Wellness in the workplace
Yoga is perfect for traveling warriors because it doesn’t require anything except yourself and a mat! With the confined environment of air and road travel, yoga can be an excellent form of exercise to stretch the body and detox from confined space! Plus, yoga provides an amazing full body workout that helps strengthen, tone, and increase flexibility.
When you are not in your normal routine, all to often, being on the road is a good excuse to have a few cocktails on a weeknight or make poor nutrition choices. Consequently, those choices can cause more stress and harm than you might think. Not only are those choices unhealthy for your body, overtime these choices can have a financial impact, and take a large toll on your energy level. Being a travelling warrior can also feel lonely and insolating. Practicing yoga is a great way to build a relationship with you! It is a time to reflect, turn inward, breath into your body and mind, and give yourself some much needed self-care so you can go home feeling refreshed and energized.
Creating a disciplined routine on the road to stay healthy can be vital in both your professional and personal life. Yoga is easy to implement anywhere and will give you a great workout to strengthen your entire body; in addition, it aims to reduce tension and stress. Your body will thank you for choosing this over sitting in a hotel lobby bar and you will go home feeling energized and refreshed instead recovering from a long week on the road. Your family will see a difference in your new energy level and your boss will be impressed you saved the company some expenses! It’s never too late to start a yoga practice! You are never too old, too inflexible, or too big! Everyone can benefit from yoga, and little-by-little, day-by-day, city-by-city, you will begin to see physical, mental, and emotional changes.
Life on the road can also mean working long hours. As a traveling warrior, you must make a choice to find a work-life balance, even if you are not with your family or in your own bed, it is important to calm your mind down. We are not meant to work or stare at an LED/LCD screen all day and night. Schedule time to roll out your yoga mat (indoors or outdoors) and connect with your mind, body, and spirit. Once you start implementing a traveling yoga program, you will improve concentration, creativity, and communication. Your mind needs a break to bring in new vital life-force energy (the breath)! All you have to do is focus on the breath and your thoughts will naturally fall away.
What type of traveling warrior are you?
The Road Warrior
Driving can be fatiguing, boring, and makes the body stiff.
1) Schedule 20-minutes of drive time with no radio, no phone and simply focus on very deep breathing.
2) Breath in to the count of 6 and out to the count of 6, even out the length of your inhales and exhales
3) Sit straight up, engage your belly, this will strengthen your core and help aerate your lungs
4) The “Seat” was the first posture in yoga. We do yoga essentially everywhere, how you hold yourself in line at a grocery store, how you sit when you are driving, etc. so sit in a way that feels joyful and balanced.
5) Disengage from any form of road rage
6) If it’s a nice day, stop at a park or resting area and practice the basic yoga poses below to get in a much-needed stretch break during a long-drive!
The Sky Warrior
After being confined to a germ-infested plane, what you need is a detoxifying breathing exercise!
Kapalabhati is a great breathing technique to use after you’ve been cooped up in an airplane to remove bacteria and germs you’ve accumulated in the sinuses. It’s also a great way to increase your energy level!
1) Try to do this sitting on your heels, but if you cannot find the space, do it while you are walking to baggage claim/car rental!
2) Take a deep inhale through your nose
3) Seal your lips and begin to exhale quickly and forcefully through your nose
4) Practice quick, forceful exhales out the nose or mouth and the inhale will come naturally
5) Do this until you must inhale
6) Repeat 2-3 times
7) If you feel dizzy or get a headache, stop and just breathe deeply with awareness of how deep you can bring in your breath
8) After you are complete, notice the energetic shift in your body and mood
The Hotel Warrior
I know you’ve got the best hotel app, the coolest restaurant finder, and probably even an app to help you find the best gas deals! Traveling can be fun and empowering, until it’s not. And when it’s not, try some yoga. The good news is you’ve got nobody to distract you. It’s all about you! So turn inward, breathe, and get down with some down dog!
1) Use your hotel fitness center or the living room. Some hotels have started offering on-demand yoga programs as an amenity to guests. Both the Marriots and Hyatts believe yoga is a must have amenity!
2) Dedicate and schedule time to practice. If you travel 3-days a week, make a commitment to how many days you will practice yoga and for how long.
3) Practice yoga before you eat. It is okay to have a light snack 2-4 hours before yoga. But you will feel sluggish and weighed down after a big meal.
4) Bring a video, watch a youtube video, or buy a yoga book to learn more yoga poses.
Here a few basic poses to get you started:
Sun Salutations (do 3 sets of Sun Salutations, linking one breath to one movement)
Mountain Pose: Plant your feet firmly down, engage your abdomen, inhale deeply and bring your arms overhead, gaze up, and turn your pinkies in toward each other. Purpose: Ignites nervous system and opens your chest.
Forward Fold: Exhale, hinge from you hips, bring your fingertips to the ground, release your head and neck down toward your mat. Purpose: Revitalizes your nervous system and brings deep spinal release.
