat regularly - even if that means setting a reminder on your phone! A lot people encourage you to workout as soon as you step off the plane – that is easier said than done sometimes. I’m all about how you feel in the moment, sometimes a 30-minute run on the hotels treadmill is calling my name. I’ll admit this is a very rare occasion- but it has happened. Lately though, it’s my Yoga mat that’s crying out for me. I’ll do a 20 minute sequence to rebalance, breathe and release any tension from the flight, train or car. Don’t have 20 mins? Try these five poses, hold them for five breaths each. You & your body will thank me after!
This is a more active savasana pose- with your soles together – getting into your hips immediately. This can be a bit intense some days so as alternatives you can place blankets or blocks under the outer thigh so they have something to rest on. Don’t have a blanket or block? - grab your pillows from the sofa or your bed- they’ll do just find too. This should take some of the sensation away – if it’s still intense you can just find your savasana to start.
Close your eyes, and place one hand on your belly and one on your heart. We take this moment to arrive on your mat. To scan your body from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. Let any thoughts or emotions from your day/trip melt away as you begin to focus on your breath circling through the body. Nourishing it, and allowing your body to release any tension – as you allow the ground to support you. You want to take at least five breaths here- just observing – without any comment or judgment- just being aware. If you have a breathing exercise you like to go through – you can do that here. I like to just let go of any control over the breath as I begin my yoga practice. Find out what works best for you & do that.
From here, I go into a version of bridge pose. Placing the soles of the feet onto the mat, hip distance apart and parallel. Place your arms down by your sides. On an inhale press down through your feet and lift your hips up to the ceiling. You can stay like this keeping your knees tracking forwards and breathing into the muscles around your spine and shoulder blades, opening across the chest- somedays this is enough. Otherwise you can go into the pose (pictured) by shrugging one shoulder, and then the other one under, interlacing the fingers so the palms touch and draw your knuckles down towards your heels. This will open you your shoulders, chest even further. Take five breaths there pressing firmly through your feet, keeping your hips lifted. Then slowly release the interlace of your fingers and vertebrae by vertebrae lower you back down onto the mat. I’ll take some breaths to recover from that and repeat one or two more times. That is just an option. See how you feel in the moment. I’ll then place my feet as wide as the edges of the mat and allow my knees to knock together to slowly release my lower back before drawing my knees into my chest to release the lower back even further.
Then I move into a supine twist with my knees together. Again, this releases any tension from your spine, but also opens your chest. Place your arms out wide (palms facing up or down – your preference) then with your knees together, shift your hips slightly to the right before allowing your legs to fall to the left, keep a level of engagement through your lower abs here to protect the low spine. Breathe here. Take five deep breaths. If you want to turn your gaze over to your right arm, feel free to do so, but only if its ok on your neck, otherwise keep you gaze facing forward and close your eyes if that helps you focus more inward. After your five breaths, you’ll repeat this on the other side.
Then move to the wall and shift your hips as close as possible to the wall and extend your legs up the wall for a rebalancing “legs up the wall” Pose. I’ll always do this pose if I’ve flown anywhere or walked along way in one day. It allows any tension to release out of your legs reversing the blood flow. Very similar effects of being in an inversion but with a lot less effort- and after travel that sounds and feels fabulous to me! I’ll hold this pose with my eyes closed for five deep breaths before coming out of it slowly.
I usually will have a meeting planned close to the time I arrived in the destination, so I end my sequence with a pose that requires a bit more focus and concentration to get myself into that mindset. This version of Virasana (Hero’s Pose) can feel super intense. It’s stretching your quads and calves but with this arm variation also your triceps and muscles around your shoulders. I encourage you to modify this wherever you need too (maybe skip the arm variation) or y’know you can skip it all together if you’re like “Em - this is not happening today” I won’t be offended- listen to your body. There’s a lot going on here. I encourage you to breathe through it - it’s always super intense for me but after a couple of breaths the initial “Oh hello - quads” eases. I only hold the pose for five breaths before changing the interlace of the arms. If you’re going for the full Pose (pictured) make sure you are engaging your low abs here (I know, another thing to think about) but you need to protect your lower back/spine in these poses – so please do that. Have a towel or strap near you if today is not your day for happy open triceps/shoulders. It can sometimes feel like you may want to hold your breath in this pose- please don’t. Keep those nice even belly breaths consistent as much as you can! It will help release the sensations and tensions from the pose. After you’ve done five breaths with the right elbow pointing towards the ceiling and another five breaths with the left elbow towards the ceiling, you can release. I like to take a couple of shoulder rolls between each side and after. Then another five breaths being still before I get up and get going on with the day!
*Please note these instructions are very basic guides. If you are new to yoga, please find a local studio near you and take a couple of classes before attempting to practice alone. We cannot be held responsible for an injury caused by following these instructions.