Yoga For Travel
By Shabna Cader
Let’s face it, not many of us would be travelling by plane any time soon, but if you are the type who craves some time away from the city and long for a weekend getaway, AND still want to get in some yoga time, here are a few poses that would work for you regardless of time and space.
Also known as the easy pose, and one that is also quite meditative can be practices anywhere and anytime. Whether you are most comfortable in a chair, seated in the car during long hours of travel, a couch, the bed, or the floor, this pose can allow you to dive right into the moment and find body and mind awareness. Now you can have one leg crossed over the other or one foot on top of the other, or if seated, placed on the floor. Keep the spine nice and elongated by tucking the pelvis just slightly and lifting the chest. Keep the chin at a balanced level and you could either close the eyes and sink into a meditative state or simply lower the gaze pass the nose and focus on a single object in front of you. If there’s any sort of discomfort, prop your hips up with a cushion, pillow, or blanket.
The garland pose is a personal favourite when it comes to stretching the lower back and grounding through your centre. Some call it a yogic squat and the posture certainly resonates with a squat in most ways. Begin by standing tall with the feet hip-width apart. As you inhale slowly widen the stance just a little and turn the feet outward. Inhale once more and as you exhale bring your entire centre down towards the ground, coming into a squat. At initial stages, your feet might not reach the ground but that’s perfectly alright. Slowly bring the hands together in prayer position or into fists and use the elbows to push against the knees from splaying in. Your torso would tip forward and your tailbone would extend towards the back. This is normal and part of the deep stretch that will support the groin, hips, and lower back.
This is a passive and supported pose, also known as legs up the wall. If you aim to achieve a shoulder stand, this is a great prep posture. Sit sideways on the right side of the support - that is the wall. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale in one swift and effective move, swing the legs up to the wall and bring the shoulders and head gently towards the ground. You may not achieve this on the first try but there’s a bit of fun in trying and trying again so don’t let it bother you. Your bum does not need to necessarily touch the wall but ensure your lower back feels supported instead of lifted. If you feel lifted a slight arch, bring the bum closer to the wall and press into it. As a restorative posture, it is great for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual cramps, and respiratory ailments.
This pose, also known as the warriors pose and first in a variation of three, is a strong and powerful one in my opinion. To come into this posture, begin in a standing posture - also known as tadasana. Feet hip-width apart and hands splayed to the side. Inhale deeply, and exhale completely. On your next inhale lift the hands above the head, pause and retain the breath. As you exhale come into a forward fold - also known as uttanasana. Inhale and as you exhale shift one foot back and place it at a 45-degree angle. Align the back foot heel with the front foot heel.
Your front foot should be firmly placed, and the knee hovering in front of it. Lighten the fingers on the ground and slowly bring the upper body upward as you once again lift the hands above the head. As a power post, there are plenty of sensations within this posture. Your thighs should be spiralling inward and your pelvis tucked in and directed towards the ground. The upper body should lend you a rising and strong sensation. Breathe deeply and sink into it. You’ll find ease with practice.
The bridge pose can be energising and restorative at the same time. That’s the beauty of yogic postures. Begin by lying on your back and bring the feet to the ground, as close to your bum as possible. Use the hands to firmly press against the ground and achieve steadiness. Inhale deeply, as you exhale slowly begins to lift your pelvis and hips towards the ceiling or sky. You can continue to keep the hands pressed against the ground or bind them behind the feet, below your lower body.
Be sure to adjust your shoulder blades if you do this for better support. Lift the chest to your chin, and lift the chin towards the sky and continue to breathe deeply. This posture calms the brain, improves digestion, rejuvenates tired legs, stimulates the abdominal organs, and can be quite therapeutic for plenty of other ailments.
These postures do not require a great deal of space or time to be practiced. If indeed you are travelling, you’re probably stuck for time and possibly even space. Anywhere you can stretch your body out would do, even if it’s the grassy earth that is beneath you.
Five minutes partaking in each posture would be highly beneficial. You do not have to do all of it either. Pick which one suits you best and give that a go. The important part is to simply enjoy it and stay mindful.