Traveling for Business? Here are 7 Yoga Poses to help Alleviate some of that mental and physical stress while traveling.
Time: Approx. 15 mins – 20 mins
Props: Yoga Mat (or towel); Optional Wall, Pillow, Towel
1. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Lower the hips towards the heels, forehead resting toward the mat or a rolled towel. Lengthen through the side waist and lower back. Arms can extend forward or back by the hips, whatever feels best for the body. Close the eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Smooth out your inhale and exhale to begin to relax the nervous system and focus energy inwards. Optional- set an intention for your practice to center your mind- it can be something as simple as “Letting Go of your day” (Stay for 10-15 breaths)
From Child’s Pose, stretch the arms forward, palms flat to the earth, and shifting weight forward, come to a table top position with hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Spread wide through the fingers, hug the belly in slightly. On inhale draw chest between arms, exhale scoop the belly and round the back. Move with breath, 5-10 times. This helps to loosen tension in spine which can become compressed from long hours of sitting on a plane or car during business trips.
3. Downward Dog
From Cat/ Cow, walk the hands slightly more forward hands distance apart, spread wide through the fingers, press through the palms, curl the toes under, and shift the hips up and back to Downward Dog. As you find your way into Down Dog, see that your wrists are parallel to the top edge of the mat, grounding through the palms as you lengthen from the outer wrists through the arm pits and outer hips. Allow the chest to melt toward the thighs, fronts the thighs pressing towards the back of the hamstrings. Spin the inner thighs towards the back wall and Energetically reach the heels to the mat. Feel free to pedal out the feet, bending one leg and the other to loosen the calves and hamstrings. As you find your way into stillness, hold for 10 breaths (rest in child’s pose as needed). This pose is very valuable to lengthen the back which can become compressed or misaligned from bad posture in sitting. It also functions to open the front of the body, chest and shoulders that are so often rounded with excessive desk work. Finally, Down Dog is also a gentle inversion as the head is lower than the heart in this pose and stimulates added blood flow to your brain to reenergize the brain/body.
4. Low Crescent Lunge
From Down Dog, on inhale lift right leg to sky, exhale draw knee to nose, step foot by right thumb. Make sure heel and knee are in line, release back knee to mat. Uncurl back toes, walk hands up front thigh, press out of front heel to resist belly away from thigh coming into a low crescent lunge. Gently squeeze the outer hips in to midline, draw the navel in and up towards the breastbone, and lift the lower back ribs up towards the sky. Relax the shoulders away from the ears- option to reach the arms to the sky. (Hold for 5-7 breaths) Release palms back to earth, framing front foot- curl the back toes under- step back to Down Dog. Repeat side two. This pose is great to release the frontal hip flexors which can become shortened/ tightened from longs hours in flexion as a result of sitting (in meetings, in transit during travel). After side two, return to Down Dog, soften the knees to earth and press back to child’s pose. Rest for about 5 breaths or as long as needed. When ready, walk the hands by the side ribs, assist yourself up to seat. Roll off to one hip, extend the legs forward, bend the knees and carefully lower your spine down to the mat.
5. Supine Two leg Twist
After coming down to your back, hug the knees into the chest (Apanasana), wrapping the forearms around the shins, as if giving yourself a hug, and rock side to side to release the low back. When you feel ready, on inhale open the arms to a T shape (palms up, arms in line with the shoulders), and exhale twist your knees to the left, keeping your right shoulder heavy to the earth for a Supine Twist. Keeping the knees and ankles stacked over one another, upper body spinning away from the legs, broaden through the collar bones and melt the right shoulder into the mat. If it’s ok with your neck, you’re welcome to melt the right ear towards the mat as well. (Stay for 5-7 breaths). When you feel ready, on inhale bring the legs to center, exhale tip the knees over to the left and repeat on side two. This is a valuable pose to release tension in the back, and to encourage realignment of the spine into balance.
6. Thread the Needle Hip Stretch
After completing you simple twist, draw the knees back to center. Place the feet to the mat, knees bent. Cross right ankle over right thigh for a figure 4/ Thread the needle hip stretch. Drawing your outer right hip towards the front wall, you can remain here directing your right knee to the right with the right hand to inner right thigh, or if you’d like to go deeper, you can thread the eye of the needle, right hand between the keyhole of the legs, left hand to back of the left thigh drawing it closer to the chest, as you continue to resist the right outer hip to front wall. Keep the tailbone and shoulders heavy to the mat, collar bones spread wide, and chin slightly drawn to the sternum. (Stay for 7-10 breaths, then repeat side two). This is a valuable pose to open the hips which can become tight from being in flexion after long hours of sitting in meetings, on planes, or in cars during business travel.
7. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Extend the arms and legs to a comfortable low V position (if any sensitivity in the low back, bend the knees or place blankets behind the knees for support). Allow the eyes to close (maybe cover eyes with a small towel) and let go of any conscious breathing. Relax the entire back body to the ground, let go of any remaining tension. Recall your intention for your practice, let this dedication fill your heart and act as a mental reset for your day/ night. Rest for 3-5 minutes in Savasana… Namaste.
About: Melissa is a Yoga Instructor (RYT-500) based in Los Angeles, CA. She teaches public, private, and corporate yoga classes in the Los Angeles area, and will be hosting a Yoga Retreat to the Big Island of Hawaii in October 2018. Learn more on her website: melissaoyoga.com and connect on Instagram @melissao_yoga
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