There are few things in the world that are worse than being cramped in an airplane for more than an hour or two. Domestic flights are bad enough, but everyone--except those in first class--hate long-haul international flights.
Your back, legs, neck, arms and shoulders get achy, and you start to feel antsy at the lack of movement. Even standing up and walking around may not help you to get rid of the jitters.
Thankfully, there's always yoga. If you need to stretch, relax and work out the kinks in your muscles, yoga is a perfect plane-friendly option. Here are some of the best moves you can do on a cramped plane.
Sit with your back straight, your feet on the floor, and your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and take long, deep breaths. Bring your right hand slowly to your chest, and follow it with your left hand to end in prayer position. Do this 5 to 10 times for ultimate relaxation and de-stressing.
2. Neck Rolls
Drop your head slowly to the right side as you inhale and exhale deeply. Roll it forward, to the left, to the back, and again to the right. Do five revolutions to relax your neck.
3. Seated Spinal Twist
Got an achy back? Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor, and place your right knee on top of your left knee. Twist your body to the right, looking as far behind you as you can. Take five deep breaths and repeat on the left side.
4. Leg and Hip Movements
Place your right foot firmly on the floor and put your left foot on your right thigh. Pull your left knee gently toward your chest without bending forward, and take a few deep breaths. Now press the knee towards the floor as you breathe. Repeat with the other leg.
5. Interlocked Hands
To open your chest and shoulders, interlock your hands behind your back, palms facing each other. Thrust your chest forward, keep your chin high and your back straight, and push your fists towards the floor. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
6. Thigh Stretch
As you stand in line for the restroom, bend your right knee and bring your right foot up to touch your buttocks. Clasp the foot with both hands, and pull it towards your butt to stretch the thighs. Keep your back straight and push your hips forward. Repeat with the other leg.
7. Cat and Cow
If you've got a bit of space near the back of the plane, get on your hands and knees to do the Cat and Cow poses. Arch your back and tuck your chin into your chest for Cat, and bring your head up and push your lower back towards the floor for cow pose. Alternative five to 10 times for a great lower back stretch.
8. Warrior One
Need to get the blood flowing to your legs? Step forward into a lunge, open your back foot, and extend your arms high over your head for Warrior One. If you have space, try to transition into Warrior Two with your arms stretched out in front and behind you. Make sure to do the position on both sides.
With just a few minutes of yoga, you'll feel so much more relaxed and at ease on your long-haul flight. Sure, it may look odd to your fellow passengers, but who cares? You'll be comfortable, calm and much more easily able to sleep.
Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies.
Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.