1. Forward fold (uttanasana)
How: Find a quiet area to stand. Inhale with hands on hips, lengthening the body out of the hips, then fold forward from the hip joints. You can let the hands drop to the floor, or hold opposite elbows. Soften the shoulders away from the ears.
Physiologically: You'll be stretching your hamstrings, calves and hips.
Benefits: Uttanasana will calm your mind from the stress of flying and relieve fatigue, anxiety and headaches so that you'll arrive with a clearer mind and happier legs!
2. Upward stretch (urdhva hastasana)
How: Find a quiet place to stand with your hands by your sides, palms facing away from the body. Reach up on an inhale, and as you draw your ribs in and lengthen your tailbone to the floor. You can also find a back bend by lifting the chest up and back. Pair this with uttanasana (inhaling to urdhva hastasana, exhaling to uttanasana) for a great all-body stretch.
Physiologically: You'll be stretching your stomach, shoulders and armpits.
Benefits: This will improve your digestion as well as help with anxiety and circulation (especially if paired with uttanasana), leaving you feeling fresh when you step off the plane.
3. Eagle arms (modified garudasana)
How: standing or seated, reach your arms in front of you. Cross one elbow over the other, and bend the elbows so the forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Bring the hands together or hold your shoulders. Reach the elbows forward to deepen the stretch. Change the crossing of the arms to take this into the other side.
Physiologically: You'll be stretching your shoulders and upper back muscles.
Benefits: Eagle arms will relieve tension in the upper body and send fresh blood to the upper body muscles, helping you feel more at ease in the torso and neck and ready to step off the plane.
How: in your seat, hold the armrests and gently twist the chest in one direction as you draw your belly softly in towards your spine. Release then twist in the opposite direction.
Physiologically: You are rotating your spine, stretching the muscles of your back and decompressing your vertebrae.
Benefits: This will release tension in the hips and lower back and create ease in the entire body as you restore a natural range of motion to your spine. Energise your spine and mind in preparation for your trip!
5. Modified thread the needle
How: in your seat, cross your right ankle over the left knee. Lean the torso down, reaching the chest towards the right shin, as you simultaneously lift the left heel off the floor, coming onto left toe tips. Keep the right foot flexed towards right knee. Switch the legs to change sides.
Physiologically: This will open your hips, get into deep connective tissue and stretch the piriformus muscle.
Benefits: This juicy hip opener will ease tension in the glutes, lower back and legs while also improving circulation in the leg muscles, leaving the legs feeling less fatigued and ready for walking.
By Vivien Fung