Australia (or ‘down under’) is sooo far away from everything we need to travel long haul, crossing several time zones in the process.
While my parents were alive I made regular trips to Hungary. Many years ago the floor at the airport gates were carpeted, nowadays cold tiles. If you ever saw a woman laying down with legs up the wall or calves on the seat of the chairs … it might have been me.
During my numerous trips to Europe the following list crystalized in my head as guidelines for long haul air travel:
- Start the journey in the best possible shape, increase your fitness in the weeks leading up to the trip, walk on the beach, de-clutter your mind; prepare your packing list, have copies (two sets) of your important documents;
- On the plane stay hydrated, drink plenty of water during the flight (alcohol will have the opposite effect) and as you will be burning less calories – you do not have to eat every morsel of food served J;
- Move your wrists, ankles, neck and shoulders (you might find a chart with recommended exercises in the net in front of you);
- Stand up and walk on the isle as much as possible;
- Do some gentle stretches whilst queuing up for the toilet;
- Try to get some sleep – do not feel that you have to “do” something, the aim is to arrive in the best possible shape for your holiday or business trip;
- Change your clock to the destination time soon after take-off;
- Once you arrive try to spend half an hour in sunshine and assume the schedule of the new time zone straight away.
You might experience the following: your feet may swell, your lower back may ache and you may develop sinus problems due to air conditioning and changing air pressure.
I have included a few restorative poses for you below which you can modify and practice even in a small hotel room. Use rolled up blanket(s) or bedspread instead of a bolster and towel to support your head and neck. If you are not comfortable in the pose come out and adjust. Stay in each pose for at least three minutes. If you do not have enough time to do all the poses do the legs up the wall and the supported bridge pose.
1. Viparita Karini (legs up the wall) – this asana will help to reduce the swelling in your feet, heart is resting, it is a pose the remove fatigue from the body.
2. Backbend to open chest as we tend to collapse the chest / shoulders as we sit. Roll up a blanket and a towel and have them close by. Sit in front of the rolled up blanket, bend yours knees and place your elbows on the blanket. Slowly lower your back over the blanket. The rolled up towel should support your neck and back of your head. Stay in the this poses up to three minutes.
3. Repeat the Legs up the wall position but this time elevate your hips (use a blanket or a towel), stay in the pose for five minutes.
4. Supported bridge – enjoy that you can finally stretch out. In yoga class we might use two bolsters so the back of the knees and the feet are supported.
5. Supta badha konasana (supported bound angle pose). Alow the props to support you and the fatigue will lift.
6. Forward bend
7. As any yoga practice we should finish the sequence with Savasana, try legs elevated.
Repeat the restorative sequence on the morning after your arrival.
If you are more energetic include a few standing poses:Trikonasana (triangle poses), Parivritta Trikonasana (revolving triangle) is recommended.