By Renee’ Fulkerson
When I think of travel, I instantly think of freedom, adventure, and fun. My second thought would likely be some logistics. Like when, where and, how much is this going to cost. Finally, I might start going over what I am going to pack. And if I need to purchase any new gear for my trip.
I will tell you what does not cross my mind. But I do know it does cross many others is the long plane ride. Let’s face it unless you splurge for extra comfort or first class. At some point, you are going to be uncomfortable. I’m one of the lucky ones or, so I have been told because I can sleep almost the entire six-hour plane ride. And I know this is not the case for most people. My husband and son fall into the can’t sleep on a plane category. Although my beloveds are much taller than me and having enough legroom is an issue for them. For me, I know after a long-distance plane ride, the only thing I want is to create space in my body. Re-set the tension in my possible aching back, knees, shoulders, and neck. Create more length in my current state of resting muscles. I know they have become short and tight from the curled up and balled posture I have maintained while sitting for hours. That curled up ball position also gives me indigestion.
Also, people do not think about yoga when there going on a long-distance business or pleasure trip. Remembering to pack a foldable yoga mat, bring extra funds for a yoga class, or find an app to watch. I know people will visit the 24-hour fitness at their lodgings to work out if sleep is out of the question.
We have already taken out any possibility of getting any length in our legs by just being seated. If; you are lucky enough to have some legroom in front of you. You might be able to bend forward to get the length in the backline and relief from gravity while hanging your head down. What can help you get some comfort and support is sitting back in your seat. And using a few of the YogAlign principles listed below the photos.
In the image on the left: you can see how the head is forward, the chin is starting to tuck into the chest. And the shoulders are starting to round and pull forward. All of the forward head carriage and placement is causing the frontline of the body to collapse. When the frontline of the body caves in. That means so do the breathing muscles. Short and shallow breaths are probably the best it is going to get. That could lead to a headache or just pure mental frustration. When the frontline shortens, the backline gets stretched and pulled forward as well. After 6 hours of this type of body mechanics, I can guarantee the head, neck, shoulders, and back will be unhappy. And will be letting you know through physical symptoms. If; you plan on eating anything in this hunched-over posture. Your digestion functions are going to be questionable.
The image on the right: by drawing the shoulder blades under you and pressing the back of your head into the headrest, you have won half the battle. That allows head support by the headrest and not your shoulders. And look at how much length there is in the neck. The shoulders have come down away from the ears and, the chin has naturally fallen into alignment. Thie second image’s proper body alignment means you can breathe easily. The frontline is open and spacious, letting you take a full diaphragm breath. Like a domino, effect keeping inhales and exhales flowing. And relaxing not only the mind but also the shoulder girdle. Another benefit of keeping the frontline of the body open is when you, eat you will be able to digest your food more effectively (we know sitting does not help). And maybe, you might even fall asleep.
Now for the bottom part of the body, that is so much trickier. I do like to bring a small pillow to place in my lower back region. That helps to support the natural curves of my spine. And may even take some pressure off of the sacrum. The only thing you can do for your legs is to get up and walk down the aisle when you get a chance. Aside from some possible self-massage and toe/ foot movement. Remember, the body is connected. So if you wiggle your toes and feet, you will feel that in your legs too. I also like to bring warm socks and a scarf or small blanket to keep my feet and legs warm. Once the body starts to, cool it will collapse in on itself. Trying to stay warm and, you will be back to square one.
Once I have landed and feel settled in, a grounding YogAlign practice is where I start first to regain my composure and get my body back in its happy place. Although, I practiced some of the YogAlign principles on the plane (in the above mentioned). To fully come back into homeostasis, I need to include the entire body. Sometimes long-distance traveling can create some anxiety and, having some familiar breathing habits and relaxing yoga postures is just what can bring us back to feeling safe and supported. To that, I wish you safe, comfortable, and happy travels.