Today’s post is another installment of travel yoga! This time I’m bringing you a hands free yoga class. Should you choose, you can also do this class without a mat, since we won’t be sitting or lying down.
I created this class, admittedly, a bit selfishly. I’m going to be traveling at the end of this week, and I thought it would be nice to have an all-standing sequence that I could do in a corner of the airport, before getting on my flight.
I don’t know about you, but for me, keeping up with my yoga practice is the hardest part of traveling.
Traveling breaks me out of my routine, and for some reason, instead of leaning on the practices that feel like home, I often throw it all out the window. I come up with all the usual excuses – I don’t have my mat, I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough space, if I practice in public people with think I’m crazy.
Well, the reality is that not practicing leaves me feeling ungrounded and scattered, which makes ME feel crazy. So I’ve been making a concerted effort to practice when I travel, and I’m here to tell you that you should too.
WHY TRAVEL YOGA?
Traveling an inherently stressful ordeal – for body and mind. There are many variables that are out of our control when we travel, but keeping up with our practices is in our control.
Here are 5 reasons to keep up your yoga practice when you travel…
1. Energy Boost
Jet lag is a one-way ticket to struggle city. Time zone changes wreak havoc on our sleep and energy, and we FEEL it. Even if you’re not changing time zones, travel is still exhausting. It messes with our normal sleep patterns and can leave us feeling depelated.
Moving the body in a yoga practice, even it it’s just 15-20 minutes, helps to get the blood flowing and the oxygen moving, which increases energy. Energizing pranayama practices, like kapalabhati, can also provide a little pick-me-up.
Gentle, restorative practices before bed can help prepare your body and mind for sleep. Combine that with a soothing pranayama practice, like alternate nostril breath, and you’ll be activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body and mind to relax. You’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time!
Related: Bedtime Yoga + Yoga Tools for Sleep
2. Stress Reduction
Traveling can be super fun and exhilarating, but it’s also stressful. There are so many moving parts on a travel day – making sure you’ve packed everything, getting to the airport on time, going through security, the actual flight…you get the idea. It’s a whole thing.
All of these stressful little events keep us in fight or flight mode, which spikes our cortisol levels and leaves us feeling strung out.
I mentioned the parasympathetic nervous system above, and this is exactly what you want to activate while traveling. The parasympathetic nervous system is your rest + digest mode – it combats fight or light mode and helps you to relax…to rest and digest. And what helps to activate this system? You guessed it…yoga, pranayama, meditation.
Related: Yoga for Stress Relief
Staying present is hard enough when you’re in your regular routine. It’s especially hard when there are so many moving parts that you’re trying to stay on top of.
Here’s what ends up happening to me when I travel: I eat mindlessly and I interact mindlessly. So I eat crap, and if I’m tired (which I usually am), I end up snapping at people.
Yoga reminds me to be present and grateful. A little practice in the airport brings me back to a mindful state. So when I seek out food, I do so from a place of intention – to nourish my body with care. And when my flight is delayed 10 hours and no one has the answers I want to hear, I can respond from a place of compassion, rather than react from a place of frustration.
4. Your Body Will Thank You
The physical act of getting from one place to the next creates some serious stress and tension in the muscles. Whether you’re lugging around a backpack or pulling a heavy suitcase, the weight of your stuff is going to take a toll on your body. And whether your flight is 2 hours or 12, sitting in those cramped airplane seats does nothing good for your hips and lower back.
Traveling is stressful on our bodies, and stretching helps to alleviate that stress. Taking the time to stretch the body before, during, and after your flight can go a long way.
5. The Excuses are Invalid
The truth is, you don’t need a mat to practice. You don’t need much time, and you don’t need much space. The hands free yoga class below is just 18 minutes and requires no mat, and little space.
And if people think you’re crazy for practicing in the airport…well, who cares. Your physical and mental wellbeing are far more important than what strangers at the airport think. Plus, more and more airports are adding yoga rooms, so if you can snag one of those, you’re golden!
HANDS FREE YOGA PRACTICE
Like I mentioned above, you don’t need a mat or much space for this class. It’s perfect for travel, but also great if you’re working with any wrist or hand injuries.
We put no weight on the hands in this practice, so if you’re looking to get your flow on without putting your hand down, then this class is for you.
I’ll meet you on the (not) mat 😉