5 Best Travel Yoga Poses
You can do (Practically) Anywhere to Energize
This week, we’ll introduce 5 of our recommended travel yoga poses. In the weeks to come, we’ll break down each posture and provide more information—so stay tuned and check back every Wednesday!
Even the most well-seasoned yogi(ni)’s can feel a bit… awkward… when taking their practice off of the mat and into public settings. For many people, there’s something deeply intimate about a yoga practice. There’s also a pretty big difference between practicing yoga in an established group setting (i.e. yoga studio, gym, etc.) versus any ol’ public place (i.e. the airport terminal or lobby of your hotel and other travel yoga locations).
The following five poses are versatile (modify and alter as necessary), accessible (whether you’ve been practicing yoga or not!), and relatively discrete (can be done in various outfits and in numerous settings). They’re perfect for a travel yoga practice. However, we recommend practicing these shapes initially at home or in a studio setting before taking them to the streets. Listen to your body—if a shape doesn’t feel good (pain is a different sensation then a releasing stretch), don’t do it. And as always, be sure to get your doctor’s approval before starting any new exercise routine.
Travel Yoga: The Truth about Taking your Practice to Foreign Territory
Despite the popularized view yoga, amplified through social media lenses, most yogi(ni)’s are not practicing yoga to boast, gloat, or condescend. Additionally, yoga isn’t just about instagram-worthy shapes. A simple seated position, performed with intention, is just as much of a yoga pose as any intimidating arm balance. Taking your practice out of the comfortable public setting of a studio or the privacy of your own home is scary. However, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes to reclaim your power from the fear you once felt so strongly.
Once you’ve developed a steady practice, your body craves the asanas—particularly when you’ve been cooped up on a flight or ride for extended periods of time. Even if you haven’t yet developed a regular yoga practice, doesn’t it feel so good to stretch your limbs after you exit the cabin? But many of us feel restricted in our ability to move our bodies freely in unfamiliar territory.
Maybe you have the skillset and knowledge of which shapes provide specific benefits, but lack the confidence to execute them, solo, in the company of others. Maybe you aren’t yet equipped with those tools. Either way, rest assured that with practice, these five travel yoga poses are accessible, easy to practice, and fairly discrete while still being beneficial.
Regardless of where you’re at with your personal yoga practice, it’s important to remember that yoga is just that: a practice, never a performance. You have no control over how other people may interpret your spontaneous, public bouts of yoga, but that really doesn’t matter.
Yoga is about connecting more deeply with yourself through your worldly senses. It’s an opportunity to be playful and curious for our short time on planet Earth. If others are curious about your practice, they’ll ask questions. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a life-long friendship from a conversation that was sparked by your airport-practice. Long live the curious—for they shall have adventures.
If you’re a curious adventurer, looking for your next immersion and opportunity to practice travel yoga, join us in our upcoming retreat to Dominical, Costa Rica! Learn more about the beautiful beach town of Dominical here.
Travel Yoga Pose #1: Standing Backbend
Backbends are inherently energizing. They help to open the chest and strengthen the spine. Even a small backbend, performed correctly, will help give you a quick mood-booster and keep your spine healthy. If you only practice one of our travel yoga poses, this is the one we highly recommend.
Travel Yoga Pose #2: Chair Pose
This posture is fierce: anyone who’s taken a class where their instructor guides them through chair for more than 5 breaths knows what I’m talking about. Who would have guessed holding a static squat while breathing would be so challenging? It was also news to me when I read that chair pose is meant to be a fierce pose. The Sanskrit naming of chair pose is utkatasana. Utkata loosely translates to fierce or difficult (and asana to pose). This shape must be done mindfully, or you’ll risk countering the brag worthy benefits it possesses.
Travel Yoga Pose #3: Upward-Facing Dog
Upward-facing dog is a juicy , belly-down spinal lengthening posture that also opens the chest and stretches the abdominal muscles. This posture is integral in movement-based yoga classes that incorporate chaturanga dandasana (a tricep pushup)—it directly proceeds the tricep pushup, and precedes downward-facing dog.
Travel Yoga Pose #4: Half Lord of the Fishes
This luscious twist can be oh-so-subtle in public, depending on where you’re sitting. Twists work to reset your spine and are fabulous companions while traveling. Additionally, twists gently massage your internal organs. Half Lord of the Fishes adds in an element of compression between your inner thigh and belly to further stimulate your internal organs. If bending your knee in isn’t an option where you are (or due to what you’re wearing) you can omit that aspect of the pose and still receive majority of the twist’s benefits.
Travel Yoga Pose #5: Gate Pose
How could such a “stretchy” posture possible be energizing? Well, for starters, gate pose targets the muscles and fascia along your side bodies. Chances are, you’ve built up some cobwebs in this area. It’s not a commonly worked body region: we rarely come into side flexion throughout our day-to-day lives.
Through gate pose, you begin chipping away at the build-up of your side-body connective tissue. This promotes blood flow and stimulates oxygenated blood to regions it isn’t used to inhabiting—resulting in a boost of energy, bazing!
What are your favorite travel yoga poses? We’re always looking to improve and revise content. Comment below or tag us on social media with your favorite travel yoga poses to energize.