Easy Yoga Stretches For Post-Flight Stiffness

Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor21 November 2016

Sitting sedentary in a confined economy seat for multiple hours can leave you with all sorts of aches and pains. Do this simple yoga sequence post-flight to stretch and reset your muscles, ready for a night of dead-to-the-world sleep.

Downward Dog

Benefits: Stretches the backs of the legs and resets the spine.

Instructions: Press through the whole of your hands firmly and send your sitting bones up to the ceiling. If your lower back starts to round it means your hamstrings are too tight, so bend your knees while still allowing your heels to descend towards the ground.

Duration: Hold for 5 – 10 breaths.

Upward Dog

Benefits: Opens the chest and counteracts the seated spine’s slumped ‘C’ position.

Instructions: Stack your shoulders over your wrists and push firmly through the tops of your feet until your thighs feel light on the ground or lift off altogether. Engage your core to prevent pinching in the lower back. Peel your shoulders back, opening the chest, and gaze ahead.

Duration: Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.

Low Lunge

Benefits: Stretches the quads and the hip flexors.

Instructions: Shift your hips forward until your knee is over the ankle. Engage your core to protect your lower back and place your hands on the front thigh for stabilization.

Duration: Hold for at least 10 breaths.

Half Splits

Benefits: Opens up the hamstrings and calves.

Instructions: Shift your weight back and flex the front toes to deepen the stretch. Hinge at the hip, bringing finger tips to the floor for support (or use a block or chair) keeping your back at straight as possible.

Duration: Hold for 5 – 10 breaths.

Seated Spinal Twist

Benefits: Great for the spine and back muscles.

Instructions: Cross your left leg underneath you and place the sole of the right foot on the ground just outside the left knee. Sit up as tall as possible and then twist towards your right leg, wrap your left arm around it to deepen the stretch. Bring your right arm to the ground behind you for support. Repeat on opposite side for balance.

Duration: Hold for at least 10 breaths.


Benefits: Opens up the whole front body, including the quads, hip flexors, abs and chest.

Instructions: Plant your feet on the ground, hip width apart. Press through your feet and lift your hips to the sky. Externally rotate your arms so your palms face the ceiling, then interlink the fingers behind your back, opening the chest space.

Duration: Hold for 5 – 10 breaths.

Supine Pigeon

Benefits: Stretches the outer hip and glute muscles.

Instructions: Open your right leg out to the side and place the ankle just above the left knee. Thread your right arm through the hole you’ve just created and catch hold of the left shin with both hands. Hug the left leg towards you as you push the right knee out and away to intensify the stretch.

Duration: Hold for at least 10 breaths.

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