Traveling via air goes something like this: you're miles high above the earth, stuffed in economically cramped quarters for the next few hours, with little room or air to spare. You've reached a safe altitude and the fasten seat belt sign has turned off — let's do some yoga!
Yoga on an airplane? Absolutely! You know all that sitting isn't good for your body, so I've compiled a short list of some yoga poses you can take with you any time you fly to keep your spine, shoulders, hips, hip flexors and hamstrings happy while miles high in the sky. An airplane is a great example that you really can do yoga anywhere! Here are my top seven favorite poses to bust out in flight (*you'll have to use a bit of imagination to picture these on an airplane!).
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Big toes together, small space between your heels. Knees bend, low belly engages and tailbone lengthens toward the ground. Arms extend overhead for a small lift in heart's center. This one's a basic. I mean, do you really want to put your butt on that bathroom seat anyway? Plus, it helps to bring blood flow back to your legs and warm up your upper back.
Ardha Chandrasana (Standing Side Bend)
Stretch out the cramped muscles around your rib cage and side abs from compressed sitting and tight space breathing. With all of the circulated air and germs flying around, I know I breathe shallower on a plane. Standing feet hip distance apart, grab opposite wrist with hand. Lengthen the spine up on the inhale, exhale move into the side bend. Keep length through both sides of the ribs while doing so.
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Take this one into the aisle! Those hip flexors will thank you for giving them some counter love and opening them up after hours of being compressed and shortened in a seated position.
Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)
Feet slightly separated, soft bend in the knees, place hands at lower back or grab opposite elbows behind you. Lifting up through the breastbone, draw elbows in towards one another for a gentle heart opener and a quick jolt of energy (one of backbending's signature benefits).
Uttanasana (Gentle Fold, or Rag Doll)
Give your lower back and tight shoulders a rest here, hanging forward with bent knees and hands on opposite elbows or lightly touching the floor (depends on how clean that floor is, I guess).
Parivrtta Utkatasana (Chair Twist)
Wring out and reawaken that spine! Keeping an emphasis on your breath with this one, like in all twists. From a chair pose, take hands to heart center. As you inhale, lengthen the spine out; as you exhale, move into the twist placing your elbow over opposite knee. Out with the stale air, and in with the new!
Standing Figure Four
This one's a bonus posture. Definitely don't attempt this one during any turbulence! From a standing position, feet hip distance, cross one ankle just above the opposite knee. Keeping your lifted foot flexed (toes curled in towards your shin), stay standing or bend into the standing leg to whatever degree you find comfortable. Optional: interlace hands behind the small of your back and extend your arms with heels of palm together for a sweet shoulder and chest opener. Hint: Try this one on land first before attempting in the air.