Air travel is notorious for plenty of inconveniences — and cramped seating may be the worst of them all. But despite such limited space, you can actually execute a decent number of yoga moves on a plane that will not only make your flight feel more sane, but maybe even help you feel better — and less stiff — when you arrive at your destination. Consider some of these yoga moves that work well on planes... even in coach.
1. For your neckInhale and bring your chin to your chest and stretch the back of your neck. Exhale and gently bring your chin up. Inhale and raise your chin toward the ceiling and hold. Exhale and bring it back down to its natural resting position. Inhale and press your right ear to your right shoulder, stretching the left side of your neck. Exhale and come back to your natural resting position. Do the same on the left side. Repeat.
2. For your backPlace your hands beside you on the seat and inhale while you bring your shoulders back while your chest goes forward. You’ll feel this in your back. Exhale and bring your shoulders forward while rounding your spine. Repeat.
3. For your legsSteady one of your feet on the floor flatly while lifting the other. Grasp the knee of the lifted leg and inhale as you bring it to your chest while maintaining a straight back. Hug your knee to your body for 15 seconds and then exhale and place it back in its resting position. Repeat with the other leg.
4. For your feetPlace your feet together on the floor. Inhale and rock your feet onto your heels with your toes in the air. Exhale and bring your feet onto your toes. Repeat.
5. For your shouldersWith your back straight, inhale and raise your shoulders up toward your head. Exhale as you bring them back down to resting position and repeat.
6. For your stomachPull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine and inhale once they’re in as far as you can get them. Hold the pose and then exhale as you release your stomach back to resting position. Repeat.
7. For your armsPlace your right elbow over your inner left elbow. Then attempt to bring your hands to as close as clapping position as possible. Inhale and hold it. Exhale as you go back to resting position and then repeat on the other side.
8. For your handsHold your left hand out with the palm up. Inhale and use all of your fingers on your right hand to gently pull all of your fingers but your thumb toward the ground on your left hand. Hold it and exhale as you release your fingers. Repeat with your right hand.
Once you’ve taken a stab at these movement-based mediations, don’t forget to end with a more focused meditation, inspired by Savasana. Sit still with your spine straight and relax your muscles. Close your eyes and attempt to calmly observe your thoughts and the sounds that surround you.
And then maybe ask the flight attendant for a cup of tea and enjoy your newfound sky-high zen.
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