Half way Lift: Inhale and lift your chest away from your thighs, draw your shoulder blades down your back, lengthen the back of your neck and gaze down. Purpose: Elongates and strengthens spine.
High-to-low plank: Exhale, plant your palms and step back to a high plank pose, inhale shift your torso forward, exhale lower down half way, pin your elbows into your side. Drop to your knees or stay in high plank for a modification. Keep your hips inline with your shoulders and stay strong throughout your abdomen. Purpose: Increases core, tricep and shoulder strength.
Upward facing dog: Inhale, flip your feet so the backs are the mat, press through your feet, lift your chest, straighten your arms and stack shoulders over your wrists. Gaze forward. Increases lung capacity by opening chest. Purpose: Strengthens shoulders, trapezius, and upper arms.
Downward facing dog: Exhale, send your hips high, keep your feet hip-width distance apart, place a small bend in your knees, engage your abdomen, bring your gaze toward your navel. Purpose: Brings fresh oxygen to your central nervous system; aims to relieve insomnia.
Low lunge: Inhale, lift your right leg high, exhale, step your foot between your hands, stack your knee on top of your ankle, make sure your feet are in opposite lanes. Purpose: Prepares you for your warrior series.
Warrior 1: Inhale, spin your back heel down to the mat, raise your arms overhead, square your hips, keep a deep bend in your front knee. Purpose: Creates focus, awareness, and power. Increases flexibility in hips and torso.
Warrior 2: Exhale, extend your arms in opposite directions, right arm in front of you, left arm back, find a heel to arch alignment with your feet, find a 90 degree bend in your front knee, stack your front knee over your heel, gaze forward. Purpose: Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles. Opens the chest, lungs, and shoulders.
Move back through high-to-low plank and take the other side.
High plank: Place your feet hip-width distance part, bring your hips in-line with your shoulders to avoid sinking into your low back, engage your core, spread your fingertips wide, place your arms shoulder-width distance apart, stack your shoulders over wrists, press up through your shoulders. Gaze between your thumbs. Hold here for 20 seconds. Increase the amount of time as you build strength in your practice. Purpose: Strengthens your entire body.
Bicycle yogi sit-ups: Come to lie on your back. Bring your knees toward your chest and stack your knees over your hips, flex your feet towards your face, interlace your fingertips behind your head, release right leg and hover it over the mat, inhale to prepare, exhale, twist your right elbow toward your left knee, inhale bring both knees back to center, exhale twist to the other side. Do this for 60-seconds. Straighten your legs for an added challenge. Purpose: Strengthens and tones your abdominals, stabilizes and strengthens your oblique muscles. A strong core supports lower back and relieves low back pain.
Legs up the wall: Lie on your back, place your arms by your side, press your palms into the mat, lift your legs straight toward the ceiling, flex your feet, bend your knees, or keep your legs straight, flex your feet toward your face, keep your entire spine glued to the mat. Stay here for 60-sconds. Purpose: Relieves tired or cramped legs. Strengthens your core.
Tree: Rotate your right leg open, plant your foot on your calf, or guide the sole of your foot to your inner thigh, press your foot into your thigh, and your thigh back into your foot, engage your core, place your hands together at heart center. You can lift your arms high for an added challenge or close your eyes. Purpose: Improves posture and balance. Encourages focus.
Cobra: Lay on your belly, place your chin on your mat, place your palms on the mat, in line with your shoulders, Bring your feet together and press them into your mat, engage your legs, inhale, and lift your chest, allow little or no weight in your arms. Use your lower spine to lift your chest. Take 2-3 deep breaths and then relax on your belly for a few more moments. Purpose: Strengthens your spine.
Seated forward fold: Find a seated position, extend your legs long in front of you, flex your feet toward your face, inhale reach your arms high, exhale, with a flat lower spine, fold over your legs, work to bring your chest to your thighs, bend your knees to allow this connection, inhale, find more length in your spine, exhale fold deeper towards your legs, work to bring your chest forward and then down. Purpose: Calms your brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Stimulates liver, kidneys, ovaries, and improves digestion.
Supine Twist: Come to lie on your back, bring your knees into your chest, let your right arm extend straight out from your shoulder, guide your knees over to your left side body to twist, gaze over your right finger tips. Purpose: Rinses the vital organs of impurities. Releases tension in your body.
Savasana: Lie on your back, close your eyes, allow your legs to splay open wide, soften all your muscles, draw your shoulders down your back, bring your arms out to your sides, flip your palms face up, let your breath to return to neutral. Make a commitment to release all thoughts and meditate upon only one vibration or word. If thoughts appear, notice them, and allow them to pass quickly. Stay in Savasana as long as you can. Give yourself permission to be there for a minimum of 5 minutes. Purpose: Relaxes your body. Allows your body to absorb and integrate the poses. Carries you into a deep relaxing, quiet, healing place.
Keep adding poses to your practice. This is just the beginning. Ask us for more posture ideas! Host a special event at your company to learn more about yoga! Contact Nikki@studio9to5wellness.com to learn more about offering yoga at work!