Five Yoga Poses You Can Do While Traveling

Take these poses on the train, plane, or automobile.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, odds are you’ll spend a lot of time sitting and/or standing in line. You might be surprised at the toll such passive activities can take on your body. To relieve tension in your hips, neck, and back, take these five yoga poses with you to the airport, train station, or bus terminal.

Each stretch can be done discreetly—no eyeballs turning your way, we promise—in your seat or during a layover. Don’t believe us? We put our money where our mouth is and tested these moves in an Iceland airport.

Neck Stretch

Find a comfortable seat, with your feet planted and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Make sure your spine is straight, then dip your chin toward your chest. To add more weight, interlace your fingers behind your head and let your elbows drop along your cheeks. Do not push your chin lower with your arm strength; simply let gravity do the work.

Seated Cat/Cow

Start in the same position as the neck stretch. Place your hands on your knees. As you breathe in, arch your back and lift your chest up. As you breathe out, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest. Move through several cycles of breath to loosen the spine.

Seated Spinal Twist

Cross your right leg over your left, keeping your left foot planted. Place your right hand next to you. Sit up straight and breathe in. On an exhale, twist to the right and bring your left hand outside your right knee. Take several breaths here, twisting deeper on every exhale. Switch to the other side.

Seated Figure Four

This one is important. Stretching the hips after long bouts of sitting or standing will make you feel a lot better later.

Start seated, with both legs bent at 90 degrees and both feet planted. Bring your right ankle to your lower left thigh. Flex your right foot and place your left hand on it. Place your right hand on the right knee and lean forward, leading with your heart. Take several deep breaths. Switch sides.

Eagle Arms

Carrying a backpack or purse builds tension in your upper back and shoulders, while sitting and napping in weird positions brings a lot of stress to the neck. Eagle arms relieves a lot of that.

Create a wrap with your arms by hooking the right arm under the left. Cross again at the wrists and hook your hands, if possible. Lift your elbows up to shoulder height and send your arms away from your face. To add on, round your back, let your elbows come to your chest, and let your hands fall away with gravity. Hold either or both positions for several breaths before switching arms.

Note: If you’re too tight to wrap fully, cross your right arm under your left and place you hands on opposite shoulders. Breathe deeply here, and play with lifting the elbows to shoulder height or dropping your chin toward your chest.