With summer coming up many of you may have plans to go on holiday. Travelling is one of my favourite things to do – it’s super inspiring to connect with the people you meet on your way, to discover new places and cultures and learn about yourself as you step out of your comfort zone. Since so much is happening while travelling, it’s also very important to take care of your body and mind by grounding and calming down sometimes.
This balancing yoga sequence for travellers helps you to relax, wind down and turn the attention inward while giving your whole body a great stretch (which is also very nice when you’re carrying a backpack all the time or walk around a lot). You will hopefully feel nourished, refreshed and balanced afterwards!
- Start with a short meditation. Sit down comfortably and close your eyes. Notice how you’re feeling in your body, breath and mind.
- Take a moment for some breathing exercises. The abdominal breath is a simple but effective way to calm down. Breathe in towards your lower belly, and breathe out from the same place. Inhale and exhale at a regular rhythm – for example, count to 4 each time. Keep breathing from the belly throughout the sequence
- Open your eyes to continue with a few poses for the neck and shoulders. These areas might ask for some relief when you’re carrying a backpack with you!
Start with a few circles with the neck in both directions, and go on with some shoulder rolls forward and back. Try to move at the pace of your breath.
Then move to eagle arms. This one will release tension in your neck. Stretch your arms in front of you, shoulder height. Cross one elbow over the other and then interlace your arms, placing the palms of your hands together. Lift the elbows slightly on an inhale, and gently move them down as you exhale. Stay for a few breaths, then change sides.
Next is cow face arms. This pose helps to open the chest, shoulders and upper back. Reach up with one arm, keep the elbow next to your face and then bring the fingertips to your neck. Sway the other arm behind your back and reach the fingers together. If you can, hook the fingers together; otherwise, grab your shirt or a belt between your hands. Breathe deeply and fully for a few moments; then take it to the other side.
- Now let’s open up the spine. Move to hands and knees and take a few rounds of cat/cow, curving the spine when you inhale and rounding when you exhale. Keep moving at the pace of your breath.
- Get the whole body moving in a few rounds of sun salutation. Any variation that you know from hatha or vinyasa yoga is fine.
- Stretching the leg muscles is really nice if you do a lot of hiking or walking. After your sun salutations, move to anjaneyasana (see below) and ardha hanumanasana (half split), opening up the quadriceps and hamstrings.
- Take the stretches a little further in pyramid pose, stretching both legs and maybe bringing your nose towards your knee. Make sure to keep the hips level and the spine straight. From there, place one hand at the inside of your leg and open up the body to the side for trikonasana or triangle pose.
- Come back to the center, move your weight to your front foot and lift the back leg for a balancing pose. Once you have lifted the back leg, keep reaching back through the heel and reach the crown of your head forward. From this position, maybe lift the arms as well into warrior III. Any other balancing pose is fine too – it is very helpful to ground down.
- Repeat from step 6 at the other side.
- Close your practice with some further calming and relaxing poses, such as malasana (low squat) or a reclining twist. These can, by the way, also be very helpful if you have any problems with digestion while travelling, which is not uncommon!
- And never forget the most important part of your yoga practice: final relaxation in savasana. Stay for at least 10 minutes, giving yourself the time to restore.
I hope this yoga practice is helpful to you. Enjoy travelling!