Hi! I'm just back from a great trip with my daughter to Europe. Our travels were full of new experiences and fun as well as volcanic disruptions, 3 hour delays on the runway, jetlag, etc. Traveling can certainly provide ample opportunity to practice qualities that we develop on our mat such as patience when the passenger ahead decides to recline his seat back into your lap before take-off; compassion for parents with screaming infants on a long flight, or gratitude for our regular yoga practice and teachers when we are away. Sometimes it takes an absence from our routine to notice the difference when we are not in our practice: our bodies and minds tend to notice! I miss being able to spread out on my Manduka mat when I'm trying to fit in some sun salutations in a tiny hotel room or hearing the words of a trusted instructor, but the greater picture of traveling and yoga for me is expanding my practice and non-attachment from what I think my yoga practice HAS to be. I embrace that we can't do yoga- just be yoga. I give myself permission to let go of a full asana practice to focus on pranayama and meditation. Kapalabhati, bhaskrika, and nadi shodhana breathing can all help clear out stale airplane air and refresh our bodies and minds after traveling. A long plane, car or train ride can provide a space to close our eyes and meditate for awhile. Or that 10 hours on the plane could finally be that spare time you have always been looking for to learn the Gayatri Mantra by heart or crack open the Baghavad Gita : ) Anyway, going away always astounds me as I'm reminded that we're all connected by the same light, love and spirit; that separateness is an illusion.
FAVORITE AIRPLANE STRETCHES: seated twist (keep hips on square and one hand on opp. thigh for leverage: twist from the belly up as you take qaze past shoulder), seated pigeon (cross one ankle over the opposite thigh and fold forward), ankle circles, seated apanasana (hug one knee into chest at a time), seated cat/cow (hands on knees for support - then roll spine), neck rolls and sideway figure 8s with chin, side stretch (reach one arm up and bend to the side while keeping shoulders down away from the ears), flex/ point feet while seated, lion's breath (when nobody's looking!), handstand in the aisle-only for the advanced yogi (just kidding!!)