Travel is incredible. Long flights? Not so much. No matter how many times you get up to stretch, those twelve hours spent jetting across the sky in a chair do a number on your legs, back, shoulders and neck. Without resorting to yoga poses in your seat (who but Ana Forrest would actually unfurl her legs into krounchasana from the middle seat?) or an entire vinyasa sequence in the aisle (Madonna, anyone?), the best prescription is waiting for you once you land. And I’m not talking about a long, hot shower or bath, although both of those are soothing.
I’m talking about hotel room yoga! Or rental apartment yoga! Re-grounding yourself doesn’t require a lot of time, or a ton of space. Pranayama, two or three vinyasas, a handstand, some shoulder and thigh stretches are sometimes all you need to set things on the right path. If your neck, like mine, gets tweaked on long flights, I highly recommend reading about (and doing!) Zhenja La Rosa's“Life Becomes Sadana”practice. Her instructions on how to apply Anusara Yoga’s therapeutic principles to the neck are not only crystal clear, but life-saving.
Remember that the energy you expend restoring balance to body, mind and breath will translate to a happier and more spry you! It works at home, right? Why wouldn't it work on the road? Here are some tools to help you out:
These titles are diminutive in size, and won’t take up valuable space in your suitcase or carry-on bag:
An even lighter weight option, mp3s and podcasts offer the benefit of having someone guide you through yoga poses. As long as you remember to listen to the tracks before you skip town—you don’t want to have an iPod, iPad, laptop or mobile loaded with classes taught by someone whose voice gets on your nerves—and as long as you remember to copy the tracks to your listening device, you will be set.
The ubiquity of wi-fi means that it’s easier than ever to access content that’s hosted someplace else. You probably don’t need me to tell you where to look, but my personal favorite is yogaglo. You can’t beat the variety and high caliber of their teachers, many of whom travel so much that you have a better chance of studying with them online than in person. And they have a whole category of classes they've dubbed Travel Yoga! So great. Of course, there’s also YouTube, and no one is more famous on YouTube than Tara Stiles. She’s devised practices for every conceivable situation: For hotel rooms, jet lag recovery, and more.
What are your tips and tricks for bouncing back after a long flight?