Giselle Shardlow is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write her stories found at Kids Yoga Stories or on Amazon worldwide.
As multicultural families, many of us will likely be traveling this summer. Airport waits, security clearances, restless children, jetlag, and lack of exercise lead to stress and anxiety. The ancient philosophy and practice of yoga has been proven to increase health and wellness. Integrate yoga into your travel plans to enjoy a happy, healthy, and relaxing experience.
Why practice yoga at the airport?
Yoga is a lifestyle. It is a way of life that brings lasting benefits to many people around the world. Practice family yoga while waiting for your plane. These coping strategies will help you withstand the stress and anxiety of travel so that you can avoid losing your temper and be ready to prevent conflict when and if it arises.
• Focus on something positive, not how long you have to wait for your plane.
• Stretch out your body before a long flight, then again after, to relieve stiffness.
• Do something fun together as a family; be creative and use your imagination.
• Consciously relax your mind and body during the hassles of travel.
• Engage in a distraction that doesn’t involve electronic devices.
• Take time to get as much sleep as you need.
How do we get started?
Yoga is much more than practicing the Downward-Facing Dog Pose. It includes postures, meditation, character education, mindfulness, positive affirmations, and breathing techniques.
• Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and listen to your inhale and exhale. Breathe fully by engaging your belly, lungs, and chest. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest to feel yourself inhale and exhale. Avoid shallow breathing.
• Live in the present.
• Be open and flexible.
• Be kind and compassionate.
• Repeat positive affirmations in your mind, like “Be calm,” “This too shall pass,” or “It will work out.”
• Let go of any internal struggle, and embrace the adventure of life.
• Practice a sequence of physical postures as a family. Check out the Kids Yoga Stories “5 for 5: Five kids yoga poses in five minutes” series for quick family yoga session ideas (see sample below).
How do we practice yoga during travel?
Children watch our every move, so be a good traveling role model.
• Wear comfortable clothing and drink lots of water.
• Listen to your body and notice if you’re stiff or in pain.
• Be aware of any negative thoughts. Try thinking the opposite.
• Enjoy the moment, instead of yearning to arrive at your destination.
• Notice your breathing. Are you taking deep breaths?
• Be compassionate; lend a helping hand to a fellow traveler in need.
• Start small. Even five minutes of physical practice, breathing, or meditation is beneficial.
• Focus on the fun of family yoga, not on perfectly aligned poses.
• Find a quiet spot to practice together. If there isn’t one, just practice anywhere. Make it light-hearted and fun.
• Roll out a travel mat, or simply practice standing and balancing postures if you would prefer not to touch the airport carpet.
• Do a couple of simple chair postures in your seat. For example, Seated Twist, Knees-to-Chest, Eagle arms (arms crossed out in front of you), or Seated Forward Bend.
• Base your family yoga experience on a pretend journey somewhere or tell a story through the postures. Or talk about where you are going and act out a few things that you will see and do on your trip.
“Five for Five: Five kids yoga poses in five minutes” with a cabin theme, which was inspired by our recent trip to Tahoe, California. Pretend to go on a journey to a cabin somewhere in the woods and practice each of these five poses, adding more as you are inspired. What else might you see or do while staying at a cabin?
Cabin: Five for Five
Pine Tree – Tree Pose
(Stand tall on one leg, bend the other leg, place the sole of your foot on the inner thigh, and sway in the wind)
Cabin – Downward-Facing Dog Pose
(Come to hands and feet and pretend you are the roof of the cabin)
Trout – Locust Pose
(Lay flat on your tummy, lift your head and shoulders, bend your knees, and stretch your arms back)
Squirrel – Hero’s Pose
(Sit back on your heels and pretend to nibble on seeds in your hands)
River Rock – Child’s Pose
(From Hero’s Pose, bend forward, rest your forehead on the ground, and rest your arms along your side)
You can also download a printable version of this Cabin for free.
Happy traveling! Feel free to email me at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com if you have any further questions or comments about family yoga. Please consult your doctor about any health-related travel concerns.