Airport Yoga: 10 Tips for Travelers

Eirinn Norrie
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It had been a long, twenty-four hours of traveling before I ended up in Newark Liberty International Airport, waiting for my final flight. I sat slumped into one of those extremely uncomfortable plastic chairs, wishing I was already home. Suddenly a man a few seats over started doing yoga in the middle of the airport, with people all around staring at him.
 
“Look at that man,” I said to my mum. “I can’t believe he’s doing yoga in an airport. That’s ridiculous.” Of course, I should have realized that karma was going to bite me in the butt. I quickly remembered why you should never scoff at anyone doing yoga (or anyone in general!) The next day I ached from neck to toes.
 
I was as stiff as an ironing board. I declared that I would never turn my nose up at someone doing yoga in the airport again. Airport-yoga-doers are the smartest travelers out there. Ever since that day, I’ve been transformed into an airport yogi. It’s made traveling much more comfortable, and a huge thank you goes out to that man – he has changed my life. I will never judge anyone doing yoga, no matter where they are doing it. And I will never let traveling get me sore, and now hopefully, neither will you.

“I will never judge anyone doing yoga, no matter where they are doing it.”

Here are examples of doing yoga or stretching in an airport or an airplane, whether you desire to sneakily stretch or are 100% comfortable whipping out a yoga mat in between gates. Stretching and doing yoga in the airport will keep your limbs moving, relax your nerves, and remind you that traveling doesn’t have to be a sore and uncomfortable experience.
 

Here are some simple yoga poses yoga can do at an airport:

 
1. Roll it out. Roll your wrists, ankles, and your neck slowly. Traveling comes with so much sitting— on the plane, in the airport, in taxis— it’s exhausting! Keep moving even when you have to be sitting by isolating specific parts of your body to roll. Work your way from your toes all the way up to your head, and then back down again.
 
2. Mountain pose. This position is rather deceiving because to the non-yogi, it looks like you are simply standing. This is great if you don’t want others to know you are doing yoga. During this pose you are conscious of your frame, posture, and breathing, which tells your nervous system that you can relax and release excess tension.
 
3. Tree pose. This simple position will allow you to work on your balance and focus as you stand on one leg. It does not take up a lot of space, making it perfect for airports. You can even do it while standing in line for a coffee.
 
4. Boat pose. This pose is deceiving, as it looks easy yet is a fantastic abs workout. After sitting for so long, it will feel amazing to engage your core and get some exercise!
 

 
5. Cobra pose. You’ll feel the stress melt from your body during this pose. It will help loosen parts of your body that get tense on flights, particularly your neck, shoulders, and upper spine. Plus, it is a great follow-up to boat pose to stretch out those firm abs!
 
6. Warrior 1, 2 and 3. You can hold this pose for ten seconds or ten minutes, but either way you will feel the results. Warrior helps you connect to your power, which you’ll find invigorating and refreshing after countless tiring hours of travel.
 
7. Camel pose. This pose doesn’t take up a lot of space, meaning that it is perfect for the traveler! It can be felt in so many parts of your body— your back, your arms, your neck, your ankles, your thighs— making it an incredible pose to do for someone who is lugging heavy bags and sitting cooped up for hours at a time.
 
8. Forward Fold. Whether sitting down or standing up, leaning over to touch your toes is never a bad idea. Forward folds help increase your flexibility and will loosen and lengthen your body, which is why they are such an effective counter-stretch to sitting.
 
9. Standing side stretch. Completely underrated, the standing side stretch feels amazing. Plus, it is such a normal stretch for people to do that it won’t draw any weird stares. Don’t forget to reach your hand outwards for maximum stretch!
 
10. Meditation. The airport buzz can get overwhelming. Block it all out by closing your eyes and finding your center. Focus on deep breathing and those long hours of travel will become a lot easier to handle.
 
It’s becoming more and more common for airports to have yoga rooms installed in their facilities. San Francisco was the first airport to introduce this brilliant notion, and Burlington Vermont, along with Dallas-Fort Worth have followed suite.
 
Clearly, airports are realizing that yoga is one of the most beneficial ways to ease traveling tolls on your body. So now it’s simply up to you— you can take control your traveling experience. And if you ever see a small, dirty-blonde woman in Newark Liberty rocking these yoga poses, come over and join me, because two people doing yoga in an airport is far better than one!
 

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Eirinn Norrie

Eirinn Norrie is a writer and martial artist. She has a passion for traveling the world, and enjoys crocheting, reading, cooking, and finding new and interesting ways to work out. She loves tae kwon do, partner yoga, and online abs videos.

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