High Flying Yoga

Practice these moves to enjoy a more pleasant flight

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Words by Sinead Dunne - moonsYOGA
October 26th, 2016

I recently sat squashed in a middle-row seat thousands of feet in the air and pondered to myself, everybody on this plane could benefit from practicing yoga throughout this long journey. Yoga, contrary to popular belief, is primarily a philosophical practice rather than a powerful fitness regime we sometimes see in our local gyms. But I want to point out that drawing both aspects of yoga practice can help create a more positive flying experience both mentally and physically. Yoga doesn’t have to be confined to the perimeters of your mat; it can also be used in everyday situations to help get you through a myriad of stressful settings including flying!

Here are a few helpful suggestions on how to harness the power of yoga while transatlantic.

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Firstly, sitting in a tight rigid seat can make you feel a tad claustrophobic but you can actually practice a wide range of stretches that won’t impede the personal boundary space of your fellow passenger; neck rolls, seated cat/cow, wrist stretches even a modified pavanamuktasana can indeed be explored to an extent. For those of you not au fait with Sanskrit, this is effectively drawing one knee into your chest and holding tightly for approx. 10 seconds, and repeating on the other side. This is great to activate your digestive system as well as stretching out the legs.

If you are feeling up to a challenge then try one of my favourite moves, Threading the Needle/ Sucirandhrasana, only to be attempted if you feel you have a little bit more space. Simply cross the right ankle over your left thigh, keeping your hips facing forward and left foot firmly planted, start to slowly raise the crown of your head to the sky to elongate your spine and begin to fold forward gently until you feel a stretch into your hips, glutes and thigh.  Stretching out these parts when flying, not only improves circulation which helps prevent things like clotting but, it also stops you walking like a cowboy when you get off the plane. Oh, and don’t forget to even out by repeating with the left ankle on the right thigh.

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Sucirandhrasana
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Pavanamuktasana
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Cat Cow Stretch

As long flights usually require numerous trips to the restroom try raising your foot while waiting in line, rotating the ankle clockwise/anticlockwise and repeating on the other leg. Stretch your arms up in the air, fold forward if space allows. The key is to get the body moving as much as possible.

Flying can be stressful on the mind and body. Airports are busy, people are frustrated, but remembering to breathe evenly will let go of any unnecessary tension that builds up in the body. This will in turn help keep the body relaxed and the mind, calm.  Ultimately you are only upsetting yourself (and possibly your fellow traveller) so practice some mindfulness, some yoga; be accepting, look to the positives, be kind to yourself and others. It’s about perspective, and choice, how you choose to approach a situation determines the outcome. Flying can be fabulous so keep hydrated, stretch and smile often.

Have a nice flight!

Sinead Dunne, better known as “moonsYOGA” is our expert on all things yoga. With her unique style, vibrant energy and beautiful yoga sequences, we are thrilled to announce her as our very own maven46 insider. Keep an eye out for her next piece which will be coming to you monthly. 

If you’re looking for some yoga inspo in the mean time, check out Sinead’s Instagram moonsYOGA to see some serious backward flexion.