Travel lovers and enthusiasts find many a reason and occasion to travel. Be it for work, to attend a wedding, to catch up with friends, to explore new cultures, revisit old enigmas, enjoy nature, or a weekend getaway, the excuses and reasons are endless—but all lead to soul gratification through wanderlust.
But when traveling is your passion and yoga and fitness are on your everyday to-do list, it can be difficult to choose between the two. No matter how much you try, you may end up missing out on asana work when on the road. Travel-lovers-cum-fitness-enthusiasts do not have a first love; rather, their life depends on both of these activities, which can be combined.
If we ask you to put into words the feeling of sitting in a confined car seat or sitting on a train or belted to a plane chair, you'd probably think: frustrated, restricted, tightness, or cramped. The long hours of a flight or a bumpy car ride can be taxing on the body and mind. Yoga has all the poses in its practice for those who would like to take 15 to 20 minutes out from their busy traveling schedules. Yoga becomes situational; you do not need a mat to practice. Instead, make use of the sand and beach towel, a bed sheet, and the carpet in a hotel room.
So, for all of those traveling yogis out there, I've developed a 20-minute, on-the-go asana sequence (hold each pose for five to seven breaths). It will help you keep fit, active, energetic, and free from all the guilt of missing your yoga practice.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Start by coming into the Mountain Pose and gather all your awareness inside before beginning your 20-minute yoga routine. This pose is great to balance and even out energy throughout your body. It will create a healthy awareness in your body as you scan for any areas of discomfort and start by sending breath to those areas. By extending the torso up toward the sky, you'll increase flexibility your the spine, neck and shoulders. You can add a few shoulder rotations as well, as you spend time here to remove all blockages reducing shoulder stiffness.
Ardha Adho Makha Svanasana (Half-Dog Pose)
This is a perfect pose for travelers who tend to spend a lot of time sitting in one position. This will stretch the entire back and remove extra pressure or pain in the lower back. You can experience increased blood flow in the upper as well as the lower body. It will stretch the hamstrings as well as the arms and shoulder muscles, relieving the practitioner of the uncomfortable experience of reaching their destination.
Chandrasana (Crescent Moon Pose)
Yet another simple posture, the Chandrasana is known to stretch the sides of the body and open up the lungs for increased oxygen supply. It also stretches the spine, opens up the back and works on the core area by strengthening the external and internal obliques. Adding a sense of balance to the body, this pose enhances the robustness of the knees and ankles along with adding energy to the body.
Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutations)
This sequence is made up of 12 poses; incorporate three, five, or seven rounds depending on the time at hand. All of the poses are known to work deeply on every part of the body. You could perform the rounds at a fast pace in order to get a quick cardio workout, or you could perform the poses slowly with deeper holds to open up the muscles, joints, and nerves. Sun Salutation will bring solar energy into your body, which will banish fatigue, stress and a lack of energy.
Parasarita Padoasattasana C (Wide-Legged Pose C)
Long travel hours often cause discomfort, stiffness, or tightness in the hips, hip flexors, back, and the lower body. This pose covers all these areas along with adding the benefit of semi-inverted pose. The downward movement of the head sends an extra pump of the blood to the head and removes stress or fatigue. A hip opener, it works on liberating the cramped feeling we face by being sandwiched in-between strangers. Also, the pose is known to relieve pain in the lower back.
Malasana (Garland Pose)
Yet another hip opener, this pose is especially great for women who are traveling during their menstrual cycle. Relieving the body from cramps and discomfort, this pose can also ease constipation or an upset stomach, which travelers often face due to lack of proper sleep and eating unhealthy food.
Naukasana (Boat Pose)
Travelers often face guilt from not working out, eating bad food, and giving into one’s temptation of cravings without thinking about healthy choices. Boat Pose is a perfect abdominal workout that will keep the excess belly fat at bay. You could simply perform this pose for a minute or a few breaths, and experience a tight core and enhanced balance in the body.
Setubandhasna (Bridge Pose)
Moving to a laying down position, a favorite and a must-do pose is Bridge Pose. It rejuvinates tired legs, calms the mind by sending an extra flow of blood to the body, and is also known to improve digestion. Yet another popular use of Bridge Pose is to combat tightness and aches in the back; it also enhances the robustness of the back muscles.
Sucrirandhasana (Eye To The Needle Pose)
This pose falls in the category of hip openers, and stretches the hamstrings, works the psoas muscles, and releases the lower back. For instant relief, you can simply perform just this pose anytime you feel cramped from long hours of sitting. It increases the external length of the femur socket and soothes a tight lower body.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Finish your practice by performing balasana, as it will help pacify tightness in the back along with spreading the feeling of tranquillity washing over your body.
We hope this 20-minute yoga routine will help you on the go. You can also add or subtract certain poses depending on the need of the hour. Happy travels!
Manmohan is a freelance writer, traveler, free spirit and yoga enthusiast. He owns a yoga school in Rishikesh, where yoga and meditation is taught under the guidance of traditional yoga gurus. Moreover, He also organize yoga tours in Himalayas in India and in Nepal. To know more about him and the retreats in Himalayas, visit his website.