The benefits of yoga for health are well documented says yoga teacher Katy Appleton. Here are her top tips for long haul travellers:
- The day before travelling, avoid caffeine and alcohol, it’ll make you feel lighter and healthier. Don’t forget, the system gets much slower when you’re up in the air.
- To keep the energy moving during the flight, with so much time in a small seat, make time to do a ‘yoga flow’ before you leave home, or even at the airport. This is a series of postures arranged to flow together one after the next.
- Pack a golf ball and use it during the flight to massage thoroughly the bottom of the feet. It works with all the little meridian points – like reflexology – and keeps the energy grounded. For many people, particularly those with DVT problems, the golf ball keeps the circulation going on a physical level.
- Pack a tennis ball and use it on the back of the legs. When sitting, move it down from the sitting bone to the knee joint, where the knee is on the back of the chair, and then down the hamstrings and play around with it on the back of the legs. Katy also recommends wiggling the tennis ball down each side of the bony spine to relieve tension in the lower back muscles.
- Hummmm. Called Bhramari, it’s a gentle humming mad inside the chest. It helps reduce anxiety, especially in turbulence. (Hopefully the noise of the plane will be louder than your hum).
- Alternate Nostril Breathing can be done in an airplane seat which has a calming, balancing effect on the nervous system.
- Move around the plane frequently.
- Find a space, rise up and down on the balls of the feet, bending the knees, moving one foot and then the other up and down, and making ankle circles just to get the circulation moving through the leg.
- Try doing mini calf stretches. Take one foot back behind the other and then lean forward while stretching the back leg.
- Once off the plane, try to find somewhere to “get your legs up the wall.” Lie on your back, wiggle towards the wall, swing your legs up against the wall and relax.
Katy is also the author of Yoga in Practice, guide to bringing the benefits of yoga into your life. Fully illustrated in colour, with an accessible and insightful text, this book shows you how to gain the most from your yoga practice, tailoring it to suit your own special needs.