Yep, I plan on doing Yoga on our 10 hour flight From Seattle to Paris with my two children. I figure we’ll need to move some anyway, me because I know I should and them because at 3 & 5 yrs old they can’t help it. I figured having their movement look somewhat structured (if I can achieve this) may help my sanity and that of those around us.
I used to have my 3rd grade students do some simple yoga stretches and poses before big tests or when they just seemed squirrely. They loved it and I could see a difference in their behavior. I am by no account a yogi, not even close but I will try to have as many tricks available as I can! I do believe in preparedness! And who can’t use a little relaxation while flying 😉
Chair modified Yoga for kids and adults while on a plane…
1. Head rolls (loosen tight muscles in the neck & shoulders) : They sit cross-legged on their plane seat. put armrests up and this should work for them (I will keep my feet on the floor) Relax shoulders with hands on knees. Inhale and gently lower you right ear toward the right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale bringing head to center. Repeat with the left side. Finish with inhaling and lowering chin to chest. Shoulders straight. Then exhale bringing head back to center. Repeat.
2. Shoulder shrugs (releases tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders): Sit cross-legged or with feet on the floor. Inhale and relax your arms while lifting both shoulders up toward you ears. Exhale and release them down again. Repeat.
3. Sitting palm stretch: Sit cross-legged. Inhale, interlace your fingers, turn the palms away and stretch your arms. With your arms stretched out lift your arms up to shoulder height to loosen upper back muscles. Exhale and continue to lift arms up over your head and open palm toward the ceiling. Hold briefly then release. Repeat.
4. Sitting side twist (help elongate spine): Sit on seat feet and knees hip width apart resting hands on knees. Inhale and rotate to the right placing the back of your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Exhale and deepen the stretch by pressing on the outside of your knee and pulling on the back of the seat. Turning your hips, waist, chest, and finally shoulders until you are looking over your right shoulder. Keep relaxed, hold briefly and release. Repeat on the left side
5. Eyes around the clock: Sit comfortably, start by moving your eyes up and down. Then look up toward twelve o’clock. Then look toward six o’clock. Repeat a few times then close your eyes and rest. Next move your eyes from side to side. Then move eyes toward the side to three o’clock. Now move eyes in a straight line toward nine o’clock on the other side. Repeat a few times then close eyes and rest. Finish by going around the whole clock starting at twelve, then three, then six, then nine and back to twelve.
6. Foot circles: Sit with feet out in front of you as far as possible. Imagine you are drawing circles with your feet in the air. Circle each foot one direction then each foot the other. Repeat.
7. Seated Mountain Pose: Sit up straight in your seat. Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in toward your spine, engaging your abs, and keep feet flat on the floor, if possible. Inhale through your nose and raise your arms over your head. Keep your arms shoulder width apart relaxing your shoulders. Look straight ahead and slowly raise your gaze to the ceiling. Stretch through 5 breaths then release.
8. Seated Eagle Arms: Sit up straight in your seat. Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible. Extend your arms out in front of you at 90-degree angles, palms facing each other. Then place your right arm under your left pressing the backs of your palms together. Inhale and sit tall, then exhale and tuck your chin to your chest to stretch the back of the neck. Hold for five breaths, then switch arms and hold five breaths.
9. Seated Cat/Cow: Sitting in your seat roll your shoulder blades back and down, relaxing arms at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine engaging your abs, and keeping your feet flat on the floor, if you can. Inhale, arching your back (leading with the chest) and looking up toward the ceiling (this is the cat pose). Lift your chin and allowing your arms to relax at your sides. Exhale, rounding your spine and letting your head drop forward. Tuck your chin and allow your shoulders to roll (this is the cow pose). Repeat five times, moving fluidly from cat to cow with each breath.
10. Chair Pigeon: Sit in your seat. Nice and tall. Arms relaxing at your side. Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping your knee in line with your ankle. Hold 3-5 breaths. Repeat with the left leg up. You can lean forward to intensify the stretch.
I have no idea how this will play out, but I feel better just knowing I have some movement options when the girls get squirrely. We of course will be making our semi hourly rounds walking up and down the aisles of the plane to keep circulation going. (That is when they aren’t hopefully asleep) Fingers crossed!!! 😀