A little movement, a conscious breath, or an extra stretch can help you cope with holiday travel, which brings on its own kind of physical and mental stress. Think about it: you’re out of your routine, dealing with crowds, and you’re sleep deprived.

Here are three yoga poses to help you cope; you can do them in the terminal, or on the plane or train – wherever you feel safe.  Just remember to keep breathing.

Modified Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

  • How to: Sit in your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Sit away from the chair back and feel more weight transfer from your tailbone to the back of your thighs as you roll forward onto your sitting bones. Lift up tall so your spine elongates (try not to arch your back a lot), and place your palms on your thighs.  While this feels like it’s an effort to sit this way, it’s actually easier on your body’s muscles and joints.
  • Benefits: The simple act of sitting well will help strengthen and align your back muscles to reduce shoulder and back discomfort. Done regularly, you’re more likely to feel better throughout your trip.

Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)

  • How to: Standing somewhere in a long wait, bend one knees and lift that foot off the floor, catching it at the ankle with your hand. Keep your knees and inner thighs close together. Lift your other hand as high as possible but drop your shoulder away from your ear. Kick back with the foot you are holding and keep your chest high. Keep reaching up with the upper hand. Switch sides.
  • Benefits: Pulling luggage, walking, and waiting around can tighten your hip flexors, challenge your quadriceps, and create tension in your shoulders and upper back. This pose gives you a good stretch in all those areas, while balancing on one foot helps you concentrate on being peaceful within.

Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • How to: Stand with your feet hip distance apart, with your feet flat on the floor. Fold forward, hinging at your hips, and let your head and arms dangle toward the floor or ground.  If you have an especially stiff lower back or tight hamstrings, bend your knees slightly.
  • Benefits: In general, forward folds are very calming and help reduce your reaction to external stimulus. This one, done while standing, helps stretch your legs and hips, promotes better digestion, and relieves headaches.

Combine all three poses with deep, steady, belly breathing for overall stress reduction and happier holidays.

Related Links:
Balance One Place On Your Body for Mental Clarity
Yoga Technique for Your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s