Yogic Breath To Bust Travel Stress

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By Laura Ahrens

[Co founder of Miakoda, Yoga Teacher, Owner of New School of Yogic Arts]

This month I'll land at PDX in Portland, Oregon for the 11th time since October of last year. I’ve been traveling to take Yoga Therapy training with Sarahjoy Marsh, which I’ll do 3 more times this year. Including other flights for missed connections, re-routes, retreats and vacations, I have been in the air more than usual.

I know a lot of you travel frequently, too. One of my favorite travel tips is a very portable part of the yoga practice: Pranayama!

 Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

To practice alternate nostril breathing:

  • Fold the first two fingers to your palm and place your thumb on your right nostril

  • Block the right nostril and inhale just through the left

  • Hold both nostrils closed and suspend the breath, this is called inhale retention

  • When you’re ready to breathe out, exhale through the right nostril, keeping the ring finger and pinky blocking the left nostril

  • Inhale through the right nostril, hold full while blocking both nostrils

  • Exhale through the left when you’re ready, still blocking the right nostril.

Follow this pattern as many times as you like, bringing your attention to the breath when the mind wanders, and letting the specificity of this breathing practice draw your mind to center. 

 Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

Be mindful of where you practice: the recycled air in close quarters in a plane can be full of germs. Save your alternate nostril breathing for the earth, and try this one while you're in air: Samavritti (even breathing). Inhale for a count of 4, gently hold the breath for 4 (inhale retention), exhale for 4, gently hold the breath out for 4 (exhale retention). You can increase or decrease the counts, but keep them all equal.

 Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

Photo Credit: Cam Ciccone

Julia Ahrens