Every year when summer rolls around, I tend to get bit by the travel bug. While I love to go new places and see new things, being on the road so much can wreak a little havoc on my regular fitness routine. Luckily, I have a yoga routine that you can do anywhere. As a certified yoga instructor, I've learned a few good moves to combat those sneaky time zone changes, long car rides, and jet lag — I just roll out my mat and start with my go-to poses.
"Practicing yoga definitely increases energy," Jacquelyn Umof, a certified yoga instructor and Fabletics Master tells Bustle over the phone. "Yoga poses stimulate the body beyond the muscles by massaging the internal organs, which helps release toxins from the body. When toxins are released, your energy levels increase."
"Not only are there specific yoga poses that invigorate the body, but the entire practice allows you to uplift your day by awakening your whole body through the practice," Burckhardt tells Bustle in a phone interview. "By aligning yourself, you can allow the energy lines to flow more freely giving you more energy throughout the whole day."
In addition to general tips, Burckhardt and Umof shared their go-to yoga poses, which I've compiled into one travel-friendly, jet-lag reducing, energy-boosting, morning yoga routine!
1. Mountain Pose
"This pose requires whole body focus, whole body focus and alignment, centers the body and lengthens everything," says Burckhardt.
Stand towards the top of your mat with the bases of your big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then softly place them back down on the floor. With your weight balanced evenly on the feet, roll your shoulders blades back as you expand through your chest, letting your arms come alongside your body, palms facing forward, and energy reaching through your fingers.
2. Upward Salute
Standing in Mountain Pose, on an inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and up towards the sky. Without hunching in the shoulders, press your palms together and turn your gaze up towards them. If you'd like, you can give it a slight back bend, remembering to lead with your chest to avoid any injuries in the lower back.
3. Standing Forward Bend
From Upward Salute, put a slight bend in your knees as you open up your arms and swan dive your chest down towards the ground and in towards your thighs. If possible, try and straighten your legs and allow your hands to plant on the ground, framing your feet, or bring them to your shins as you tuck your chin in towards your chest and try to bring your nose closer to your knees.
4. Downward-Facing Dog
"This pose energizes the body; strengthens the arms and back; stretches the legs; improves digestion; relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue; and is therapeutic for sciatica," says Umof.
From Standing Forward Bend, press your palms into the floor and put some bend in your knees as you step your right foot to the back of your mat and then your left foot back to meet it, coming into a high push-up or plank position. From plank, press firmly into your hands as you begin to curl your chin in towards your chest, rounding through the spine, and shoot your hips up towards the sky, trying to get your heels flat on the ground and pressing your chest in towards your upper thighs.
From Downward Dog, raise back up onto your tippy toes and begin to roll forward through the spine, finding plank position once again. From plank, bend through the elbows, hugging them in towards the body and pointing back behind you, and while keeping your body in one straight line, lower down towards the ground until you're hovering a few inches above the floor.
6. Upward Facing Dog
"This pose energizes the mind and helps relieve mild depression," Umof says. It also, "improves posture; strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists; stretches the chest, shoulders and abs; stimulates internal ab organs; relieves sciatica; and reverses long hours of sitting."
From Chaturanga, while you're body is hovering off the ground, inhale and press your inner hands firmly into the floor and then straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your torso up, rolling over the tops of your feet, and keeping your legs lifted a few inches off the floor. Turn your gaze up towards the sky.
7. One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog
From Upward Facing Dog, roll back over your toes, shooting your hips up towards the sky, coming back into Downward-Facing Dog position. Take a deep inhale in, pressing your palms firmly into the ground and aiming your chest towards your upper thighs. As you exhale, raise your left leg back and up behind you, flexing through your foot and trying to keep both your hips angled towards the ground.
8. High Lunge
From One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog, bend your lifted leg and bring your knee in towards your nose as your body moves into a plank position. Place your lifted foot in between your hands at the top of your mat. Keeping your front knee bent, knee in line with your ankle, and your back leg raised, knee lifted off the ground, lift through your chest and raise your arms overheard, turning your gaze up towards the sky. Hold here for 6-8 breaths.
Make sure to repeat High Lunge on the opposite leg by stepping your front foot to the back of your mat and moving through Plank, Chaturanga, and Upward Facing Dog again, before finding your way back to One-Legged Downward-facing dog on the opposite leg and repeating the High Lunge on that side.
9. Lord of the Dance
"Lord of the Dance Pose energizes the mind and helps relieve mild depression," says Umof. "It also stretches the shoulders, chest, thighs, abs, and hips; strengthens stabilizer muscles to help improve balance; strengthens legs and ankles; and reverses long hours of sitting."
After you finish the High Lunge sequence, come back to Mountain Pose at the top of your mat. As you take a deep inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Keep the supporting leg as straight as you can and reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. Pressing your tailbone towards the floor, begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor. Hold here for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
10. Camel Pose
"Camel Pose helps with respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue. It also improves posture; reverses the desk hunch; stretches the hip flexors; opens the entire front of the body; awakens the organs in the abdomen; reverses long hours of sitting," according to Umof.
Once done with Lord of the Dance, find your way onto your hands and knees in a table top position. From here, raise up onto your knees so that you're kneeling on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into floor. Take your hands and rest them on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down. Begin to lean back against the firmness of the tail bone and shoulder blades, turning your gaze up towards the sky. You can choose to stay here, or reach one hand back at at time to your heels and let your head drop back behind you. Toes can stay curled under, or you can bring the tops of your feet to the floor for even more of a chest-opener.
11. Bridge Pose
"Bridge Pose calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression; reduces anxiety and insomnia," says Umof. "Physically, it stretches the chest, neck, and spine; stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid; rejuvenates tired legs; improves digestion; reverses long hours of sitting."
After you complete Camel Pose, lie on your back, bring your knees into your chest and rock side to side, massaging out the spine. From here, keep your knees bent as your plant your feet on the ground, bringing your heels as close to your bottom as you can. On your next exhale, press your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, and lift the buttocks off the floor, reaching the hips towards the sky. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. For an additional challenge, clasp the hands underneath you, rolling onto the shoulders blades, and extend through the arms, raising the hips up even higher. Hold here for 4-8 breaths.
12. Full Wheel
To take Bridge pose one step further, begin in the same position, knees bent, feet planted firmly into the floor. Bend your elbows and bring your hands back behind you, planting your palms on the ground so that your fingertips are pointing towards your body and elbows are pointing up towards the sky. Press into your palms and come up onto the top of your head as you lift your hips up towards the sky. Slowly start to straighten out your arms as you lift your head away from the ground, remembering to lift through the chest and press through the feet as well. Try holding for 4 to 8 breaths, then curl your chin back in towards your chest, bend through the elbows and begin to slowly lower your body back down towards the ground.
13. Child's Pose
"Grounding of the third eye focuses your mind, opens the shoulders and hips, and brings you inward," Burckhardt says about Child's Pose.
After completing you back bends, flip over onto your stomach and press yourself back up onto all fours. Separate your knees about mat-width distance apart, connect your big toes together, and begin to sink your hips back towards your heels. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, lay your torso down between your thighs, so that you are nestling between your legs. Extend your arms out in front of you, continuing to reach through the fingertips, and gently release your forehead to the floor, relaxing here for 1 to 3 minutes.
By the way, if you're digging my yogi gear, you can these sweet leggings and awesome sports bra from Fabletics. Namaste!