Yoga poses for travelers that help you loosen up and relax after a grueling journey, so that you can spend less time feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus and more time exploring your new destination!
TEXT BY JESSICA BLACKMUN // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES
Also known as “Sun Salutations”.
Namaste Prayer: exhale
Hands to the Sky: Inhale
Forward fold: exhale
Left leg lunge: Inhale
Chaturanga: inhale and exhale
Cobra or Updog: Inhale
Downward dog: exhale
Right leg lunge: inhale
Forward fold: exhale
Hands to the sky: inhale
Namaste Prayer: done!
This sequence is great for waking up your body and getting your circulation going again. It helps you to reconnect your mind and body, which can be a challenge especially when you are traveling through the night and changing time zones.
While there are different sun salutations, this is a nice and easy one that I like to do. I’ve also included instructions for your breath to go along with these postures.
Also known as “Legs up the wall” or “Upside-down seal”.
This is a restorative pose that you can perform with your back and bottom flat against the wall or with the added support of folded blankets under your back so that your torso is arched creating an additional stretch.
This pose stretches the back of your neck, the front of your core, and the backs of your legs. It relieves that cramped feeling you get in your legs and feet after long periods of travel. It is also great for calming and relaxing your mind and can even relieve light headaches.
You can stay in this pose for 5-15 minutes. If your feet begin to tingle you can bend and open your knees, touching the bottoms of your feet together and bringing your heels closer to your pelvis.
Also known as “Garland Pose”.
This pose is great because it can be done on your feet and therefore you can do it anywhere, even right off of the plane if you wanted to! It is the perfect yoga pose for travelers! You just drop down into a squat, bring your feet in as much as you comfortably can, while keeping your heels on the ground.
You then bring your hands into prayer position and gently push your knees outwards with your elbows. Then lengthen your torso, relax your shins and ankles and make sure to keep your weight forward.
In addition to giving your legs, back, and neck a good stretch, this pose is also a great hip and groin opener. Malasana pose also aids in digestion and strengthening your metabolism, which can be thrown out of whack a little when trying new foods and eating at odd hours while you are traveling.
SUPTA JATHARA PARIVARTANASANA
Also known as “Supine Spinal Twist” or “Reclined Spinal Twist”.
Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints people have after traveling. Due to slouching and sitting in one place for a long period of time, sometimes our backs need to be ‘reset’. This is one of my favorite spinal twists because it allows you to stretch out and lay down, which feels real good after sitting for so long!
Lay on your back with your legs extended then bring your right knee up to your chest. Grab your right knee with your left hand and pull it across your body. Extend your right arm out to the side and take a few breaths while your body settles into this pose. You can also turn your head to the side of your outstretched arm to lengthen the stretch. Repeat these steps on the other side!
While there are many obvious benefits of lengthening, stretching, and realigning your spine, this pose also helps to detoxify your abdominal organs and creates an increase of blood flow to your digestive organs.
Also known as “Wide-leg Forward Fold”.
This pose is exactly what it sounds like. Step your feet apart (wider than hip distance) and slowly bend forward at your hips until you are touching the floor beneath you. Take a few deep breaths here before going even lower and resting your elbows and head on the floor or crossing your arms and letting them sway. Make sure to push your legs and butt back so you don’t fall forward! If you want to go deeper into this pose you can also reach through your legs and slowly pull yourself closer to the ground.
This pose stretches and builds up the strength in the insides and backs of your legs and spine. It also releases tension in the back and helps to combat headaches, fatigue, and even mild depression.
**I like to flow from this pose into a headstand when practicing on my own!
Also known as “Candle Pose”, “Queen Pose”, or “Shoulder Stand”.
This is a great inversion pose with tons of benefits.
To start, lay flat on your back. Bend your knees into our chest and slowly lift your bottom while also bringing your legs up into the air. With your knees in the air, bend your elbows and bring them closer together (so that they are shoulder distance apart) while placing your palms on your lower back for support. Once you have made your base, straighten your legs and point your toes towards the ceiling.
While in Candle Pose, press down through your upper arms and up through your toes. Make sure that you are breathing and that your body is aligned.
The candle pose is great for stretching out the neck and spine. It also fights fatigue and insomnia while calming the brain and relieving stress. This inversion is also great for toning your legs and booty!
If you aren’t quite ready to go into full a full shoulder stand, you can rest your bent knees on your forehead instead of straightening out your legs. This will give you the same benefits of an inversion, without the stress of crashing down onto the floor of your hotel room.
Also known as “Corpse Pose”.
I always end my personal practice with this pose, as do many yoga classes. While this seems like the easiest pose, it is also considered as one of the hardest. This pose is so hard because it means quieting mental chatter and just being in the moment. After a long day of travel this is one of the best things for you. It is a time to let all the stress and tension from the day fade away. This pose is a great way to settle into your new destination with a calmness, peace, and fresh outlook so that you can better enjoy the time and experiences that await you!
To get into Corpse pose, you lie flat on your back and turn your palms facing up to the sky. Once you’re on your back, open your chest and lengthen your shoulders away from your ears. Allow your feet to turn out and soften your tongue and facial muscles. Stay in this pose for about 5 minutes or as long as you need before rolling to the side and slowly coming to a seated position.
This pose relieves stress and minor headaches. It also fights fatigue and insomnia while relaxing the body and lowering blood pressure.
Disclaimer: While these are my favorite poses, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and therefore some poses may not feel good on your body. It is always important while doing yoga to listen to what your body is telling you. If a pose feels too strenuous, or you don’t feel confident in a pose, don’t do it!
For more yoga adventures, check out the time we did Outdoor Yoga Overlooking the Ocean at 2,000 ft.
Or if you’re visiting Oahu, learn Why You Should Try a Sunset Paddle Board Yoga Class!