Restorative Travel Yoga Routine
I am about a month in to my 6 month travel adventure and am becoming increasingly convinced of the power in the relationship between travel and yoga.
I’d walked the length of a marathon two days on the Galapagos Islands. On the third day, after a much needed shower, I flipped my head over to wrap a towel around my hair. As I did, my back seized up. I didn’t think I’d be able to stand straight up again. Yet, very slowly I rose to stand and realized my body was screaming for yoga.
I hadn’t practiced yoga yet in my week of travel. My body told me enough was enough. Obviously, my lower back was restricted, but I also noticed my already tight hips were even tighter. I knew that I needed to take care of my body so it could continue carrying me on this adventure, pain free.
Listening to the cues, I laid down on the bed for a restorative yoga routine. I used the knowledge gleaned from my yoga teacher training to choose poses to address the restricted areas. I also chose ones that promoted relaxation and simply felt good in my body.
About thirty minutes later, I arose from supta baddha konasana (reclined bound angle) to gauge its effect. Immediately I noticed my lower back pain was gone! I could easily bend over and rise to standing without discomfort. And my hips returned to their normal tightness levels!
Yoga is the best!
The following nights, upon returning from a day of sunshine, sea lions, and at least 10,000 steps, I’d complete the same routine. I looked forward to it as a way to unwind and reflect, while taking care of my body. I still complete this routine each night before drifting off to sleep.
Give it a try for yourself!
Perform each of these poses for three minutes (each side) for a full 30 minute restorative practice. It will prime your body for the next adventure.
We tend to bend forward, even slightly, the majority of the day. When traveling, this is even worse thanks to long bus trips. This is a great pose to gently counteract that. Begin laying on your stomach with legs extended. Press up to your elbows, bringing them underneath your shoulders. Keep your neck neutral and gaze just in front of your nose, or keep your eyes closed.
Ah, Child’s Pose. Perfect for relaxing, yet also for stretching the back body and opening the hips. Bring your knees wide, big toes together, and hips toward your heels. Extend your arms long in front of you, forehead on the bed. Close your eyes, soften your belly, and relax in this pose.
Fire Log Forward Fold
This is one of my favorite hip openers as it’s more gentle than pigeon, yet more intense than reclined pigeon. Bring your right shin in front of your left shin. Sit tall, inhale bring your arms overhead. As you exhale, fold forward. Letting the arms come long in front of you for support and your neck relaxed. Repeat this with the left shin in front of the right shin.
Call it what you’d like
I am really unsure of the name of this pose. I did it in a yoga class and just fell in love with it. It’s a gentle hip opener and great quad stretch. Laying on your belly, bend your left knee to 90 and bring it out side of your left hip. You can stay here in this pose. Or bend your right knee, reach back with your left hand to hold the right ankle. Keep your forehead resting on the bed or back of your hand. Repeat on the other side!
This pose is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I feel this opening the front and outer hip, at times my abdomen, and usually all the way up my side into the armpit. It’s luscious. Start laying on your back in a straight line. Bring your feet to the right and cross your left ankle over the right ankle. Keeping your hips where they are, bring your shoulders to the right. You can also bring arms overhead, making a banana shape with your body. When complete, return to a straight line, then shift everything to the left.
Twisting is great for alleviating tension in the spine. Additionally, I tend to feel this on my outer hips. Who am I kidding? I feel everything in my tight outer hips! Bring your knees into your chest, then drop them over to the right side. Your arms can come to a “T” or cactus shape. If it feels comfortable, you can look over the left shoulder to complete the twist. Then bring your knees into your chest again, and repeat on the opposite side.
Supta Baddha Konasana
From this twist it’s time for some ultimate relaxation. You can lay on your back in Supta Baddha Konasana (pictured below). Or, you can put your legs up the wall for about 10 minutes. Whichever option you choose will leave you feeling relaxed and ready for a night of deep sleep.
Release and Relax
Traveling takes a tole on our bodies. If we don’t address this and constantly keep pushing ourselves, eventually our bodies will respond loudly. Either by making us sick or injured. This yoga routine addresses many of the areas that hold tension while traveling.
I am in love with it! It is so simple to incorporate into my day and has been a great way to cultivate some quiet reflection into my travels. I hope that you find it beneficial as well! I’d love to hear how you implement it – leave me a comment about your experience!