Road Warrior Part 4
From the desk of Stacy Slawitsky, RYT... For several years, I was a corporate road warrior, traveling to many parts of the country, sometimes for weeks at a time. Let’s face it: sitting on a plane, train or automobile for hours at a time can wreak havoc on your body.
There’s hope!! Contained within part 4 of this 4-part Road Warrior are some easy stretches you can do on the road to keep your body happy. Hold each stretch for 5-10 breaths.
1. Relax: Just breathe
Before you work out the kinks in your body, start by calming the nervous system with a simple yogic breathing exercise. With your feet planted strongly on the earth, sit up tall with a long straight spine. Close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breathing patterns. Then, inhale slowly for a count of 4 breaths, and exhale to a count of 4. If this is easy for you, then increase your count to 6 or 8 breaths ensuring your inhale and exhales are the same length.
2. Head and neck: Ear to shoulder stretch
Take your right ear to your right shoulder. Extend your left arm by your side. Strongly press down through your left palm as if were compressing something underneath it. To amplify the stretch, take your right hand to the left side of your head, use your hand to gently bring your right ear closer to your right shoulder while continually pressing down through the left palm. Repeat on the other side.
3. Upper Back and Shoulders: Eagle arms
Crossing at the elbows, take your right arm underneath the left. Try to press your palms together. Lift your elbows up as you pull your shoulders down your back away from your ears. Press your palms away from your face. Repeat on the other side by wrapping your left arm underneath the right.
4. Wrists: Wrist rolls
If you spend a lot of time in transit typing on your laptop this is a great stretch for you. Roll the wrists ten times clockwise and ten times counter-clockwise.
5. Traction out your back: Forward fold from your chair
Sit on the front edge of your chair with legs wide apart. Inhale lengthen up through the crown of the head, exhale, fold your torso between your legs. Rest your hands on the floor and let your head hang straight down.
6. Make friends: Take a walk
According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, sitting weakens your muscles (especially those that support posture and are used to walk) and stiffens joints, resulting in a hunched posture and increased risk for back and joint pain. All the more reason to get up and go for a stroll! If you are on Amtrak, go to the café car and get yourself some water or tea. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet in transit. I made some great business connections during my walking breaks. If you are single, I know a few former colleagues who have met their spouses en route to their work destination. Smile and welcome whatever comes your way!
7. Be thankful for a safe arrival: Reverse a prayer behind your back
This is another great stretch for your chest and shoulders. Bring your palms together in prayer behind your back. Attempt to get your hands in between your shoulder blades, if that’s too much take opposite elbow in opposite hand.
What are your favorite stretches while on the road?
Stacy Slawitsky, RYT
Certified Yoga Teacher
Stacy’s journey with yoga began in Manhattan as a means to relieve the stress of a demanding job on Wall Street. Her discovery of PranaVayu yoga opened her mind and body in transformational ways. Her passion to share these practices with others led her to complete her 200-hour PranaVayu teacher training with founder David Magone.
Stacy continues to further her training through Buddhist meditation and philosophy workshops with the Buddhist Chaplain of Harvard University, Lama Migmar Tseten, and yoga instructors throughout Boston and New York.
Her yoga classes encourage students to be kind to themselves by practicing patience and positivity with their yoga practice.