If your schedule doesn’t allow for a week-long getaway this fall, don’t fret: Spreading out vacation days and taking several mini-breaks may be more beneficial to your mental health anyway. According to Peter Greenberg, CBS News travel editor and author of The Best Places for Everything, taking a one-tank trip to a nearby city for three or four days is a great, stress-free way to escape the daily grind.
Unwinding from the Journey
Travel in general lends itself to feeling fatigued and saddle-sore. To overcome the vulnerabilities of modern day travel, practice the yoga poses below. These postures will ease travel fatigue and energize you.
Reclined Abdomen Pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)
What it does: This gentle twist is rejuvenating. It engages the internal and external oblique’s and reduces lower back stiffness.
How to Practice: Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet on the floor, and your arms out to the sides in a T-shape. Flex your feet and draw your legs into your chest. On an exhalation, release your knees to the right toward the floor. Try to keep both shoulders pressing into the ground. Keep your neck and throat soft. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale and bring your knees up to the center. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modification: If this feels too intense, place a pillow under your knees and allow them to rest on that support.
Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana)
What it Does: Reclined Leg Stretch helps stretch the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins and calves after a long ride. It can help to relieve back ache and sciatica.
How to Practice: Lie on your back, legs together. Strongly extend through the heels.
Keep the left leg tunneling into the ground as you bend the right knee and draw it into the chest. Place a towel around the arch of the right foot and hold the strap loosely in both hands.
Exhale and extend the right leg straight up. Flex your feet. Lengthen the back of the leg between the buttock bone and heel.
Try not to be overly enthusiastic about pulling your leg toward your chest. Instead, emphasize the grounding of your left leg as you draw your arms back into their sockets and lift your collarbones. Keep your neck relaxed and make sure you are not throwing your head back.
Stay for 30 thirty seconds to 1 minute breathing evenly. Slowly release. Repeat on the opposite side
What it Does: This yoga inspired stretch relieves tension in the hips.
How to Practice: Lie on your back, both knees bent. Bend the right knee and place the right ankle just above the left knee; flex the right foot. Reach your right hand through the “triangle” space created by your right leg and interlace the fingers of the right hand with the fingers of the left that is reaching around the outside of the left thigh.
Keep the hips, spine, and head on the floor. Relax your neck. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat on the other side.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
What it does: The pose relieves tired or cramped legs and feet. It gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck, relieves mild backache, and calms the mind.
How to Practice: Sit sideways with your right side against a wall. Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head down onto the floor. Wiggle your sitting bones close to the wall.
Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up. Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. To come out, bend your knees and push your feet against the wall and turn to the right side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting.