Rosie’s Airport and Airplane Yoga Practice
One great place to practice is at the gate with the Back-to-Back Lounge Seats. Find a quiet corner if you are feeling shy. Clearly, I am not!
Virabhadrasana I and II: Pressing the head of the shin against the edge of the seat…alternatively, find a column as a brace for the front leg, or the back foot.
Utthita Parsvakonasana: Again finding somewhere to brace the back leg foot for stability, come into the pose with your lower hand on the shin and upper hand stretching the top side of the chest.
Column Shoulder openers: Be inventive! Stand in Tadasana with the arm straight to the side and the palm pressing to the column. Walk forward keeping the shape of the arm and Tadasana action in the upper chest. OR raise the arm and take the palm fingers up onto the column and walk in…how about adding Vrksasana here!
Ardha Uttanasana: Reaching the forearms across the seat, palms facing one another, step back into Ardha Uttanasana…Press the forearms down and roll the upper arms out
Partner Ardha Uttanasana/Malasana: Holding one another’s forearms, step back into Ardha Uttanasana, then bend the knees to a right angle, then full Malasana, then back to bent knees/right angle, then Ardha Uttanasana, then up.
Chair Back Bend: Sit far enough back in the seat that you can catch the shoulder blades at the top. Place the feet hip width, toes in slightly. Pressing the feet firmly down and the shoulder blades firmly into the seat, rise up by moving the tail bone forward and the torso back over the seat back.
Chair Adho Mukha Svanasana:
On the Plane:
Some of these poses can be done with a loose seatbelt, but when the seat belt sign is off, do the standing poses.
Arm/Shoulder poses: While seated…Urdhva Hastasana, Urdhva Baddhanguliasana, Baddha Hastasana, Ghomukasana, Paschima Namaskarasana & Garudasana (add the legs!)
Marichyasana Knee to Chest: Keeping one foot flat on the floor, lift the other leg and using both palms draw your knee to your chest. Keep your shoulders relaxed throughout the pose. Hold for 30- 45 seconds. Then repeat with the other leg.
Marichyasana twist only: Keeping one foot flat on the floor, bring the right leg into Marichyasana, foot on the seat. If you have room, extend the opposite leg. Lift the right arm to lift the right side and bring the arm to the inside of the right leg…twist! Hold for 30- 45 seconds. Then repeat with the other leg.
Ardha Sukhasana: Keeping one foot flat on the floor, lift the other foot and place the ankle on top of the resting thigh and closer to the knee. Make sure you have enough room to drop the raised leg and knee to the side without disturbing your neighbor. Flex your foot, squeeze and spread your toes as though you were about to push the other neighbor (assuming you are sandwiched between two travelers). This helps to open the hip and give a really good stretch around the butt and hip. If you wish to get a deeper stretch, lean forward a little and place your forearms on top of your legs. If you are seated in the aisle seat, be mindful of the drinks cart! Hold for 30-45 seconds. Then repeat the pose with the other leg.
Bharadvajasana: While seated, plant your feet on the floor and place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and twist to the right. If there is a provision to move your hands back, you can to deepen the twist by taking your right hand to the back of the seat or grab the far side of the seatbelt. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Then repeat the pose on the other side.
For standing poses, I sometimes stay near my seat in the aisle, or I move to near the bulkhead or kitchen/lavatory where there is more space.
Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana– hands on the wall: Place your hands on the overhead bin and stretch the arms up, pressing the palms, working the shoulders.
Ardha Uttanasana: If there is space, do this with hands on the wall…near the galley or bathroom there is usually space.
Virabhadrasana 1: I do this either in the aisle next to my seat, or up at the galley/bathroom area. If I have a wall, I put my arms at the wall and work to make the psoas stretch a little deeper.
More standing poses: Some airlines have nearly three feet of space between the last row of seats and the galley wall. I do Virabhadrasana 2 and Utthita Trikonasana here as well as Vrksasana, Utkatasana and Garudasana (legs only). Utthita Marichyasana 3 is also nice with a foot on the seat (if you have an aisle seat).
Pranayama: Your call, but I like to do some seated Ujjayi and Viloma, and then meditate for my “Savasana” with the seat back as far as it will go (in Economy) and all the way down if in biz class (when I’m lucky).
When I get to my hotel, if I need to stay awake, I’ll I do a little more twisting then inversions (full arm balance, Pincha Mayurasana, Sirsasana. I always bring along a trusty strap, and do the Supta Padangusthasana series, Chattush Padasana and Chair Sarvangasana if possible, then Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) and Savasana.