I am getting ready to embark on a month-long adventure across Southeast Asia.  Leaving in just a few hours, I’m very excited but also incredibly anxious.  Until now, I didn’t believe that I had any phobias, but the mere thought of the plane taking off the runway makes my heart race and stomach feel like it’s doing somersaults.  Thinking back to every plane ride I have previously taken, I remember experiencing a minor panic attack each time.  I completely realize the silliness of my fear, but still, it’s easier said than done to tell myself to just relax.

Taking Flight with Yoga.  By Yoga District blogger Marybeth in Washington DC.One of my good friends, a very mindful yogi, often says, “We are all going to die someday… and it might be tomorrow.”  Her words are true and wise.  As morbid as this may sound, thinking this actually makes me breathe easier and with more gratitude for the present moment.  We really don’t have as much control as we think we do.  Nonetheless, I am still prepared to totally freak-out the moment I feel the plane move.  Since my recent trainings in aromatherapy and herbal medicine, I’m stocked up with essential oils with relaxing scents and herbs with calming properties.  I am also planning to take my yoga practice on the road … um, well, up in the air, rather.

Of course it’s not likely the flight attendants will tolerate me rolling out my sticky mat in the middle of aisle to do some Moon Salutations, but the beautiful thing about yoga is that it adaptable to virtually any situation.  One of the most effective ways to calm and balance the central nervous system is simply to breathe.  The breath and our current emotional state are so intrinsically linked.  If one is in harmony, then so is the other.  Normally our bodies breathe without us asking it too; however, in times of acute stress, we often “forget” to breathe enough.  When our brain senses too little oxygen, it signals danger to our body, which then responds by taking in even less oxygen with short and shallow breaths, thus the cycle of anxiety continues.   Something as simple as consciously taking a slow deep breath is enough to break the cycle and relax the mind and the body.

I will be facing over 30 hours a traveling within the next couple of days, so although my pranayama will be helpful in dealing with the stress and anxiety of flying, my body will probably be a bit stiff after so many hours of sitting.  Oftentimes in a plane, standing stretches aren’t always an option, especially if you get stuck with the window seat.  Check out this three great yoga poses that can be done while sitting in an airplane seat!   http://www.yeeyoga.com/staying-alert-while-sitting

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