Yoga for Road Trips: Roadside Yoga Sequence
I am not huge on flying. Airplanes have always scared the bejesus out of me. Plus airline travel can get expensive, especially with a child. So lately when we travel (my little fam and I) we have been driving. It's nice to see all the sights and get out periodically to experience nature. I came up with this little roadside yoga flow recently after having worked out the day before a car tripe and was feeling extra sore (thanks DOMS, haha). Every time we stopped I found it really hard to walk. It was also getting more and more uncomfortable in the car. I'm usually stretching a little each time I get out of the car or after a long plane ride so it seemed natural to do some yoga flow.
Exercise can help loosen up stiff muscles while relieving pain. Any type of travel makes the body stiff and tired, period. Yoga is perfect for sore or stiff muscles, along with relieving stress. After thinking through various yoga poses, I decided to draw from my experience teaching aqua yoga. I led an hour long class each week in the pool, with no supine poses or inversions. The following flow is what I came up with and it's pretty helpful.
On a recent 11 hour road trip, spread out over two days, I found this sequence to help whenever we stopped. When traveling through the mountains and high dessert areas the stops are mainly on the side of the road. Many times travel stops are less than hygienic. Public anything isn't ideal for doing a yoga flow without a mat or shoes and gloves. One of the best parts about this sequence is that it's easy to do without touching the ground!
The flow is made up of standing poses that will get the spine moving in all different directions while stretching the upper and lower half of the body that can get super tight while sitting for hours. The twisting poses are great for working out any spinal kinks and can relieve stomach irritation due to travel as well.
Even if you're flying or driving to a close destination where travel time is minimal, this roadside yoga sequence can help workout any tightness in the body. It is also helpful for energizing the mind which can be needed if you're the driver!
Roadside Yoga Sequence
Anuvittasana (Standing Back Bend): Stand in tadasana (mountain pose) with feet hip width or inner edges of the feet touching. Bring arms to the sides. Inhale reaching the arms up toward the sky, lengthening through the rib cage and pull the belly button toward the spine. Exhale reaching the arms and back. Reach the heart toward the sky keeping the length through the back of the rib cage. Hold a few breaths and return to tadasana.
Parivrtta Utkata Konasana (Goddess Twist): Step your feet apart and extend arms out to the sides. Ankles should be under the wrists, only if it feels alright on the legs and joints. Inhale bringing your hands to your upper thighs while turning the toes out slightly. Exhale bending your knees. Inhale sinking the hips down and exhale pressing the right arm straight, while twisting to the left. Inhale to the center, exhale extending the left arm and twisting the torso to the right.
Prasarita Padottanasana I (Wide Angle Forward Fold): From goddess pose, inhale straightening your legs and bring your hands to your hips. Turn the toes in so feet are parallel. Inhale your chest up while reaching the arms behind, interlacing the fingers. Put a slight bend in the knees and exhale bending at the hips to folding forward. Extend the arms and if it feels alright, reach the hands up toward the sky.
Parivrrta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair): Step the feet together, toes touching (alternatively you can step your feet apart, as wide as the inner thighs), inhale the arms up above your head. Exhale and bend your knees, sinking the hips and tailbone down. Pull your bellybutton toward your spine, exhale bringing the hands to heart center. On your next exhale, twist the torso to the right bringing the your left elbow toward the right knee. Keep the knees even (don't allow the left knee to pop out in front of the right) and hips low. Breathe here a few breaths, inhale to the center, exhale to the other side.
Eka Pada Utkatasana (Balanced Chair): From utkatasana, bring your weight onto the left leg, lift the right heel up. Once steady, inhale the right ankle to the left knee. Exhale and site deeper, pressing the right knee down (without using your hands). Keep the arms above the head or inhale the palms together, exhale bending your elbows and bringing hands to heart center. Hold a few breaths, inhale to come back to standing. Repeat on the second side.
Gomukhasana (Eagle Pose): Come back to utkatasana. Balance on the left leg, inhale and lift the right knee toward the chest. Exhale crossing the right leg over the left (can stay here or wrap the right foot around the left calf) and site deeper if you can. Inhale the arms out to the sides, exhale crossing the right arm under the left arm. From here you can grab the opposite shoulders with the hands or bring the backs of the hands together or keep wrapping the arms and bring the palms to touch. Lift the elbows to shoulder height and breathe into the space between the shoulder blades. Switch sides when ready.
Ardha Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose): From tadasana (mountain pose), step the right leg back a few feet (not as wide as you would for warrior I). Inhale the arms up above your head, exhale bending the elbows and either grabbing opposite elbows or bring your palms together (reverse namaste) behind your back. Inhale your chest up, keeping your bellybutton toward your spine. Exhale and hinge forward from the hips. Keep the hips square and pointing forward. Alternatively you can release the arms and bring them to the front shin or top of the foot. Take a few breaths here and switch sides, starting from tadasana and stepping the left leg back.
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon): Start in tadasana (mountain pose), bringing the weight to the left leg. Inhale the arms up above your head and on the exhale, hinge forward while lifting the right leg back behind coming into warrior III. Pause here keeping the right hip bone pointing down. Inhale and extend out through the crown of the head and extended right heel. Exhale bringing the right hand down while twisting the torso to the left. If you feel comfortable bringing the right hand to the earth do so, use a water bottle under the hand or float the right fingers above the ground. Take a few breaths, inhale to unwind and come back to tadasana. Do the same on the second side.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.