During yoga classes we aim to deepen our breath for as long and slow as possible. Focusing your mind on each inhale and exhale has a calming effect. Breathing in and out of your nose is said to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which suppresses fight or flight response and stimulates a sense of peace/well being.
Imagine yourself soaring 30,000 feet above Earth. You are enjoying a flight to paradise. Then…the plane hits some turbulence and nausea ensues. AH! If you are like me, motion sickness is a serious problem during travel. I have flown 3-5 times a year since I was 9 years old and am always experimenting on how to prevent motion sickness on the plane. Luckily, I practice yoga.
What if we could practice YOGA when we are flying?! It may not look like a sweaty, vigorous vinyasa class, but it could be a trip into a state of nirvana much like that peaceful state of savasana! Here is how I prevent getting all of the symptoms of motion sickness using a few yoga practices.
Posture. Yoga asana requires us to be connected to and mindful of our bodies. We practice yoga postures to build strength, flexibility, and clear energy lines in the body to improve circulation. Create a lovely, supported chair pose right in your seat! Bring your feet flat onto the floor at hip width distance. Sit up tall and lengthen your spine. Lengthen the back of your neck and relax your arms by your side. Use subtle core engagement to keep your spine long. You have just created a yoga pose: a simple, supported chair.
Drishti. Drishti is a single pointed focus. Also known as a staring contest (LOL, jk) or simply looking at one object. By looking at one object, we are representing a focused mind. Motion sickness is often related to our sense of balance in the brain. By looking at one specific object we feel more balanced. Looking forward towards the front of the plane and focusing on one object has helped me through take off and landing. If this does not work, take the drishti inwards and close your eyes!
Breath. Breathe deeply in and out of your nose. Create the smoothest, most fluid breaths possible. I like to count each breath and aim to increase the duration of each inhale and exhale. As an example, I begin by counting to 4 while I inhale and counting to 4 while I exhale. If and when it feels natural, I increase the number to 5, 6, 7, etc. Taking full deep breaths will help you to stay calm and connect with a sense of well being.
Intention. Give your mind something positive to focus on. Worrying about having motion sickness will not prevent it. What’s that phrase? “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Try focusing on how exciting it is that you get to travel, something positive you have going on in your life, or purely set an intention count your breath!
Use these tips to fight motion sickness or nervousness for car, bus, train, boat, or plane rides!!!