Snap, crackle, pop! If you’ve ever set out for faraway destinations, you probably know the feeling: As you finally step out of the car or off the plane to stretch your body, it sounds a little bit like popping a sheet of bubble wrap. What’s a weary traveler to do?
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Being confined to small spaces while traveling can be difficult on your body. It can also cause pain as well as stress — which are the last things you want on a vacation or business trip.
“With just some simple motions, you can feel a lot better and make your trip feel more comfortable,” says yoga therapist Judi Bar, E-500 RYT, C-IAYT.
She shares simple but helpful tips for yoga for long car rides and other forms of travel, regardless of how little space is available to you.
This pose helps to soften and lubricate your spine, creating space between your vertebrae and increasing circulation.
“That breathing brings you more oxygen, which can help you feel more awake or calmer — whichever one you need,” Bar says.
Within the confines of a train seat, the backseat of a car or even the middle seat on an airplane, you can still give your back a nice break by doing spinal twists. They stretch your torso, ribs and respiratory muscles and even help to massage your internal organs.
“You can absolutely do this move within the confines of a chair or seat, and you don’t have to be very obvious about doing it,” Bar says.
Slow, steady neck rolls are a simple type of yoga that can easily be done on long car rides and other types of travel. They loosen the muscles to help alleviate tension in the shoulders and neck.
“You might hear some popping, but as long as there’s no pain with it, it’s fine,” Bar advises. (If you feel any pain, stop doing neck rolls immediately!)
Loosen your shoulder muscles and release tension with simple but impactful shoulder rolls.
As with all yoga poses, be sure to keep your breath steady with each movement.
This simple move stretches the lower and upper back. You’ll need some space to bend to the front of your seat, so you may not be able to move fully forward on an airplane. But it’s perfect for getting in some movement as you’re sitting in the terminal waiting or on the train, plane, bus or car.
“While you’re on the go, the key is to give yourself a variety of motion and listen to what your body needs,” Bar says. “Try to move as much as you can to help your circulation, and always remind yourself to breath.”