Holiday Travel: Moves on the Move
Winter holiday travel often includes much standing in lines and lots of sitting still in planes, trains, and automobiles. Luckily, Nia movements can make traveling flowing and fun. Use these adjusted techniques to help your body feel good through movement. You could take the bold route and swirl your arms around while doing bootie shakes at the airport terminal (which might create a dance party) but there are subtler ways to keep moving.
Try the packing dance! Put on some good movement music; maybe try the free Nia music player online at http://www.nianow.com. Have your list ready, and then, before you crack your suitcase, give yourself a few rounds of creative flow. When you’re ready to pack, first become aware of your belly. Ensure that every item you bend down to pick up is held by both your hand and your core. When you pick things up, use Open Stance’ by bringing your knees and feet hip-distance apart; bend down with a soft knees and an active core.
When your items to pack are spread out around the bed, open your feet to A Stance or even Riding (Sumo) Stance. Feel your feet grounded and hips even as you sway your spine and center of gravity from side-to-side while placing things inside the bag or suitcase.
If you’re with family, kids are an excellent excuse for silliness. Get out your need for bigger movements with them and lighten the mood around you. Inhale deeply and on the exhale, shake out every part of your body as if you were a rag doll. Stretch by reaching to the ceiling and shake out while gently rounding over.
While waiting in long lines, give your feet a little attention. You can lift your toes with Duck Walk, pretending to just be another impatient customer tapping her foot. Then give the toes and calves a stretch with some Squish Walk heel lifts.
Softly roll your hips and focus on the outer edges of your feet with Rock around the Clock. On the way to the restroom, give your feet and ankles a light massage by taking baby steps and rolling up high onto the ball of each foot, listening for the crackle of your joints releasing.
Most people appreciate those who can put a little pizazz in their steps, even when standing on lines. Take one or two purposeful steps forward, leading with your heels, feeling your knees soft and fluid, lengthening tall through the crown of your head. Then step back. You don’t have to leave your space in line; you just need to take one step forward and another back.
If sitting in your seat begins to give you the wiggles, lean forward to reach for something in your bag at your feet and come up with a nice Spinal Roll; return the item to your bag with another. Rise up. Smile. Oops. You forgot something else you wanted down there. Do the Spinal Roll again. Move slowly and consciously with an engaged core so as to protect your low back.
Another easy one is to do is slow motion Pumps to engage your whole arm. Then move into Finger Flicks, to release any tension in your arms and hands. These are great after lugging heavy luggage around by the handle. Moving down aisles, turn sideways and give yourself some Lateral Traveling, carrying the back foot toward the front, and then the front foot forward again. Bend in the knees a bit more deeply than usual to get blood flow to the thighs
The challenge with trains is the long sitting. During your travels, take your shoes off and massage your feet. For those moments when you need more circulation and warmth, find the end of a car with an open waiting area for passengers to exit from. Step side-to-side with Traveling in Directions, grape-vining your legs and then moving forward and backward. Begin with your feet planted, using the rhythmic jiggle of the train to flow with this dance.
While sitting and listening to music, play with Palm Directions. Move your hands slowly and feel the energy between them. Meditate out the window and allow your hands to move through space on their own.
At a stop light, while holding the wheel of the car, sit with your back off the seat and begin with some Chest Isolations. Then, roll your ribcage forward and back in the dance of Slow Clock. Roll one shoulder forward and allow the other to follow in the wave of motion. Touch your shoulders around to various points on the imaginary clock around you and know that time is on your side.
If you’re in the passenger seat, you have more range to play with. Give your arms a small workout with various forms of the Block Series. Be conscious of the other passengers and maybe pass on the urge to do any Elbow Strikes.
At rest stops along the road, loosen everything up with Cha-Cha-Cha. You can also give yourself some Spinal Rolls and Undulations to keep the core engaged.
Upon arrival, do the happy dance and shake it out with a Shimmy. Give yourself time to decompress from the travel rush. Remember that taking care of yourself will make it much easier to be present for your family, which is the greatest gift of all.