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Recently, a Japan-bound plane returned to Hawaii after a passenger was found practicing yoga in the galley. This has sparked some controversy over the viability of practicing yoga while in transit. While we do not endorse any activities that could jeopardize the safety of others, we do think that there are major benefits to stretching and performing simple, conscious movements while on airplanes or in the car. These movements could help alleviate travel induced stress and anxiety, as well as work to prevent the formation of a thrombus (DVT).

If you’re always on the go for work, or for fun, it’s important to exercise and protect your body and mind. Advize doesn’t recommend you get into child’s pose in the aisle of your 757, but there are a number of breathing techniques and stretches that you can safely (and covertly) perform in confined spaces.Take the magic of #YogAuditing with you wherever you go.

Advize Health’s resident Yogi has a few words of wisdom and some of her favorite exercises to offer other Yogi Road Warriors:

“Travel can be stressful. Yoga can help but yogis, too, must remain seated when the seatbelt light is on. Incorporate a few breathing techniques and seated postures to ensure a peaceful yoga practice – – compliant with FAA regulations.” 

Breathing Techniques

Stress-Relief Breath

Sit comfortably and upright, shoulders stacked above the hips and feet planted evenly on the floor. Rest your hands lightly on top of your thighs. Inhale deeply through the nose and when you exhale, release a big sigh through the mouth. Repeat 3-5 times.

Benefits: Stress build up can be released through the exhale. Keep your mind focused on your breathing pattern.

Take 5 Breath

During overwhelming moments, it’s easy to shorten and tighten our breathing patterns. Sit as described above and begin to place a mental count to your breath IN.

Allow the inhale to extend to a slow, steady count of 5. And exhale, slow and steady to the count of 5. With practice, your lung capacity will increase and you may comfortably extend this to a 6, 7 or 8 count breath and beyond. Find fluidity in the breathing, allowing each inhale to flow easily into the exhale without pauses, hesitation or jerky movements.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Sit comfortably as described above. Rest the left hand on the left knee/thigh, palm up. Touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb in Chin Mudra.

On the right hand, extend the thumb and pinky finger (also ring finger, if you wish) and tick the index and middle fingers into the palm. You will use the ring/little finger to open or close the left nostril and the thumb for the right nostril.

First, inhale fully – then press the thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.

Now, breathe in through the left nostril and then press the left nostril closed with the ring/pinky finger. Release the thumb from the right nostril to exhale through the right nostril.

Breathe in through the right nostril and exhale from the left. This is one round of Nadi Shodhan (alternate nostril breathing)

Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils. After exhaling, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled.  Continue for 9 rounds.

Benefits: Calms and Centers the mind. Harmonize/Balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Maintains body temperature and therapeutic for most circulatory and respiratory problems.

Seated Poses

Cat/Cow: Sit on the edge of your seat and align your feet with your hips. Rest hands lightly on the top of your thighs.

INHALE – roll your shoulders back to arch your chest upward and outward (increase the space between the pubic bone and sternum). Look to the tip of your nose.

EXHALE – tuck the chin and begin to round the spine forward, look into your lap.

Follow the flow and length of every breath. Continue 10 – 20 breaths.

Seated Twist: Sit on the edge of your seat, gently cross the right knee over the left knee. Bring your left hand onto your right knee, the other on the armrest.

Inhale to keep your spine long and turn to the right side on the exhale. Breathe deeply for five breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Seated Hip Opener: Move forward in your seat. Cross the right ankle onto the left knee. Keep the right foot flexed (point right toes to right knee). Do not fold forward or round the back.  Rest left hand on the ankle, right hand on the knee. As you breathe, use the right hand to gently press the knee toward the floor. Remain here for up to 20 breaths. Uncross the legs and shake them gently to release. REPEAT on OTHER SIDE.

Standing in the Isle or Galley

Chest Opener: Interlace the fingers behind the back. Reach through the knuckles toward the floor and behind to lift the sternum and chin, looking upward gently. After a few breaths, lower the chin and lift the hands away from the back.

Standing Lunge: Place hands on hips and step right foot back into a small lunge (heel touches floor). Keep the shoulders stacked above the hips and allow the right hip flexor and thigh to lengthen. After a few breaths, step forward and repeat on the other side.