Ellen’s Yoga Guide Blog Series: Yoga Poses for Traveling

This month we are doing a blog series with our favorite Yoga expert, Ellen! She inspires us all to be a great person and help others. Follow her on instagram and check out more about her below!

I have cankles! For those of you who do not know what cankles are, it is when your ankles lose its defining features from your calf. This kind of dependent edema is a result of a 20-hour flight from NYC to Madagascar. Long flights result in three things — dehydration, swollen feet and ankles, and generally feeling yucky. My legs are heavy and I feel sluggish, but there are ways to help the body recover. I am happy to share with you yoga poses that minimizes the effects of traveling. The Sworkit app is a great tool to use and will teach you how to properly get into these poses.

  1. Forward Fold — this helps open up the hamstrings that gets tight during long flights.
  2. Pidgeon Pose — stretches the piriformis muscles and relieves the sciatic nerve from prolonged sitting. It is also great for opening the hip flexors.
  3. Headstand or Shoulder stand — inversion poses reverses the blood flow from the feet to the rest of the body. If you have to do something active after a long flight, I suggest doing a headstand for at least 3–5 minutes. Shoulder stand is another option if a headstand is not in your practice.

I arrived at my hotel room well past midnight. An inversion was the last thing on my mind but my legs were screaming for help. I opted for a restorative pose so I laid on my back and placed my legs up against the wall. I folded one of the towels lengthwise and rolled it three times. I placed it behind my neck. This provided adequate support for my cervical spine. I used a second towel (a belt is another option) to tie around my thighs. This helps release my lower back and the effort of my quadricep muscles from holding my legs together. My knees rested on a pillow to prevent hyperextension. I also dabbed some lavender oil around the nape of my neck that allowed me to sink deeper into this pose. It was pure bliss. Restorative poses are great because they allow our bodies to go into rest mode. Props provide support for the joints that makes the body feel safe so rest can follow. Suggested length of time in this pose is a minimum of 15 minutes. Don’t forget to smile.

Why am I in Madagascar? Stay tuned for my next blog to find out!

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Ellen. A NYC native, Ellen’s relationship with yoga started over 15 years ago. It led her on a journey to Rishikesh, India where she immersed herself into the culture of yoga and received her training. As a Pediatric ICU (PICU) nurse who is focused on providing Palliative Care and End of Life care to critically ill children, Ellen realized a need to marry her passion for yoga with work in the hospital. Ellen also volunteers as a pediatric nurse in international medical missions for non profit organizations who provide free and corrective surgeries to children born with facial deformities.

Her flows are fun and challenging, playing with arm balances and inversion, but never forgetting to maintain attention to alignment and breath. The knowledge and wisdom that was passed on to her by her teachers in India remains close to her heart and is reflective in her practice.

All these experiences have taught her the importance of being mindful, being present and most importantly, being human, all with a practice that is selfish yet selfless, one that allows you to see the world in a new light.

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Be sure to get Sworkit Premium by April 7th. It is the last few days to get Sworkit for the introductory price! Thank you for using our app! To show our appreciation, we have created this custom workout for you to try. “Goodnight Yoga” is a perfect way to end a long day. Yoga is for everyone!

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