Unless you are booked into a luxury lounge, waiting around at an airport can be a less than blissful experience. Here are some top movement and mindfulness tips that might just get you into a more peaceful space while travelling!
What is Travel Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that unites breathwork and movement to bring about a state of mindfulness and relaxation – and guess what – you don’t necessarily need a mat and fancy leggings to do it! Travel yoga embraces minimalism and subtlety, and can be done ANYWHERE!
1. Stretching it out with airport asana
Asana is the part of yoga that you are likely most familiar with, it is all about movement. Doing a full sun salutation whilst waiting for your flight would be a bold move, but there are elements that we can take from a regular yoga practice that will help ease tension in the body.
- Stand with feet hip width apart, really feel your feet on the floor, draw up through your spine, roll your shoulders up towards your ears then down and back before pulling up through the crown of the head.
- Gently drop your right ear to right shoulder then left ear to left shoulder then roll the head taking chin to chest and back again.
- Come back to centre then interlace your hands in front of you and sweep them up to the sky, taking your gaze skyward too.
- Once there take a deep breath in, push down with your left foot and exhale with a stretch over towards the right. Inhale to centre, push down with the right foot as you exhale your stretch to the left, inhale to centre and release your hands.
- Give your arms a gentle shake, maybe swing gently side to side, and then interlace your hands behind your back, drawing fingers towards the floor as you squeeze shoulder blades together and open up across the chest.
- Release, take a deep inhale and with an exhale tip at the hips to fold forward and let your arms and head hang heavy, taking a gentle swing from side to side.
2. Take a seat, steady, stable & comfortable
Ancient yoga texts reference just one yoga pose – a steady, stable and comfortable seated position. You don’t have to be sat in some pretzel shape to achieve it either – in fact the main requirement is just a straight spine, so grab yourself a seat for your next step to airport inner peace!
- Take a seat, placing feet on the floor, hip width apart and knees at ninety degrees.
- Ensure your spine is stacked above your pelvis, once again drawing up through the spine all the way to the crown of the head.
- Chin should be slightly tucked to get length in the back of the neck.
- Roll the shoulders up towards the ears, then down and back to open up through the chest.
- Hands can rest gently palms down on the thighs.
- Relax the jaw, soften the cheeks and brow and if it feels good, gently close the eyes too.
3. Find your breath – airport pranayama
Pranayama is a yogic word for breathwork that builds up energetic reserves. Think of it like a power-nap but using nothing more than mindful breathing techniques!
- Prepare by gently breathing in through the nose then exhaling through the mouth. Repeat 3 times.
- Bring your focus to your diaphragm. As you inhale feel the belly expand, and as you exhale, draw the belly in, navel towards the spine, expelling all the air you can but without causing any tension.
- Continue to inhale and exhale like this for a few breaths, ideally for a slow count of 4 in, and a slow count of 4 out, and then let your breathing return to normal.
4. Go within – the practice of pratyahara
There are 8 limbs of a yoga practice – the first two are around social ethics and personal practices, the third is asana (poses), fourth is pranayama (breathwork), and fifth we have pratyahara, turning inward. This is one of the steps that leads us closer to state of inner peace and meditation.
- With the breath settled and gentle turn your attention inwards. This could be to the gentle hum in your ears, lights, colours and shapes behind the closed eyes, or a sensation in the body such as the feeling of the breath gently coming in through the nose and out through the nose.
- Keep your attention focussed on that one thing, and should you mind wander to internal thoughts or external distractions, bring your attention back inwards.
5. And time to come back to the room!
Rub your palms and bring them up to your eyes, lift the heels of the hands and gently blink your eyes open! Take a nice big breath in and let it all out.
Now you should be stress free and ready for the next step of your journey!
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Resident travel writer Kerry McCarthy is also a yoga and breathwork instructor. To find out more visit CoolBreezeOverTheMountain.com.