The Dirty Carpet Story: Creative Travel Yoga

by Nina

So there I was at the airport, early as usual, and feeling rather restless. I hadn’t had a chance to do yoga that day or even take a walk, and I really wanted to do some kind of active yoga practice. The thing is, I really did not want to touch the carpet. It looked particularly filthy—probably because thousands of people walked on it with their dirty shoes every day, spilled their coffee drinks on it, rolled their strollers across it—you know. So I thought for a moment about what kind of practice I could do keeping my shoes on and using just my airport chair as a prop but that still involved a lot of movement. Fortunately, I usually wear pants with some give (either loose or stretchy) and always flat shoes. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Half Downward-Facing Dog with hands on the chair.

  2. Several Sun Salutations with my hands on the chair (so that meant hands on the chair seat for Lunge, Plank, and Upward-Facing Dog)

  3. All the standing poses I could think of that did not involve balance on one foot (I was pretty sure my shoes would throw off my balance). Warrior 2, Warrior 1, Triangle pose and Revolved Triangle, Extended Side Angle pose and Revolved Triangle—that sort of thing, ending with Pyramid pose.

  4. Standing shoulder openers (see Standing Shoulder Stretches). At this point I was guarding the suitcases so my husband could take a little walk.

  5. Oops! It’s time to board the plane

I have to say, I did feel a lot better after my practice. And if I’d had a bit more time, I would have done some finishing poses, like maybe some seated twists in the chair followed by a chair forward bend of some sort (see Mini Office Yoga Sequence). Sometimes these restrictions even make your travel yoga practice more fun as they force you to be creative.

I hope this inspires you to try practicing yoga when you're stuck somewhere, even in less than ideal circumstances. And if you have your own story about doing creative yoga in a challenging situation, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.