It’s the time of year when many of us (myself included) frantically search the internet for last minute web travel specials to escape the Vancouver monsoon season in favour of palm trees and vitamin D! It’s no secret that travel is stressful and airplane seats are tiny. Though you can’t do much when you’re squashed into the middle seat, here’s a few little Yoga stretches that can help relieve your cramped muscles and reduce your stress without getting into your neighbor’s personal space:
AIRPLANE YOGA STRETCHES!
1. Neck Rolls
After you get settled into your seat, take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then start with a simple neck roll. These are great because so much tension is stored in the neck and you don’t need much room to do them. First let your chin drop towards your chest. Try to relax and let the head hang heavy. Begin to circle your head to the right side, then back, then to the left side. Continue slowly circling for five rotations and then switch directions and circle the other way five times.
Next, you can do the arm twist from eagle pose. This gives you a nice Yoga stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Bring your arms out in front of you and wrap the right upper arm underneath the left one. Bring your palms to touch and raise the upper arms while lowering your shoulders. Take five breaths before releasing and wrapping the left arm under the right.
Next, scoot up to the edge of your seat. Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your arms as much as you can behind you. You can also let your head drop forward. This stretches the front of the shoulders.
From here, take yourself into to a little cat-cow stretch. First, the cow. On an inhale, arch the back and look up toward the ceiling.
On the exhale, round the spine and let your head drop forward. Repeat the cat-cow movements on each inhale and exhale for five breaths. Now relax and enjoy the rest of your flight. If you are feeling tense, try practicing some breathing exercises to calm the central nervous system. Order some water or juice from the drinks cart to keep yourself hydrated and repeat your stretches as necessary.
6. Seated Pelvic Tilts
It is easier to do if you have your seat in the upright position. Sit with your back against the back of the seat. Feel the natural curve in the lower back. Place your feet flat on the floor at a hip’s width distance. Place your hands on your belly button. Tilt your pelvis back and draw in your abs. Feel the muscles under your palms contract as your lower back is pushed flat against the seat. Hold for three to 10 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times or until your ab muscles are tired. Be sure to breathe throughout the exercise.
7. Arm Stretches
Extend your right arm out in front of you, palm up. Grasp the fingers of your extended hand with your left hand and pull your hand back and down while lifting up your right arm. This will stretch out not only your forearm and bicep, but also your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds or until your muscle starts to ache slightly. Repeat the stretch for your other arm.
8. Leg Exercises
Take both hands and make fists and place them on the outside of your knees, with your feet flat on the floor. Use your leg muscles to push against your fists, and use your arm muscles to prevent your legs from moving outward. Hold the stretch for five seconds, pushing as hard as you can with your leg muscles. Relax, then move your fists to the inside of your knees and repeat, this time trying to push your legs together while creating resistance with your arms. The resistance will flex the muscles and tendons in your legs and help improve blood flow.
9. Ankle Rolls
Simply raise on leg off the ground and point your toe forward. Using your big toe, draw all the letters of the alphabet as large as you can.
10. Calf Raises
Place both feet on the ground and raise your heels up so that your knees are elevated, without your toes leaving the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat as many times as comfortable. You can do both legs at once or alternate. This is great for maintaining circulation.
Plane travel can be difficult if you are suffering currently from stiffness, aches or soreness in your joints. Give Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy in Yaletown a call in advance of your trip so that we can make not only your trip but your vacation more enjoyable!