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Relieve Jet Lag and Get Back to Normal With These 8 Yoga Poses

Jillian Halliday
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The jet lag struggle is real. Jet lag is a sleep problem affecting those traveling across time zones – most often when traveling eastbound. Research shows cabin pressure and high altitudes can also be to blame for those foggy, dazed and confused sensations.
 
Jet lag temporarily causes trouble concentrating, bloated bellies, mood swings, fatigue, and disturbances in sleep patterns.
 
Whether you’re on your way to a yoga retreat or to visit friends and family, don’t let the struggles of jet lag kill your vibe. Help your mind and body recover quickly with these eight yoga poses.
 
Wondering how you can tell if it’s time for a retreat? Read 9 Warning Signs That It’s Time for a Yoga Retreat
 

Practice these 8 yoga poses to ease your jet lag troubles:

Reclaim control of your mind and body by incorporating yoga into your daily routine during your adventures. Being cramped up in tiny airplane seats can cause your muscles to be tighter than usual. Some of these poses will require yoga props like straps etc, but if you didn’t bring any don’t stress!
 

Yoga relaxes the body and calms the mind, helping you recover from the high-flying pains of jet lag.

 
Look around your hotel room or Airbnb and get creative with the items you have. A long towel can be used in place of a yoga strap, a pillow folded in half can replace a bolster, and your suitcase, water bottle, or a stack of books can stand in for a yoga block.
 
Don’t want to wait until you’ve reached your destination to begin your yoga sesh? Check out 9 Yoga Poses to Practice on an Airplane for a list of postures you can do during your flight!
 

1. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Camel Pose is great for jet lag recovery because it invigorates the mind and helps reduce anxiety. Practice this pose to lift your spirit and boost your mood.
 
Camel-Pose
 
How to practice Ustrasana:

  • Kneel with your hips stacked above your knees
  • Rest your hands on your lower back with fingers facing down, as if you were going to put something in your back pocket
  • Press your palms in and downward on the top of your pelvis to lengthen your spine
  • Gently press your hips forward as you lean backwards to reach a comfortable bend in your upper and middle back
  • To deepen your stretch, reach down to grasp the back of your heels and continue pressing your hips forward to arch your back
  • Hold for 10-12 breaths

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Keep your gaze up toward the ceiling and your neck comfortably extended
  • Only go as deep into this pose as your body will safely allow. Any crunching in the low back or painful sensations are indicators to back out
  • Tuck your toes under your feet to elevate your heels for a more comfortable stretch

 
 

2. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Cow Face Pose opens your chest, shoulders, and hips – all parts of the body that suffer from long hours spent sitting in a cramped airplane seat. Practice it to become more grounded after being up in the air all day.
 
Cow-Face-Pose
 
How to practice Gomukhasana:

  • Sit in a cross legged position with your right leg closer to your body
  • Slide both knees to the center of the mat, stacking your left knee over your right
  • Place your outer ankles against the mat with your feet flexed and parallel to the long edge of your mat
  • Raise your left arm to the ceiling and bend your elbow, reaching your fingers behind you toward your upper/middle back
  • With your right elbow bent, reach your right arm behind you with your right fingertips reaching to meet your left fingertips behind your back
  • If possible, clasp your hands together against your back. If that’s not happening today, hold your yoga strap behind your back
  • If you need a deeper stretch, start to lean your chest forward over your knees
  • Hold for 8-10 breaths on each side

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Sit on a blanket, block, or bolster to elevate the hips for more comfort
  • Keep your feet flexed to protect your knee joints
  • Avoid letting your chest collapse in by keeping your shoulders pulling down away from your ears and your top elbow in line with or behind your ear. If your shoulders are hunched forward, that’s an indication to use your strap today

 
 

3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Bridge Pose will give you an energizing boost whenever you’re recovering from a moody jet lag spell. The pose helps to lower blood pressure, relieving stress with a therapeutic feeling.
 
Bridge-Pose
 
How to practice Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:

  • Lie flat on your back with your feet planted on the mat, knees pointed up
  • Place your hands on either side of your bottom with palms facing down
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the mat to lift your hips and chest towards the sky
  • Hold for 10-12 breaths

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Keep your neck, specifically your cervical spine, safe by slightly lifting your chin away from your chest (imagine having a lemon between your chin and your sternum)
  • Place a yoga block or bolster under your tailbone for a more comfy, restorative stretch

 

 

4. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Happy Baby Pose fights jet lag by calming the mind and reducing stress. Practicing it will release tension in the legs, back, and groin after being cramped in tight spaces on long flights.
 
