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The 3 Best Yoga Poses for Jet Lag

Posted by Zoë Kors

 

Nothing puts a damper on traveling more than a bad case of jet lag. Whether you’re needing to be sharp as a tack for an important meeting or presentation, or trying to get the most out of a spectacular vacation destination, the brain fog that comes from crossing times zones is counterproductive.

 

There are a few proactive ways to minimize the effects of flying, hydration is one of them. Down at least 64oz. of water the day before you fly. Don’t drink it all at once, though. It’s important to spread it out throughout the day so your body can properly process and absorb it. On the day that you fly, drink 8oz. for every hour you are in the air.

 

 

Another way to strategically combat jet lag is to start shifting your sleep patterns gradually in the week leading up to your trip. For instance, if you live on the west coast and you are traveling to the east coast, shift your bed time and waking time a few minutes earlier each day during the week. By the time you arrive at your destination, you’ll almost have adjusted to the new time zone.

 

After you have arrived at your destination, an excellent opportunity for mitigating jet lag exists in a few simple yoga poses. No need to be intimidated, these are easy, gentle poses that anyone can accomplish in the privacy of your hotel room. If you don’t have a yoga mat, simply lay a bath towel on the floor.

 

We recommend you do them 2-3 times a day for the first 3 days of your trip.

 

 

Supine Thread the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

Benefits:

Supine Thread the Needle Pose reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. It stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, lower back, and inner thighs, which often tighten on a long flight. This pose also relaxes the body and calms the mind, which in turn encourages restorative sleep.

 

Instructions:

  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs straight out and your arms resting by your sides.
  2. Bend your knees, and keep the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Separate your feet so that they are wide apart from your hips. Keep your thighs parallel to each other.
  4. Straighten and raise your left as you extending your heel to the ceiling.
  5. Bend your left knee and cross fold your left ankle over your right knee. Bring your left outer ankle to the outside of your right knee so that your foot hovers in the air.
  6. Keep your left foot flexed.
  7. As you exhale, pull your right knee close to your chest. Now, slide your left hand and forearm through the space between your legs. Clasp your both hands around the back of your right thigh.
  8. Your back should be flat on the floor. Slide your shoulder blades down your back and open your chest, spreading your collarbones.
  9. Keep your sacrum and tailbone flat against the floor and lengthen your spine.
  10. Gently lower your chin against your chest and cast your eyes down to the center line of your body. Remain in the pose about one minute and breathe evenly and smoothly.
  11. As you exhale, lower your leg and place your right foot on the ground. Raise your left leg straight up to the roof again, and then bend your knee and put your left foot on the ground.
  12. Repeat the same steps with your opposite leg.

Advisory:
Do not perform this pose if pregnant, or if you have knee, spinal, or lower back injury. Breathe deeply with every step. Keep your tailbone or shoulders on the floor.

 

Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Benefits:

Supported Shoulder Stand stimulates the circulatory system, increasing blood flow specifically to the head, neck and shoulders. This stimulates the brain, and also the thyroid gland, which stabilizes the metabolism in the cross-time-zone-adjustment. This pose also facilitates the delivery of oxygen deep into the lungs. Finally, it helps to regulate the digestive system and reduces the risk of constipation.

 

Instructions:

  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs straight out and your arms resting by your sides.
  1. Take a deep inhalation and on the exhalation, lift your both legs in the upward direction.
  2. Stop at that point when both legs are a 90-degree angle with the floor.
  3. While exhaling, lift your waist; push your legs back over the head.
  4. Use your both hands for supporting waist.
  5. Raise your legs so they are in one straight line with your back, and waist.
  6. Stretch your toes towards the sky, keeping your eye gaze on your toes.
  7. Hold the position keep normal breathing.
  8. Slowly return to original position.
  9. Repeat 3 times

Advisory:
Do not perform this pose if you have disc injury, high blood pressure, or middle ear condition that effects your balance.

 

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Benefits:

Happy Baby Pose opens the hips and sacrum, which often stiffen up after sitting in an airplane seat for an extended period of time. It also relaxes the chest and shoulders, which increases oxygen intake. This pose also soothes the autonomic nervous system which helps to adjust to a new environment and sleep schedule.

 

Instructions:

  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs straight out and your arms resting by your sides.
  2. Breathe in and raise your both legs up and bring your both knees closer to your chest.
  3. Grab the outsides of your feet. Ensure your arms are pulled through the inner parts of your knees as you hold your feet. Slowly open up your hips and legs legs for a gentle stretch.
  4. Lower your chin to your chest while keeping the back of your head touching the floor.
  5. Lower your tailbone and sacrum to the floor at same time as you press your heels up and pull back with your arms.
  6. Keep your back of the neck and the shoulders touching the floor, as well as your whole spine and lower back.
  7. Breathe naturally and hold the stance for 30-60 seconds.
  8. Exhale as you release your arms and legs; rest on the floor for a few moments.
  9. Repeat 3 times.

Advisory:
Do not perform this pose if you are pregnant or if you have a neck or knee injury.

 

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