Baggage Claim Yoga: Post-Flight Exercises
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Everyone hates waiting for bags after a long flight; your body is usually achy and stiff. So what better time to fit in some yoga? Here’s a short series of poses I typically do in the airport baggage claim area. I recommend using a wall, a chair or even your carry-on bag handle as balance support. This sequence is particularly recommended for travelers with back and neck pain.
This move is designed to reestablish the lordotic (inward) curve in your lower back after having been in a flat position for most of the flight (we all tend to sit with a rounded or flat lower back by resting back into the seat).
- Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart
- Bend your knees and place your elbows on your knees — into a downhill skier position
- By bending your knees and sticking your butt out, you create an inward arch in your lower back (the opposite of a flat/rounded back)
- Note: For people who are more flexible (indicated by front rib cage popping significantly forward), use your abdominal muscles to keep your rib cage toned
- Keeping the arch in your lower back, extend your spine longer through the top of your head (imagine the top of your head was pressing on the ceiling)
- Maintain the curve in the lower back while lengthening the spine for three to five deep breaths
Standing Triangle Twist
Twisting the spine is a big relief for your back. One of the secrets behind doing it right is to create stable resistance in the parts of your body that are naturally mobile or flexible, so that it’s an actual twist of the spine and its muscles rather than unstable twisting, which has a less profound effect on the back.
- Stand with left foot about two to three feet in front of the other. The front foot faces forward, the back foot (right foot) is angled 45 degrees and turned out
- Stabilize your feet and shins by isometrically scissoring them together (in other words, pull your feet and the shins toward each other without any movement)
- Twist your torso toward the front foot. Only twist about half of your maximum twist
- Keeping the lower legs steady, add some toned stability to your hips and lower back (imagine an abdominal corset getting a bit tighter)
- Stabilize the back knee (as you twist your torso, the knee will tend to twist as well, so it’s better instead to keep it steadily pointing toward the same direction as the back foot)
- Increase the twist just short of your maximum (a maximum twist would have a forced or aggressive quality, which is not advisable)
- Hold for three to five deep breaths
- Repeat with feet in opposite starting locations
This move is particularly good for your upper back, shoulders and neck.
- Stand tall with your legs hip-width apart
- Interlace your fingers behind your back
- Take such a deep breath that your chest puffs up like a superhero character — taller and wider across your upper back (avoid shrugging your shoulders)
- Keep your head and neck steady by imagining pressing your head back against a headrest
- Stretch your chest and shoulders by extending your hands and arms farther behind you and by standing even taller and wider
- Hold the post for three to five deep breaths
You might feel strange doing stretches while everyone else is standing around, but ignore that feeling! Your back and overall attitude will be so much better if you take advantage of this wait time to clear the deleterious effects of flying.
All images by Brendan Dorsey, TPG’s Assistant Editor.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.