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Yoga for Traveling: Why You Should Stay Active During Your Next Trip

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

These yoga poses help to relieve stiff muscles, improve circulation and stay focused from the comfort of your hotel room while traveling.

After taking a six hour road trip this past summer, my hips and back were aching, my ankles were swollen and my mind was restless. Resisting the temptation to flop on the bed of my hotel room, I cleared space on the floor near a wall and began to move through yoga poses. Within 15 minutes, I could feel my body release tension and my mind clear.

Spending hours waiting at the airport, flying on a plane, driving in a car, or commuting by train can make the mind and body go a little stir crazy. Traveling can cause stiff muscles from sitting for long periods of time in awkward positions, disruption to the circadian rhythm (hello jet lag) and increased risk of blood clots from lack of circulation.

It may be tempting to skip yoga and exercise when traveling. With business meetings, family obligations or new places to see, who has time to squeeze in a sweat session? However, I’ve found that movement is even more important to help counteract the effects of traveling. Adding a quick yoga session can help you stretch tight muscles, mobilize joints and get blood flowing throughout your body. Practicing in the morning can provide clarity and focused energy, whereas practicing in the evening can provide a sense of grounded calm to wind down for a more restful sleep.

You can enjoy yoga without props, leggings or even a mat. During my last trip, I filmed my yoga practice in a hotel room so you can follow along no matter where you are or what you packed. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.

If you don’t have time to try the full video, you can choose a few poses from the list below. Some movement is better than none at all!

Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  • Sit cross-legged (sukhasana) with a long spine

  • Inhale and reach your arms up

  • As you exhale, begin twisting to the left from the mid-part of the spine. Avoid twisting from the lower back

  • Place your right hand on your left knee

  • Place your left fingertips on the ground by your hip

  • Stay in the twist for 3-5 breaths

  • Come back to center and repeat on the other side

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  • Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width distance apart (you can have your knees closer together for more rounding of the spine or farther apart for a deeper hip stretch)

  • Touch your big toes together

  • Sit your hips back toward your heels

  • Reach your arms forward. You can tent your fingertips and lift your upper arm bones off the ground for a more active variation

  • Rest your forehead on the ground

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

Cat/Cow (Marjariasana/Bitilasana)

  • Begin on all fours in a table top position (bharmanasana) with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees

  • As you inhale, drop your belly, open up through your chest and reach the crown of your head up to extend your spine for cow pose (bitilasana)

  • As you exhale, round your spine and gently let your chin come toward your chest (marjariasana)

  • Repeat several times

Table Top (Bharmanasana) With Extended Leg

  • Come onto your hands and knees. Align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees

  • Extend your right leg behind you and tuck your toes

  • Gently rock forward and back to stretch the back of your leg and allow the blood to circulate in your foot

  • Return to all fours in tabletop position (bharmanasana)

  • Repeat on the other side

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • From table top (bharmanasana), spread your fingers wide, making an “L shape” with your thumb and index finger

  • Walk your feet back a few inches and tuck your toes

  • Lift your hips toward the ceiling

  • Lengthen your spine

  • Release tension in your neck

  • You can keep your knees bent as much as you need to keep the length in your spine. As your hamstrings and calves open, you may be able to let your heels lower closer to the ground

  • Touch your feet together and lift your right leg up for three legged dog

  • Bend your right knee and stack your right hip over your left hip

  • Twirl your right foot to make circles with your ankle 3-5 times. Then reverse directions with the circles

  • Straighten your right leg and square off your hips coming back to three legged dog

  • Return to downward facing dog and repeat the hip opening on the other side

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

  • From downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana), shift forward, bend your right knee and step your foot in between your hands

  • Lower your back knee down to the ground. Your back toes can be tucked or the top of your foot can rest on the ground

  • Reach your arms up. Lower your shoulders away from your ears

  • Hug your ribs in and engage your core

  • Maintain a posterior pelvic tilt

  • Rest your right forearm on your right thigh with your palm facing up

  • Reach your left arm up and over to open through your side body

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Return to downward facing (adho mukha svanasana) and repeat on the other side

Revolved Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana)

  • Stand with your feet spread wide. You can reach your arms to the sides and step your feet as wide as your hands

  • Turn your toes in slightly

  • As you exhale, begin to fold forward initiating the movement from your hips

  • Shift two-thirds of your weight into the balls of your feet

  • Lengthen your spine

  • Release tension in your neck

  • Place your right hand in the middle of your feet

  • Exhale and begin twisting to the left from the mid part of your spine

  • Reach your left arm up and align it with your bottom arm for a deeper twist

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Lower your left arm and return to the fold

  • Repeat on the other side

Staff Pose (Dandasana)

  • Take a seat and extend both legs out in front

  • Ground your sits bones down and lengthen your spine

  • Plant your palms by your hips

  • Point and flex your toes 3-5 times to increase circulation in your ankles and feet

  • Pause with your feet flexed and your toes toward the ceiling. Spread your toes wide

  • Inhale and reach your arms up over head, lengthening your spine

  • As you exhale, fold forward until you feel your hamstrings stretch, initiating the movement from your hips for a seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)

  • You can keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid straining your hamstrings

  • You can gently hold your calves, ankles or feet

  • Align your neck with the rest of your spine

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

Reclined Figure 4/Reclined Pigeon Pose (Supta Kapotasana)

  • Lay on your back

  • Bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground hip distance apart

  • Cross your right leg over your left leg

  • Flex your right foot to protect your knee

  • If you want to deepen the stretch, pick your left foot up off the ground and thread your arms through the center of the “4” shape. Clasp your hands around the back of your thigh

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Release the clasp of your hands and uncross your legs

  • Repeat on the other side

Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

  • Move toward a wall. Align one side of your body with the wall

  • Begin to gently lower your back down as you lift your legs up the wall

  • Place your arms on the ground with your palms facing up

  • You can stay in the pose for 10-15 minutes

How do you feel after adding movement into your day? Whether you’re on a business trip, on the road for a family get-together or exploring a tropical destination, I hope this sequence helps you find more comfort while traveling.

Interested in a longer practice during your trip? Send me a message in the contact form on the home page and we can set up a private Zoom session. I look forward to hearing from you.

Bon voyage,


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