With cramped modes of transport, irregular sleeping and eating, and toting luggage, travel can take its toll on the body, leading to pain in the neck, shoulder, lower back and hips. Luckily, “simple self-massage techniques and yoga poses can help alleviate pain by keeping joints lubricated and improving circulation in your body,” explains yoga guru Brenda Blanco, a brand ambassador for Shea Moisture and Lululemon. We asked Blanco to show us easy yoga-style techniques to help tackle a variety of travel-related woes.
1. Hip Opener
On the train or at the airport, sit comfortably and cross your left leg over right thigh. Holding onto the sides of the seat, inhale as you open your chest and exhale as you fold forward over the crossed legs. Take at least three breath cycles here, then repeat on the other side.
2. Digestion Twist
In addition to stretching muscles, this yoga move helps improve digestion. Find a seat, then place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and your right hand behind you on the chair. Inhale as you lengthen your spine; exhale as you press into both hands and open your chest towards the side wall, gazing over your shoulder. Hold for three breath cycles, repeat on the other side.
3. Shoulder Shrug
Work out carry-on kinks with this shoulder-relaxer. While sitting or standing, lace fingers in front of you and reach arms overhead. Inhale as you shrug your shoulders towards your ears; exhale as you gently relax shoulders down. Hold at the end position for three breath cycles, then release.
4. Headache Help
When lack of sleep, airport drama, or that crying baby in row 23 has got you rubbing your temples, turn to your left hand, instead. Locate the top of the webbing between thumb and index finger, apply medium pressure on that point with the tip of your right thumb; keep the pressure even for at least 10 breath cycles.
5. Toe Stretch
Whether you’re exploring a new city or hitting the outdoors, your feet may ache at the end of the day. Sit comfortably and cross your left leg over your right thigh, then place the fingers of your right hand between the toes of the left foot. Use your hand to slowly stretch toes forward and back, 10 times; repeat on the other foot.
Work Out Tips Wherever You Are
• Stretch ankles or an achy neck with slow, circular movements while seated; great for when you’re stuck in the middle seat
• Adapt your favorite yoga poses for the hotel room. Use a bath towel as a mat or bring a foldable travel yoga mat with you. With a towel or mat in hand, you can practice your own simple routine or follow a free YouTube yoga video on your iPad
• Kimpton Hotels offer a free yoga mat and fitness programs in every room to help you work out the kinks. kimptonhotels.com
• Download Lululemon’s free Om Finder app, which helps located a local yoga class wherever you are.
To help boost circulation, detoxification and the immune system—all key when traveling—try this Ayurvedic-style self-massage in the a.m., ideally before showering. Warm a bottle of body oil under the tap (Blanco suggests Shea Moisture Bath, Body & Massage Oil in Olive & Green Tea), then massage oil into the body, top-down, in gentle, circular movements. End with extra time on the feet, hitting both top and soles.