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Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, everyone can benefit from relieving a little stress and finding inner peace. Yoga and mindfulness exercises can help you improve your mental clarity and self-confidence. They can also help you to switch off from hectic daily life and sleep better when you are away from home.

Did you know that you can do yoga and mindfulness while flying, even when you’re thousands of metres in the air?

In fact, yoga and mindfulness can be even more beneficial when flying because your body and mind are under increased strain due to the altitude and pressure changes.

How do you practice yoga and mindfulness during a flight?

  1. Gain control over your breathing. This is the real key to relaxing. When flying, your breathing is influenced by atmospheric changes so you will feel the benefits even more.
    Try to focus on a positive thought by visualising an image that makes you feel calm. Start by breathing IN deeply through your nose, then slowly breathe OUT through your mouth.
    Repeat “IN-OUT” for 5-10 times, focusing on the feeling of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. If you’re already an experienced pro, you can try a more complex technique like diaphragmatic breathing. Slowly breathe through your nose and feel your diaphragm expand while the air fills your lungs. Then slowly breathe out while pulling your diaphragm towards your spine. Enjoy!
  2. Experience yoga asanas in flight. Although there’s not much space for moving around on board, there are a few yoga positions that you can try while flying. If you need more room for your legs, remember you can choose your seat in advance for a small fee or you can do it for free when you check in.

    A few positions you can try:

    • Butterfly position: Sitting upright, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together so they are touching each other. Gently open your knees to the side, keeping your hands on your legs. This asana helps to open your hips and improve your blood pressure.
    • Anjali Mudra behind your back: The mudras are “gestures” of the hands that can rebalance the body and optimise energy. Providing you don’t have joint problems, try to put your hands together in a prayer shape behind your back and stay in this position, breathing slowly until you can feel your neck and shoulders relaxing.
    • Position of the cat or cow: While seated, put your hands on your knees and take a deep breath in. When you breathe out, gently curve your back outwards to create a “hump”, keeping your head lowered towards your chest and imagining you are pushing your navel towards your spine. When you breathe in, return your back to a neutral position and gently lift your chin towards the ceiling. You will feel noticeable relief in your shoulders and neck.
  3. Mindfulness: Be conscious of your environment. As you are flying, you can admire the beauty of the sky and the clouds from your window rather than having to create a mental image to relax. You can also appreciate the white noise (the sound of the engines and the moving air) which are typical of being on an aeroplane. Turn off your smartphone and tablet, focus on what is around you and enjoy your time.
  4. Use accessories. Although you can’t use your yoga mat on board , there are a few accessories that can help you perform these valuable relaxation techniques while flying. For example, an eye mask and a neck pillow can help you to relax and find your inner peace. Another great tip is a face spray with lavender essential oil (<100 ml carried in a plastic bag inside your hand baggage!).

As you see, it’s not a matter of finding the right place but the right moment to do yoga and mindfulness. And don’t forget to always make time for your mental and physical well-being!