The benefits of Yoga are endless, but one of its best qualities is that you can practice it virtually anywhere you are. You need very little to practice basic yoga postures, and in fact when you are traveling, something as simple as a forward fold can be a game changer for a stiff back and neck.
Traveling can deplete us, and even give us anxiety, especially those who don’t prefer crowds and chaos like almost every airport that exists... a few Sun Salutations can relieve a nervous mind, and slow a fast beating heart, and perhaps even cleanse and detoxify the internal debris that builds up in both your body and mind.
Just controlling the breath alone can gentle a rapid mind and physical heart beat. Instead of reacting in fury from unforeseen and unpredictable airport mumbo jumbo, close your eyes wherever you are and just start to focus on measuring your inhales and exhales equal in length and deepening with every count. Silently counting the breathes is a great tool for beginners or focusing on a mantra like, “I am calm” or “I am at ease” can help dissipate anxiousness or even triggers of fear that arise during travel.
Other focused breathing exercises, known as pranayama in yoga, can include secluded nostril breathing. Blocking one nostril on your inhale, then blocking that same nostril as you exhale out the opposite nostril is proven to lower the heart rate, reduce stress and anxiousness and bring an overall sense of calm to the body and mind as a whole. It helps to clear the nose prior by blowing the nose with a tissue.
EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise known as gentle tapping on specific areas of the body such as the crown of the head, the temples, the neck, the chest, the shoulders, the wrists and palms can also be a really effective zen exercise when on the go or traveling. EFT is used to treat anxiety, depression, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in traditional talk therapies. EFT is a great method for children because it’s easy to cue, and often children are amused and entertained by the distraction of the tapping. The direction (like Simon says) gives them a focus on what exactly to do and touch is often an effective therapy for adults and children alike.
Aside from all these breathing hacks, some airports these days even have designated areas for yoga and meditation! Some airplanes, such as Delta, even have guided meditations on the seat screens, which I always enjoy diving into if I’m trying to sleep on a flight or uncomfortable on a red eye.
Breathing consciously and controlled can help detox the body from the squires of travel as well. There are a plethora of germs in airports, planes, trains, and buses. Deep belly breathing can help shed unwanted build up in the body while also stabilizing the mind... it’s a win win for sure!
I used to clench my significant others hand every time we take off, but then when I traveled alone I felt ALONE so now I know I always have my breath.
When we are feeling tired, stressed, or anxious during travel it’s easy to get triggered by stuck emotions and project anger energetically onto others so it’s important to understand the connection of breath and body and know you always have control over your reactions in difficult situations. It always feels better to be calm and kind!