Traveling Yogi

now that summer is here, traveling season is in full swing.  whether traveling by plane, train, or automobile, getting from here to there can take quite a toll on us.  it would be better on our bodies, and less disorienting if we always traveled by foot or bike, (for instance, my husband is traveling to his brothers in vermont,  1500 miles from where he started, by his bicycle.)  but time, ambition and distance keeps most of chosing more conventional modes of transport, and thus sitting still on our behinds for long periods of time.  so – here are some tips to keep yourself in balance.

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FIRST THINGS FIRST  – what to pack, once you’re done packing:

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while you are in the car or on a plane use tennis balls on your feet, back and gluteal muscles.

*TENNIS BALLS — these little guys are life savers on long car or plane rides.  take two of them…and keep them in your carry on (or up front, if you are in a car).  move them around during the trip… try them on either side of your spine at various points (low back, mid back, between the shoulder blades, behind your neck), or put one under each buttocks, near the outside.  also, if you can manage taking your shoes off (and risk losing the tennis balls under your seat), you can give yourself a mini-foot massage with these little miracle balls.

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you can't take liquid with you thru security - but you can bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the gate!

*EMPTY WATER BOTTLE: for those of you traveling in the a car, obviously you can start with a full bottle (or two).  but, if you are flying – bring along an empty.  since you can’t take liquids thru airport security, many people either don’t drink water at all, or end up paying $5 for a plastic bottle at the gate.  save the earth and your pocket-book and bring along your own bottle, to fill up at a fountain by the gate, (most bottled water comes from a tap anyway). having your own will help keep you hydrated thru the whole journey.

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bring along lots of fresh fruit and cut veggies as snacks

*SNACKS: speaking of keeping your body nourished, don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks.  before traveling, cut up some fresh veggies and fruits in bring along in a ziplock bag. maybe some nuts, cheese sticks, or simple sandwiches too.   even if it’s just a short flight, you never know how long you’ll actually be in the air or at the airport.  come prepared with plenty of good fuel. (you may want to avoid dehydrating foods, like dried fruits or dry crackers).     if you are driving – pack a cooler of good, nourishing snacks – so you don’t have to rely on 7-11 to keep you going.

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you can use a neck pillow or just a rolled up towel, blanket or sweatshirt, to support your neck

*NECK SUPPORT:  a little support goes a long way for keeping your head and neck happy while sitting for long periods of time.  you can, of course, use the ready-made neck pillows, sold in every color and fabric in the terminals… but i find that a rolled up thin blanket or small towel – or even a sweatshirt in a pinch, can also do the trick.  if you want to sleep, this is practically a necessity – but even if not, your neck will enjoy feeling supported.

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BEFORE YOU EMBARK:

* do some qi gung, yoga and/or other exercise  the morning before you travel.  since it’s likely that you will be spending a long period of time sedentary, move your body as much as you can before you leave.

*eat a good meal.  it may be awhile before you get your next one (although the healthy snacks you’ve already packed will help with this too!)

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WHILE YOU ARE TRAVELING:

*roll your joints (and i don’t mean the green kind… if you’re in a plane you’re already going to be high enough).  keep your wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders and, if possible, hips, rolling around whenever you think of it.   if you are ever at a gate with me, awaiting departure – you will find me sitting on the floor doing basic stretches (that is, if i’m not off in the corner with my legs up the wall – which we will get to in a minute).

*on the plane, get up as much as possible and walk around.  if you are driving, take frequent stops, and walks whenever you can.

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ONCE YOU ARRIVE:

legs up the wall (viparita karani)

*get your legs up the wall as soon as you can!  not only does this pose relieve your aching legs and swollen feet and ankles, it also helps reset the body clock – fighting any potential jet lag.  i do this at the airport, while waiting for a connecting flight, my baggage, or my ride.  but, if you are more modest than i, you could do it as soon as you get to room where you are staying.

*take a shower  – ending with a cold blast.  this will help clear off your day and get the circulation going again.

*get some sunlight – if jet lag is an issue, and you arrive during the day – take  a walk in the sun soon after arriving.

*do some more qi gong/yoga or take a walk in the fresh air.

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well my sweet yogis, all these tips were actually done with intention of reminding myself how to best care for myself tomorrow – when i will fly across country to visit friends and reunite with my biking husband.  since we will be traveling for a couple of weeks, i will return with my next blog entry after our return in the second week of july.

until then – bon voyage and be well.

blessings,

vanessa

p.s…. if you enjoy receiving regular omwork – pass the blog address on to your friends!

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