You’ve probably heard that sitting is bad for your health. So being seated on an airplane for hours can’t be good for you. As much as I love the benefits of traveling, I do not enjoy what airplane travel does to my body and mind. However, when I do fly, I try to stay healthy and minimize some of the damaging effects of airplane travel. That includes a bit of airplane yoga!
Yes, you read that correctly — yoga in an airplane, right from your seat. Whether you are in spacious first class or cramped in a coach middle seat, I have some flight-friendly yoga postures that will help increase your circulation, release muscle tension, and soothe your nervous system. Plus, beyond helping your body, in-flight yoga can help calm your mind, in case you experience stress or anxiety (or turbulence) in-flight.
Give these simple airplane yoga poses a try right from your seat on your next flight — your body and mind will thank you!
Try this 9 pose yoga sequence the next time you are flying the friendly skies
To begin, sit in a comfortable and upright position in your seat while breathing normally. On your next exhalation, slowly tilt your head as your right ear reaches towards your right shoulder. For a few breathes, feel the sensation created from this stretch. On your next inhalation, start to roll your neck to the left as your head hangs loosely over your chest. Pause for a few breathes once your left ear is reaching towards your left shoulder. Repeat this same breathing and movement in each direction 5 more times.
Inhale as your head looks forward, on your exhale, turn your head to the right. Inhale your head back to center, and on your exhale, turn your head to the left. Repeat as needed.
As you breathe normally, relax your shoulders down and away from your ears. As you inhale, raise your shoulders, shrugging them towards your ears. When you exhale, completely release and relax them back down. Repeat for a few breathes.
With both of your arms reaching out in front of you, wrap the right upper arm underneath your left. Bend your twisted arms at a 90 degree angle and try to bring your palms to touch. Raise your eagle arms together while lowering your shoulders at the same time. This movement will create a stretch across your shoulders and upper back. Take a few deep breaths before releasing and wrapping your left upper arm under the right.
Seated cat-cow pose
While sitting comfortably and upright in your seat, roll forward on the hips letting your chest expand outwards into cow pose. Then roll back on the pelvis, with your tailbone curled under letting your chest contract inwards with your chin towards your chest into cat pose. Keep repeating this movement with your breath — slowly inhaling into cow pose and exhaling into cat pose. If this feels good, you can advance the movement by circling clockwise and counterclockwise into a rotating cat-cow pose movement.
Seated spinal twist
Sit up tall and comfortably in your seat with your palms meeting into prayer at your hearts center. As you inhale raise them up towards the ceiling, and on your exhalation, place both of your palms on the right armrest and twist to the right. On your next inhalation, repeat the same movement to the left.
By engaging your legs and core, this movement helps with improving the circulation in your legs. Sit with your back straight and your feet planted flat on the floor. On your inhale, lift your right thigh off your seat with your right foot hovering off the floor. As you exhale, simultaneously release your thigh and foot to the ground. On your next inhale, repeat the same movement with your left leg. Continue to repeat with each leg as needed.
While stretching your right leg out in front of you, roll your ankle in a circular motion clockwise and counterclockwise several times. If this movement is comfortable, try pointing and flexing your foot as your ankle rotates. Repeat with each leg as needed.
Ready yourself for a seated savasana by placing your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. As you exhale through your nose, let go of any mind chatter or external distractions. If and when your mind starts to wander, let those thoughts go and focus on your breath. Try doing seated savasana for at least 3 minute. It is okay if sleep comes while in savasana.