After years of practicing yoga and meditation and perfecting your cool, zen-like demeanor, you are suddenly confronted by the ultimate test of your newfound inner peace and tranquility – air travel. Whether flying causes you to spin into a frenzy of anxiety and panic or you simply can’t stand the long lines, brusque TSA agents and cramped accommodations, the experience of air travel is sure to cause even the most tranquil yogini to snap.
As an avid traveler who is prone to flight anxiety, I began to wonder if I could take my yoga mindset on the road to experience that same calm and tranquility even while hovering thousands of feet in the air in a metal tube. Having just hopped off a somewhat turbulent flight from New York City and nervously awaiting my upcoming flight to D.C, I feel like I’ve recently come to understand what it means to take yoga out of the studio and into the world.
It’s tough to keep your cool, but it can be done. Keep calm and carry on with these 3 yoga tips that will keep you peaceful and limber during even the most trying travel experiences:
1. Your Breath Will Change Everything
My yoga teacher Melissa always reminds us to stop “wearing our shoulders as earrings.” It sounds silly, but relaxing your shoulders will drastically reduce your levels of stress and tension. Breathing does the same, only even more powerfully. Myriad studies and articles exist that extol the breath as a powerful force for calming anxiety, easing stress and creating inner peace and joy. For me, Ujjayi has become a trusted friend in times of stress; the sound of that ocean breath exhaling throughout my entire body relaxes me. Also highly recommended are Nadi Sodhana and Sama Vritti Pranayama.
2. Asana Will Soothe Your Body and Your Brain
Before you fly, try to get in your usual asana practice, perhaps sprinkling in a few more backbends and twists than usual to soothe your body prior to cramping up in a tiny seat for so many ungodly hours. If that’s not possible, squeeze in a few minutes of the pre-flight essentials: