I absolutely cringe when I head out on a long road trip or plane ride, because I know after about an hour of sitting my body is going to start screaming at me to get up and move around. By the end of a trip my body is stiff and lethargic. If you are right there with me and need help to relieve some of the pain, discomfort and energize your body, try these 8 yoga variations and exercises every hour, or as often as you can, to stretch out, feel more limber, increase blood circulation and relieve anxiety.
Let’s first begin with Easy Pose:
Scoot your sit-bones about 2 or 3 inches away from the back of your seat. Step your feet hip-width distance apart and stack your knees directly above your ankles. Lengthen your spine by reaching the crown of your head up towards the ceiling. Relax your shoulders back and down. Place your palms lightly down on your thighs or bring them to your heart center with thumbs resting along your sternum. Close your eyes and take 5-10 long deep inhales and exhales. By just breathing you can begin to release stress and anxiety through each exhale. Next, let’s connect the breath with movement.
Place your palms down lightly on your thighs. Continue to lengthen your spine and relax your shoulders down. Inhale and draw your right ear to your shoulder. As you exhale, let your head drop and draw your chin in towards your chest. Continue rolling your head to the left until your left ear is aligned with your left shoulder and inhale here. Continue connecting this movement with your breath for 5 rounds.
Step your feet hip-width distance apart and stack your knees directly over your ankles. Place your hands and fingertips down lightly on your thighs. On each inhale lift your chest and chin, and gaze upwards. On each exhale draw your chin into your chest and arch your spine like a cat. Repeat for 10 breaths.
Side Body Stretch:
Draw your belly in, lift your chest, and raise both arms overhead. Relax your shoulders down. With your left thumb and forefinger grab hold of your right wrist. Inhale and on your exhale gently pull your right arm and lean towards the left sidewall. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat to your left side. Repeat once more on both sides.
Cross your right leg over your left. Place your right hand on the seat behind the center of your back, and place your left hand on the outside your right knee. Inhale and lengthen your spine upright. On your exhale twist to your right. Inhale and lengthen your spine, exhale, twist deeper, and gaze over your right shoulder. Take 5 breaths and then repeat on your left side.
Knee to Chest:
Keep your spine upright and draw your right knee into your chest. Take 5 breaths in this position. Then place your left hand on your hip and your right hand on your knee. Guide your knee out to the right to open your hip. Take another 5 breaths in this position. Repeat on your left side.
Lift both ankles off the floor. Draw circles with your toes going counterclockwise with your right foot and clockwise with your left foot. Continue to do so for 5 breaths. Reverse the direction your feet are circling and take 5 more breaths.
Often times your butt will eventually start hurting after sitting for an extended period of time. To relieve some of the pain clench your butt and hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this process as many times as you feel comfortable during your trip to help increase blood flow to the area. I swear you will feel much better after a few rounds!
Take a Walk:
Lastly, it’s always best to get up and walk around. If you are on a plane, in the middle of the flight when the seatbelt sign is off, take a few minutes to walk up and down the aisle. Even taking a minute to stand up will feel great. If you are on a road trip and stop for gas, take extra time to make some loops around the station. Or better yet, stop at an overlook and enjoy the view for a few moments.