Mile High Yoga: Seated Yoga Poses Perfect for the Plane


seated yoga

Seated yoga has its place, in this case, it’s 20,000 feet in the sky!

Seated yoga is ideal for someone in my position who travels often for work. Add that to the fact my family lives in Idaho and I like to go home at least three or four times a year. That’s a lot of time stuck on an airplane. When I have to travel overseas or the five to six-hour journey home, I make sure to wear comfortable clothing so I can practice some yoga goodness on the plane.

The best thing about yoga is it’s portable, accessible and can be done anywhere, even in your tiny airplane chair! I’ve been traveling with my son ever since he was born. Wearing him in a sling, schlepping all of our luggage and pushing strollers really does a number on my shoulders, back, and neck. And sitting for a prolonged amount of time can lead to hip, leg, foot and back pain as well.

Try these two upper body and two lower body moves whenever you find yourself on a long flight.

Eagle Arms—

seated yoga

  1. Sit tall at the edge of your seat and take your arms out to the sides (or angle them slightly forward in front of you if you have someone next to you) at shoulder height palms open to the ceiling.
  2. Wrap the right arm under the left arm as high up as you can, then double cross the forearms and try to press the palms together. If you can’t touch your palms, press the backs of the hands instead.
  3. Hold five to eight breaths, release the arms and repeat on the other side.

It’s ideal for seated yoga because you don’t have to take up space on either side of you. Just the limited space offered right in front of you and the seat you’re behind.

High Altar Arms—

seated yoga

  1. Sit at the edge of the airplane chair and lift your arms up overhead with the palms facing each other interlace the fingers and invert the palms so they turn up towards the ceiling. (You can imagine placing something you want up above you on the altar).
  2. Hold here for at least five to eight breaths.
  3. Next, release the arms and then repeat the posture but try it with the opposite thumb in front.
  4. You can also take a side lean here to stretch out the waist. Hold to each side 3-5 breaths.

Ankle to Knee Pose—

seated yoga

  1. Sit tall at the edge of your seat.
  2. Place your right ankle over your left knee with the right knee opening to the side.
  3. Fold forward until you feel a stretch in the outer right hip and thigh. Hold five to eight breaths.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side. If you’re in flight you can also take the tray down and place your arms there as you lean forward.

Quad Stretch—

seated yoga

  1. Stand next to your chair when no one is in the aisle or do this back near the flight attendants or bathroom door. You can use your right hand on the chair, door or any ledge or wall in the plane.
  2. Reach back for the front of your left foot and gently draw the heel into the buttocks.
  3. Lengthen your knee towards the floor, tuck under your tailbone, and lift your chest. Hold for five to eight breaths before switching sides.

There are plenty of seated yoga moves you can do while in flight and don’t worry about people giving you strange looks. More often than not, once I start practicing these moves mid-flight, I get people who want to join in with me! For more information on seated yoga, read Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You

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