T'was the flight before christmas…

T'was the flight before christmas…

A Mindful Guide to Merry Travel - By Andrea Marcum

Reading time: 4 minutes

Twas the flight before Christmas, and from early check-in to final approach you feel your inner Scrooge stirring, in need of a holiday coach. But before you shout at small children or strangle your mate, here is a body/mind/spirit crosscheck to get your New Year wig on straight:

 Namaste-stay-away: Skip heavy and hard-to-digest food for 24 hours prior. Even some healthy foods can make you gaseous (hi there broccoli and cauliflower!), so consume with care. Caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol will dehydrate you and magnify the unfortunate effects of the pressurized cabin.

 Inhale & Exhale: Take the stairs instead of the escalator—a ten-minute walk around the airport will enhance your in-flight circulation. Getting your heart beating faster transports oxygen rich blood to your muscles and improves cellular respiration, even while you’ve got your seatbelt securely fastened.

 Cruising Altitude Yoga: In your seat, interlace your hands under your thigh and ease your knee and forehead towards each other (not one to do during beverage and meal service.) As your back rounds, feel the space created between those poor vertebrae that are compressed from sitting in one position. Hold for a few breaths and then switch sides.

Don’t skip the hips: Cross your right ankle on top of your left ankle and let your right knee fall to the side a bit for a hip stretch. More flexible people can place their right ankle on top of their left knee. Hold each side for about 30 seconds.

Wander the cabin When the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign make your way to the galley. Using one hand against the wall for balance, rise up onto your toes, then lower your heels back down to the ground 10 times to get the circulation back into your calf muscles. If you’re able to find enough stability, stand on one leg, bend the opposite knee, heel towards your butt and clasp your foot for a stretch on the front of your thigh (think standing hurdler’s stretch). Hold each side for approximately 30 seconds.

With A Twist: Sit tall, and hold the armrests, twist cautiously to one side for five breaths and then to the other. Enjoy the release in your spine and the fact that you might even be wringing out a bah humbug or two. And for a whole other twist, consider traveling with lemon or peppermint oil. Put a few drops in your palms, rub your hands together and cup your hands in front of your nose breathing deeply. I use this all the time to combat motion sickness and to feel refreshed and renewed.

More Mindful Movement: Once you’ve deplaned, even if you feel exhausted or jet lagged, try to take that 10-minute walk again to get your metabolism and circulation going... On Dancer! On Prancer! (I know, forgive me)... For meals, opt for reindeer food like salads and green veggies to help move toxins and fluids through you. Green and Dandelion teas* are natural diuretics and will help decrease water retention.

Turn It Upside Down: Once you’ve landed, find a quiet place to lie on your back and elevate your legs up a wall for ten minutes in Viparita Karani. Being seated upright with your feet on the ground for so long can create pressure in your leg veins and cause fluids to collects in the soft tissue.

Soak In Serenity: Draw a warm bath with Epsom salts*, sprinkle some lavender* or sandalwood oil in the water to wash away the soreness and fumes -- as if trading in agitated airplane wings for a mirthful mermaid’s tail.

Consider these tips your blissful boarding pass as you transcend times zones, survive your stopovers and breathe through delays. Calming your internal turbulence can make for a more tranquil takeoff and a lighter landing. And infusing your travel plans with mindful-movement, good sense and good scents just might add a bit of ho-ho-ho to your go-go-go this season.

*commission earned from this link

Andrea Marcum

Andrea Marcum is a yoga teacher, retreat leader & author. You can find her online classes at andreamarcum.com