There’s no place like…an airport.
Cue long groan.
There’s certainly no joy in schlepping awkward bags, sprinting to make a tight connection, or living off of honey roasted peanuts as your main means of sustenance. Tiny seats give us a taste of the sardine life and leave us with cranky hips, angry lower backs, and major dehydration and inflammation. All of this may leave you asking yourself — why do I do this? Because travel is a blessing, and seeing the world —even if it seems from the inside of a hotel room —is a gift that many will never experience.
Combat the typical airport stress with this mentality along with three simple yoga poses that you can do you in your seat as you wait to board! You might get a few looks, but after they see how much better you feel, they’ll be longing looks coupled with comments like, ‘Can you please teach me how to do that’? Stretch, breath, enjoy your peanuts, the change of scenery, and pay it forward with a smile.
Sit upright in your chair with your legs together (or feet hip width apart if you feel extra tight). Place your right forearm on the back of the chair, holding onto the edge with hand. Your left hand will hold onto the right arm of the seat. Take a deep inhale focusing on a tall spine, and as you exhale, place pressure onto the chair with your hands as you roll your right shoulder back. Take care to revolve your upper chest, not your hips! Keep your hips grounded and square…this will stabilize your lower back. Take five to eight deep breaths though your nose and switch sides.
Scoot your hips all the way back into the chair. Bend your left knee and flex your heel, resting knee-to-foot on the front edge of your seat. Do the same with your right leg, but stack your right shin on top of your left, knee over heel and heel over knee. Lean forward and rest your elbows or chest on your top leg. If this feels too intense or there isn’t enough room in the chair, keep your left foot on the ground, and simply cross your right foot over left knee for a less aggressive version. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.
Sit close to the edge of your chair. Draw your right knee up towards your chest and either grab the sides of your foot with both hands, or for a lighter version, both sides of your upper calf. Gently extend your leg towards straight (don’t worry if it totally straightens), and hug your inner thighs towards each other. Extend your chest forward and lightly draw your shoulders back. Fan your elbows wide to draw your chest closer to your leg. Take five to eight breaths per leg.
*Feature image for Vogue Japan by Ellen von Unwerth.