And Now for Something Different
My wife the yoga teacher structured today’s class around the idea of “Yoga for Travelers,” with airplane travel primarily in mind. The seats and spaces between them keep getting smaller. The tension has gotten higher. So some ways to take care of your embodied self under these conditions are welcome. Here’s Linda:
Yoga for Travelers
• First, and perhaps most importantly, remember that breath connects mind, body, and consciousness. Remember to breathe! AND, keep it together! This too shall pass.
• Dress comfortably and preferably in natural fibres that allow your skin to breathe, avoid synthetic fibres;
• Bring along a large scarf or shawl – it can provide warmth and comfort but can also be folded to provide a head rest, cushion your neck, place behind your low back, or between your shoulder blades;
• Bring along a tennis ball – you can sit on it to relieve your buttocks, or place it behind your low back or between your shoulder blades for self-massage against the seat cushion;
• Wear comfortable slip-ons making for ease at security and for taking shoes on and off on the plane;
• Be mindful of transitions – travel inevitably involves huge transitions – give your body time to adjust each step of the way, including at the airport and after you land;
• Take advantage of wait times to walk;
• Stay present to sensations and do your best to practice non-attachment when things become uncomfortable or the unexpected happens; breathe;
• Pack healthy snacks – avoid salt and sugar – think fresh fruit, veges, nuts and seeds – this will also help keep your digestion moving once you arrive;
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (avoid caffeine, alcohol, ice, sugar drinks) – that means water and lots of it; this is important for elimination of toxins and waste;
• Sit in an aisle seat and near a restroom when possible – see “hydrate” above – seats in the back of the plane often go begging;
• Take advantage of frequent trips to el bano to walk and stretch, see “hydrate” above;
• Visualize your space as a container that protects you; where do you have room to move (above, perhaps in front, perhaps a bit below); acceptance of lack of personal space is key – this is temporary;
• Again, practice breathing – this is calming, soothing, helps keep you in your body, and may
help you sleep – there are many breath practices that won’t draw weird looks from your neighbors – ask me;
• When out of your seat to use the restroom, practice simple balance poses including back and forth and up and down on your feet/toes;
• Practice seated poses – overhead stretches, seated cat/cow, hip openings, knees up and down, facial massage, seated spinal flexion/twists, shoulder rotations, forward bends, neck stretches;
• If not unnerving for your seatmates, practice, discreetly, foot massage to keep circulation moving – probably best to keep socks on!
• With your foot on your knee or your legs crossed you are getting a nice hip opener; lean forward for a lower back stretch – this will be easier from an aisle seat;
• Rest your forehead on the seatback in front of you to elongate the spine and provide some spinal relief from sitting upright, breathe;
• Rest your head on the tray table to stretch the spine and neck, use your book and scarf to create a pillow; breathe;
• Look for the best in people – a smile can go a long way and makes you and everyone else feel better;
• If you can, relish the opportunity to sit quietly, to disconnect from technology, and to time/space travel to new and wonderful places on the planet.
• Finally, once on solid ground find a private space, inside or out, and lay on the ground for 20-30 minutes, breathe, re-connecting to the earth.
Linda Jambor Robinson 3/23