There’s nothing worse than sitting for hours in an uncomfortable airport. Sitting still for long periods is hard for everyone, particularly yogis. Unless you’re in a comfortable meditation posture, sitting can quickly become uncomfortable. If you’re dealing with a long layover, get your body moving with a series of easy yoga poses. As well as avoiding discomfort, practising yoga is a great way to use the time in a way that benefits your health.
The following sequence is ideal to practice whilst you’re waiting for your connecting flight. Not only will the postures make you feel great, but they’re also super easy to practice at the airport. If possible, find a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle and get stuck in. If you want to improve your focus, pop in your noise-cancelling headphones and concentrate on your breathing. The length of time between your flights will determine how long you hold each asana for. However, we recommend practising each one for at least 30 seconds if possible. If your flight gets delayed, run through the sequence a second time to maximise the benefits.
In this article, we explore yoga at the airport: 5 poses for a long layover. For ease of movement, throw on a pair of joggers or yoga pants before getting stuck in.
Begin the sequence with Warrior Pose. To practice the asana, stand on your mat with your feet directly beneath your hips. Step your right foot forward until your feet are around 4 feet apart. With your palms facing down, raise your arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor. Next, turn your left foot out to the left by 90 degrees while keeping your right foot facing forward. Your left and right heel should now be aligned. Next, bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping your shin perpendicular to the ground. Draw your left leg backward until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your shoulders should remain directly above the hips. Pressing your tailbone forward slightly, turn your head to the left and gaze over your fingers. You are in Warrior Pose. Hold the posture for around 45 seconds whilst breathing deeply to deepen the stretch.
To practice Dolphin Pose, begin on all fours. With your knees set directly beneath your hips, bring your forearms down to the floor with your shoulders above your hands. Once in position, touch your palms together whilst keeping your forearms on the floor. Next, curl your toes under and gently lift your knees away from the ground. Begin to lengthen your tailbone and lift your bottom towards the ceiling. Your body should now form an upside-down ‘V’ shape. At this stage, beginners may find it easier to keep their knees slightly bent. Keeping your forearms pressed firmly into the floor, engage your shoulder blades by drawing them towards your back. It’s important to not let your head hang aimlessly when in this position; instead, support it between your upper arms. You are now in Dolphin Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds before bringing your knees back down to the floor.
The best thing about Forward Bend is that it can be practised anywhere. To begin, stand tall your with feet directly below your hips. When you’re ready, begin to fold forward at the waist. If you can place your hands on the ground – great! If not, that’s fine. Just bring them as close to the ground as possible. You are in Forward Bend. To make the position a little easier, try bending slightly at the knees. To release tension in the shoulders, clasp your hands behind your back and slowly bring them over your head. Hold the posture for around 30 seconds before returning to an upright position.
Garland Pose is another easy yoga pose for a long layover. To practice Garland Pose, stand tall with your feet directly beneath your hips. Keeping your spine straight, draw your hips back and down as if you’re sitting in a chair. You are in Garland Pose. For best results, bring your hips as low as you can without bending your spine. If you’re struggling with the pose, try placing a rolled-up towel beneath your heels to stop them from lifting off the ground.
The final pose in the sequence is Wide-Legged Straddle. To practice the asana, sit down with your legs apart. Once you’re comfortable, separate your legs as much as you can. Keeping your knees straight and toes pointing towards the ceiling, place your hands out in front of you. Next, slowly lower your upper body towards the mat. If necessary, rest your hands on the floor for support. Finally, ensure that your back is straight. You are now in Wide-Legged Straddle. Hold the asana for around 15 seconds before releasing the stretch and repeating the process. For best results, repeat 5 times.
So, there you have it – yoga at the airport: 5 poses for a long layover. For best results, find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted. If you like to use noise-cancelling headphones, pop them in! Just make sure you don’t miss any important announcements. If you’re flying alone, you might prefer to wait until you’re at the gate to practice. That way, you can keep an eye on any boarding announcements or last-minute changes.
For tension relief and a much-needed boost of energy, run through the yoga sequence above. If you’ve got time to change into a yoga top and pants – great! If not, any loose clothing will do the trick.