It was bound to happen, really. With all the stress of modern day air travel, the obvious antidote is a space dedicated to calm. What better way to promote clear heads in chaos than by encouraging some airport yoga poses and meditation?
SFO was the world’s first to turn 150 square feet of storage area into a Zen retreat in 2012. In 2013, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport introduced a yoga room to mitigate madness at one of the busiest and most delay-stricken hubs in the US. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Albuquerque, and Raleigh-Durham have all fallen in line. Europe has jumped on the mat as well, with meditation rooms in Amsterdam’s Schiphol, London Heathrow, and Arianna Huffington excitedly tweeted when she discovered one in Munich about a year ago.
But what of those airports that have yet to bend to the trend? Well, there is plenty of Instagram evidence to show that yogis have taken to finding open spots to practice. So whether you’re lucky to land in one of the above airports, or not, here are five yoga poses that anyone can do anywhere.
Five airport yoga poses you can do anywhere:
1 – Mountain Pose Starting in this asana will immediately begin to relax the entire body. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, then roll your shoulders up and down your back for a straight spine and bring your hands to hear centre. Close your eyes and focus on your third eye (the space between your eyebrows). Breathe deeply; extending your belly out on the inhale, and then contract it on the exhale. Imagine you are standing in a majestic forest and your legs are like tree trunks, with roots solidly planted in the earth.
2 – Downward Dog Position yourself on hands and knees before pushing back so your hips are to the sky and legs are slightly bent. There should also be a slight bend at the elbows. Relax your neck and jaw, while you peddle your feet to get a good stretch in the back of the legs. Take a few deep belly breaths.
3 – Seated Twist Sitting on the ground, bend your right leg to a 45-degree angle. Then bring your left leg around so that the ankle is touching the right knee. Gently twist your upper body to left, placing the left hand firmly on the ground. Your right arm goes straight to the sky before bringing the arm down so the elbow connects to the outside of the left knee. Close your eyes and breath deeply to maximize the cleansing effects of this pose. Repeat on the other side.
4 – Pigeon This asana is excellent for your hips, which always need a good stretch after long flights. Start by sitting in an easy cross-legged position, then bring your left leg behind you so your knee is on the floor (you can always opt to leave your back leg bent if easier).
Your right leg is in front at a 45-degree angle. On a deep inhale, bring your arms to the sky and, on the exhale, fold over. You can either keep your arms straight out in front, but you can also make a “pillow” for your forehead by either placing one hand on top of the other, or stacking your fists. Take a minute to stretch in downward dog before repeating on the other side.
5 – Easy Seated Pose Eyes closed and hands facing down on your knees to promote grounding the body. Breathe deeply and imagine a brilliant white light clearing your mind of any and all negative thoughts.
Hold any one of these poses for at least five minutes and you are guaranteed to unpack a bit of baggage. So when stressful thoughts arise – and they are bound to as we carry a lot of frustration in our hips – just imagine them leaving your mind through each breath.