According to The Huffington Post, “It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking and if that’s the case, then there’s no worse place for your health than on an airplane where you can be trapped in a seated position for seemingly hours on end. Frequent flyers and international travelers may do well to consider trying a few flight-friendly yoga poses to reverse some of the damaging effects of extended periods of sitting.”
“The biggest benefit [of airplane yoga] is to avoid deep vein thrombosis, when you’re sitting still for so long that your circulation basically coagulates,” Bess Abrahams, co-author of “Airplane Yoga,” a how-to guide for in-flight poses, told HuffPost Travel. “You want to keep moving. Yoga techniques are a great avenue to remind yourself to move and some of them have multiple benefits.”But it’s not just about moving the body: Mindful movement, with attention to the breath and bodily sensations, can also calm the mind, helping to reduce stress and ease the anxiety of flying. Scroll through the list below for five simple yoga poses recommended by Abrahams to try on your next flight or while waiting at the airport.
- Seated Spinal Rolls.
This easy spine-stretching exercise can be done in your airplane seat or while sitting in a waiting area. Roll forward on the hips and let the chest puff out, and then rolling back on the pelvis, undulating the spine by moving forward and back.
- Simple Seated Twist.
For this spine-stretching pose, sit up tall and grab the sides of your seat, twisting the torso to the right and the left, and holding for 10-20 seconds on each side.
- Ankle Rolls.
Get your blood flowing by rolling the ankles in a circulation motion to both the right and the left several times while stretching the leg out slightly in front of you. You can also add a point-flex motion of the feet.
- Modified Mountain Pose.
If you’re able to stand up by your seat or in an empty area by the back of the plane, try a simple modification of the Mountain Pose that can provide a satisfying full-body stretch. Stand up tall and bring the feet together pointing forward, and raise the arms up above the head. Slowly raise the heels so that you’re standing on the balls of the feet and hold for 10 seconds.
- Watching The Exhale.
Feeling some flying jitters? Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress and alleviate tension, so try this yogic breathing awareness exercise on your next stressful flight.