Have you heard of airplane yoga? No, it's not a promotional trick from the airline companies. It refers to yoga positions that you can do while you're on the plane — whether you're seated in First, Business, or Economy class. Long-haul flights in particular can be challenging for our bodies, and these simple stretches help to energise and stretch-out your muscles. Below, three easy exercises to try the next time you hop on a plane:
1. The Cat-Cow Stretch
This exercise is subtle and it's going to help your spine and flexibility so you don't feel so uptight and strained throughout your flight. Sit in such a way that your spine is in a neutral position and place your hands on your thighs. Inhale and puff your chest outwards while pushing your shoulders slightly back in order to create a curve in your back (similar to 'cow' pose). Now, when you exhale, push your shoulders forward, look down and try to round your spine (sort of like a cat). Make sure to stay in each position for a breath or even two, and repeat this five times.
2. Spinal Twist
For this particular exercise, make sure both your feet are grounded on the floor and you're sitting in an upright position. Put your right hand on your left knee and left hand on the seat behind your left hip. As you take a deep breath and inhale, gently lift up through your spine and chest. Twist to your left, as if you're looking over your shoulder. Stay in this position for a couple of seconds, simultaneously taking deep breaths. When you exhale, push yourself slightly to the left, and by this point, you should be engaging your belly muscles to really make the stretch. Use your right hand, that's placed on your left knee, to help you really make the twist. Now stay in this position and take 10 deep breaths. Slowly return to the original position and do the same for the right side by switching your hands.
3. Neck rolls
Neck rolls are a very common exercise everyone tries to do first but it's essential to do it right in order to reap all the benefits and avoid hurting yourself. Sit on the edge of your seat, keeping your spine in an upright position. Push your shoulders back. Place your hands lightly on the top of your thighs. As you're taking a deep breath, stretch your head backwards, and do this gently. As you exhale push your head forwards, but softly. Make this a rolling motion. It might seem like a deceptively simple exercise, but it's going to do wonders for relaxing your upper body, especially your neck and shoulders. Do this if you're feeling tense and tight. We do tend to store a lot of tension in our upper body.