Plane travel has to be the worst part of going on holiday. When we’re not stressing about the environmental impact, we’re dodging germs or trying to block out the dulcet tones of a screeching baby. And don’t even get us started on the jet lag. Whizzing through time-zones is great for your tan, but less great for your energy levels. And it can knock you out for days. When you get home from a holiday you want to keep that vacation buzz going for as long as possible, so get ahead of the jet lag drowsiness and shake off stiffness with some energising yoga moves. We asked Catherine Annis, yoga teacher at triyoga Soho for her top recommended poses for jetsetters this summer: Effortless rest One of the most restful positions, effortless rest pose allows us to rest consciously. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor approximately hip distance apart, head supported if this is more comfortable. Focus on breathing, the sense of the ground coming up to meet you and give your body time to arrive. Take some time to settle. Imagine your body dropping into the earth in the new place. Gradually sustain your exhalations – this stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and encourages rest and relaxation, soothing body and mind after the journey. Spinal curl ups If you’ve been sitting for a long time, it’s helpful to take the spine into the opposite movement pattern. Whilst lying on your back, tilt your pelvis under and gradually peel your spine off the floor, beginning at the tail and articulating through the vertebrae, working up through your lower and middle back, until you are resting on your shoulders. Pause here for a moment to see how it feels to let the weight drop through your shoulders (mini massage) before gradually curling back down to the floor. Repeat a few times. Supine leg stretches Begin some simple stretches to stimulate blood flow and reduce fluid retention. Raise one leg up and gently bring the thigh towards the chest. Hold the back of the thigh or the calf and ease open the knee as far as it will comfortably go, gradually stretching the back of the leg. Continue bending and stretching each leg a few times, moving slowly, exploring until the movements feel easier and more elastic. At the very top of the movement, you could experiment with flexing the toes to bring them towards your face to mobilise the ankle. Child’s pose Kneel with your knees apart and bend your body forwards over your thighs to bring yourself into to child’s pose. It’s important to mobilise your spine after sitting for so long (Picture: Getty) Bring the hands under your forehead to support your head and sink the front of your body onto your legs and allow the back of your body to soften and melt. Stay here for a few simple breaths. Close the eyes and notice how your body responds to the movement of your breath. Continue to visualise yourself sinking into the ground, becoming more familiar with this new space. Downward dog Gradually unfold into a downward dog position. Plant your hands into the ground and reach your sitting bones up to the sky behind you, until you’re resting on your hands and feet in an inverted V-shape position. If stretching feels good, unfurl yourself into it. Imagine moving like a cat, reaching through your spine, all the way from sitting bones to crown of the head. Reach along the front of your spine as well as the back and include a conscious stretch all the way through your arms, into the heels of the hands and back through your body into your feet, ankles and heels. If it feels good, reach each heel down to the ground alternately to stretch the backs of the ankles and the soles of the feet. Legs up against the wall This is a wonderful pose or exercise to do for tired or swollen legs when coming off a flight. Elevating the legs promotes lymphatic drainage from excess fluid build-up. Set up a comfortable space around a wall with your hips raised on a pillow and as close to the wall as possible, then slowly start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in an L-shaped position. Organise your legs into a comfortable position – they can be slightly bent if that feels good. Now focus on your breath – try elongating your breath, taking a deep, slow inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose. Try to stay in the pose for five minutes.
End your practice with Savasana ‘corpse pose’, which is possibly one of the most restorative poses you can do. This continues to help you connect to ground and is great to help re-centre the mind and the body after the altitude and high speed of a flight. Lie down flat on your back on the floor, head face towards the ceiling, palms open and facing upwards by the side of your body. Shift your hips from side to side until you find your weight balanced equally and a slight natural curve in your spine. Make sure you feel warm, comfortable and supported. Close your eyes and rest here for at least five mins.