Last updated: Aug 10, 2009

Im lucky enough to be writing from Granada, Nicaragua, where Ill soon be participating in a yoga retreat. The trip will take place at a gorgeous, eco-friendly resort called Morgans Rock. The hotel itself is made of wood from sustainable forests, and all the food is locally grown. Even the business model is sustainable, as profits help fund reforestation projects and four local schools. Sure, this retreat sounds inspiring, but getting here was another story.


Air travel is rarely relaxing, and you can easily wind up feeling stressed and spent before your vacation has even begun. I didnt want to arrive at my yoga retreat feeling less than Zen, so I followed these three simple rules for a hassle-free flight.

Drink up
Dehydration is the quickest way to feel downtrodden. But thanks to liquid regulations, getting in enough sips mid-flight can be costly. Sure, you can buy a big bottle of water before you board, but it isnt the most eco-friendly practice. Instead, I bring my own reusable bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it up. Eating watery fruits like melons or grapes is another great way to get some extra H2O.

Breathe
Rather than spending all of your time distracted by your computer, movies, or magazines, take some quiet time to focus on the flow of your breath. Make sure that it is smooth and even. Just the act of doing this will help to soothe the nervous system.
plane-meditating
 
(Getty Images)


Fidget
Sitting still for hours on end contributes to that yucky post-flight feeling, so make sure to move around in your seat. I like doing shoulder stretches and ankle stretches—even if it sometimes irks my seatmates. Even moving your facial muscles and jaw can help.

My favorite mid-flight exercise is a modified version of Eagle Pose. Begin by lifting your right arm up and in front of your face, forming an “L” Shape. Wrap your left arm around your right until your palms are touching and both arms are completely entwined. Lift your folded arms up and away from your face just enough to increase the stretch. Allow your head to bow slightly and your jaw to soften. Release and repeat this position on the other side. And if your neighbor gives you a funny look, offer to teach him!

Opting for a staycation this summer? All of these tips can be used on the ground too! And if you have some favorite travel tips of your own, please email me and Ill try them on my return trip.