Whether it's for work or as part of your vacation, travel can be a great time to learn about a new place, try new things and enjoy a break from your usual schedule. It can also be an absolute strain on the body and mind. Here are yoga moves to help counteract that, like...
Okay, first you find the closest picnic table. Then simply hop into flying pigeon while balancing precariously over the edge...
For real: Here are some great moves to try while...
You're in the Car
On an exhale, tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder. It doesn't really matter how close your ear gets to your shoulder; simply find a stretch along the left side of your neck that works for you. Stay there for a breath or two. On your next exhale, bring your chin to your chest, whether you roll your head down or lift you head back up to center and then lower (remember: the transition between poses is just as important as the poses themselves, so only do what works for you!). Using your next inhale, bring your left ear to towards your left shoulder. Repeat for as long as you would like.
You're at a Rest Stop
We really don't get enough lateral movement in our day-to-day lives. Whether you clasp your palms together, hold one wrist, or keep one hand down on your hip, inhale first to lengthen the back, then exhale to tilt to one side. Try to avoid hunching or overarching the back. Inhale yourself back to center and repeat on the other side.
You're at the Hotel
From a few feet away, press your hands at roughly hip height into the wall and gently hinge down. Depending on your physique, this might be a hamstring stretch, a shoulder stretch, a gluteal stretch, or a mix of the aforementioned.
Finding a cross-legged position that works for you (if sitting cross-legged creates any discomfort, you can try sitting on a folded hotel towel or even a pillow), let your back get as tall as you can on an inhale and -- on an exhale -- slowly walk your hands forward. Breathe into any areas that feel a little tense and give yourself permission to ease out if the tension is uncomfortable. Take in as many slow, deep breaths as you would like. If you'd like to add some lateral movement, you can alternate between walking your hands over to your left knee and to your right.
When You're In Your Hotel Bed
Let your arms come out to the side as if you're making a letter T. On an exhale, bring your knees over to the right. Your knees can be stacked one on top of the other, or perhaps they're more staggered. You can even add on by crossing your legs or extending one as you bring the opposite knee up and over. It's all about what twist works for your back, and works for your back at that time. Repeat on the other side whenever you're ready.
Finding even one or two poses that work for you -- and being sure to breathe mindfully as you do them -- is a great way to balance out any physical or mental tension that sitting in a car, train, or plane for long periods of time can create. And if getting into flying pigeon pose off the edge of a picnic table will help you feel more centered, then more power to you.