“Planes, trains and automobiles” Yoga by Aida Bielkus

Travelling is somewhat a necessity during the holiday season. Arriving refreshed at your destination is possible; try these helpful stretches that will bring relaxation to your travel days.  And always remember to pack your mat so you can keep up your practice even when not near your favorite studio! Keep in mind, as you are likely to be stationary before beginning, do not overstretch or push into the activity, because your muscles are likely to be less limber than they would be during your usual Yoga session.

1. Deep Breathing:  Sit with a straight spine aligning your sit-bones and the crown of you head. Close your eyes and take 10 extended breaths in through the nose out through the mouth. Count each breath down from 10 to 1. As you exhale imagine you are letting go of any tension in your body.

2. Neck Rolls: Take your chin down towards your chest – gently and slowly roll your neck to the right dropping your left ear towards your left shoulder.  Roll back toward center and then keeping the chin heavy roll the right ear toward the right shoulder. Repeat five times.

3.  Ankles and Wrists Stretch:  Lift your heels off the floor pressing your toes into the floor. Cross fingers pointing towards yourself palms face up gently pressing through the wrists. Release. Then lift your toes pressing your heels into the floor.  Lift your palms to shoulder height, palms face away from you with finger tips up, press gently from shoulders to palms. Repeat five times.

4.  Seated Cat and Cow:  Place your hands on your knees. Taking a big breath in puff your chest out lifting your heart strings. Exhale and concave your spine squeezing your shoulders forward. Repeat 10 times.

5.  Seated Supine Twist:  Take your right hand to your left knee. Sit nice and tall. As you exhale twist to left as you inhale lengthen through the crown of your head. Take three breaths on this side (exhaling twisting deeply, inhaling lengthening.) Take your left hand to your right knee and repeat for three breaths.

6. Seated Half Pigeon and Eagle Arms:  Lift your right leg, cupping your knee in towards your chest.  Take the ankle and cross it over the opposite knee. Gently drop the right knee towards the earth. Take the right arm under the left touching inner palms. Bring elbows up to shoulder height finger tips reach up (for tight shoulders place your hands on your shoulders and with bent elbows raise them toward the ceiling.) Release the leg to the floor.  Lift your left leg, cupping your knee in towards your chest.  Take the ankle and cross it over the opposite knee. Gently drop the left knee towards the earth. Take the left arm under the right touching inner palms. Bring elbows up to shoulder height finger tips reach up (for tight shoulders place your hands on your shoulders and with bent elbows raise them toward the ceiling.)

7.  Complete with Repeating Deep Breathing:  Sit with a straight spine aligning your sit-bones and the crown of you head. Close your eyes and take 10 extended breaths in through the nose out through the mouth. Count your breaths down from 10 to 1. As you exhale imagine you are letting go of any tension in your body.

Happy Holidays! (…and enjoy the ride!).

– By Aida Bielkus, PHD, RYT

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