Happy-Baby-Pose
 
How to practice Ananda Balasana:

  • Lie flat on your back and hug your knees into your chest
  • Allow your knees to fall to the outside of your ribcage and grab onto the inner or outer blades of your feet
  • Pull your feet downward as if you’re trying to kiss the floor with your thighs
  • Flex your feet to protect your knee joints and rock gently side to side to massage your spine
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Keep your shoulders pressed down on your mat and away from your ears
  • Keep your ankles stacked directly above your knees
  • Keep your tailbone on your mat to lengthen your spine

 
 

5. Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Reclined Big Toe Pose awakens and lengthens hamstring muscles that are stiff due to sitting for long periods of time.
 
Reclined-Big-Toe-Pose
 
How to practice Supta Padangusthasana:

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs extended
  • Draw your right knee to your chest and loop a strap around your right foot
  • Press your left thigh down into the mat and flex through your left foot
  • Gradually extend your right leg towards the ceiling until your arms are straight
  • Hold for 8-10 breaths on each side

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Keep your shoulders pressed down and away from your ears
  • Keep both feet flexed at all times to protect your knees and deepen the stretch
  • Know that your knee on your extended leg may stay slightly bent today – and that’s ok!
  • If you’re not getting the stretch you need with the strap, skip it! Instead use your first two peace fingers to grab your big toe

 
 

6. Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Your hips will be tighter than usual from sitting in the same position for long periods of time. Reclined Butterfly Pose gently stretches those tight hips and helps your blood circulate, making you feel rejuvenated.
 
Reclinded-Butterfly-Pose
 
How to practice Supta Baddha Konasana:

  • Sit in an upright position with your legs extended out in front of you
  • Bend your knees outward and draw the soles of your feet together to create a diamond shape. The closer your heels are to your pelvis, the deeper the stretch will be
  • Lean back until you’re resting on your mat, and tuck your pelvis to lengthen your spine
  • Hold your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your lower belly to help your mind focus on your breath
  • Hold for 1-5 minutes

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • While laying flat, be sure to maintain the natural curve of your spine. This means your shoulders will rest on your mat while your low back may lift slightly off of your mat
  • For a deeper chest opening, rest with a bolster or folded blanket along the length of your spine
  • Focus on your breath to keep your body and thoughts relaxed

 
 

7. Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Practice Supine Spinal Twist Pose when jet lag has you feeling irregular from stress or perhaps . . . airplane food. This pose detoxifies your organs, encouraging fresh blood flow and increasing the function of your digestive system.
 
Supine-Spinal-Twist-Pose
 
How to practice Supta Matsyendrasana:

  • Lie flat on your back with your arms in a T position and legs extended
  • Hug your right knee into your chest, and then guide it over and across your left leg
  • Gently try to guide your right knee to the floor. If it’s more comfortable, place a block or bolster under your right knee to bring the ground to you
  • Place your left palm on your right knee and your right palm down on the mat
  • Gaze to the right, looking towards your outstretched fingertips
  • Hold for 8-10 breaths on each side

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Initiate the twist at your navel by keeping your core softly activated
  • With each exhale, allow gravity to pull your top knee closer to the mat
  • Keep your shoulders evenly pressed down on the mat, pulling them away from your ears and the points of your shoulder blades together

 
For more poses that promote healthy digestion, check out 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Belly Bloat and Promote Digestion.
 
 

8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Kick jet lag in the a**! Practice Corpse Pose to quiet the mind and prepare the body for a restful sleep at any time of day. This is really helpful with adjusting to different time zones.
 
Savasana-Pose
 
How to practice Savasana:

  • Lie flat on your back in a comfortable, quiet environment with no disturbances. This might mean you grab a blanket and some ear plugs
  • Relax your arms and legs completely and let them fall heavily onto either side of your body
  • Allow your palms to face up in a receiving gesture and allow your feet to relax out to either side
  • Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply
  • Gradually scan your body for any sensations, acknowledge them and then let the thought or sensation go
  • Hold for 10-30 minutes

 
Find Proper Alignment:

  • Lengthen your tailbone towards your feet, away from your shoulders
  • Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears
  • Keep your forehead relaxed and your jaw unclenched

 
Want to add a guided meditation to amp up your Savasana? Read Meet the Welzen App – Your 21st Century Meditation Guru
 

Jet Lag, Shmet Shmag

Irritability, trouble sleeping, bloated bellies – let’s be real, if jet lag had a face, well . . . it wouldn’t be a pretty one. When we travel our bodies suffer from these uncomfortable jet lag symptoms and more, making even the most experienced travelers feel out of whack. Let these yoga poses come to your rescue to beat jet lag and get on with your adventure!
 

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Jillian Halliday

Jillian is a Business Administration and Management Graduate with a passion for all things health and wellness. Growing up, she learned natural and holistic ways for overall health and healing and has since continued to incorporate these practices into her everyday life. She’s an exercise junkie, book worm, creative writer, and yoga enthusiast.

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