5 Small Space Yoga Positions To Help Banish Aeroplane Anxiety

For anyone who's ever dreaded that long haul flight, these are the small space solutions to getting through your holiday stress-free

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The last time I was on a plane I had a pretty depressing revelation. It was only a two hour flight from London to Budapest (so hot right now) but I was not loving life. In fact, I was hating it.

And that's when I realised how bad I'd become at flying.

What once was an opportunity for a cheeky nap and some handily sectioned off food had become a stressful and slightly scary situation.

Never one to turn down a holiday opportunity, the idea that I was slowly turning into my mother and starting to worry about things I was once so nonplussed about sucked.

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That's when I had the second revelation (it was a very enlightening trip) - yoga. By no means a master of any existing form of exercise, I had once upon a time enjoyed yoga. The stretching, breathing and lying down, ok mainly the lying down, was v appealing and almost always led to an impromptu in-class nap.

I figured, if it worked then, maybe a little small space yoga in my personal square foot of airplane could work now.

Namaste 90210
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Health and wellbeing writer, Sweaty Betty ambassador and yoga genius Angie Newson agrees:

'Unless you're lying down with a duvet and pillow, flying can make many people anxious, even at the best of times. Focussing on your breath and creating mobility in your body to improve circulation can improve your mood and leave you feeling energised with a sense of calmness and quietness.'

Sounds ideal. So what do we do?

Get In The Zone

'First, sit tall in your seat, with feet firmly planted on the floor. Close your eyes and rest your hands lightly on your thighs, palms turned up.

Allow yourself a few quiet moments to observe your breath - focussing on the inhale and exhale.

If any thoughts come into your mind, notice them and allow them to go.

Cultivate 'attention' - feel where you are holding your tension and consciously release it.

Continue until your feel a little calmer, letting go of the plane noises and distractions around you.'

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Ok, now you're ready to get your yoga on...

Yoga Move No.1

  • Slowly open your eyes and extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Turn your palms outward and interlink your fingers.
  • Lift your arms straight up and wiggle your waist to lengthen your side trunk.
  • Take 5 deep inhales and 5 full exhales.

Yoga Move No.2

  • Do 5 shoulder shrugs, bringing your shoulders up to your ears as you inhale, and releasing down as you exhale.
  • Then slowly and mindfully roll your shoulders one way 5 times, then reverse.

Yoga Move No.3

  • Sit on the edge of your seat and place your hands over your knees with your arms straight and chest lifted. Feel the expansion across your collar bone as you inhale.
  • Exhale and round your back into an arch drawing your chin into your chest and flexing your spine.
  • Inhale and slide your hands along your thighs towards you as your elbow slides past your waist. Repeat 5 times.

Yoga Move No.4

  • Draw one knee up towards your armpit and rotate one ankle for 5 breaths, before reversing the direction and repeating.
  • Cross your foot over the opposite thigh and carefully lean forward until you feel a gentle easing in your hip and bum.
  • Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.

Yoga Move No.5

  • Finish with some gentle twists. Feet firmly planted and sitting tall, exhale and twist around to the right.
  • Bring your left hand to your outer right thigh or hold on to the right arm rest.
  • Take your right arm behind you and place your hand at the base of your spine.
  • Inhale, lifting your breast bone and exhale as rotate round a little bit further. Repeat the other way.

Land On A High

'Sitting quietly, close your eyes, and return to breathing. Find fluidity and your own rhythm. Good yogic breathing eases the mind, creates clarity and space so you are more able to deal with the stresses of flying. And hopefully when you arrive, you feel restored, renewed and connected to an inner sense of peace.'

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