How to survive short and (especially) long flights?

04.09.2017 BY Kseniia

Flights were never my problem. I enjoy being on a plane - I sleep well, I am normally really productive, if I have some work to do, and I feel happy and fresh after landing, no matter how many hours I've spent in the air. But I know there are a lot of people, for whom even a short flight can turn into a nightmare. How to avoid stress and stay calm during and after the flight, I asked Justine Hamill and Jase Te Patu, owners of Power Living Yoga studio in Wellington. Because who else knows all the secrets of patience and relaxation, if not the yoga teachers?

Long-haul flight: how to get ready and make the best of it

Brought to you by Justine Hamill, avid traveller (South America, Asia, Europe, Scandinavia), a mum of 3 and an ex Air NZ employee.

1. Avoid salty & processed foods and alcohol 1- 2 days BEFORE travel. Fruits, veges, nuts & essential fats (avocado) - it’s not always what we do on the flight itself, but how we prepare and treat the body over a longer time frame that pays off! 

2. PRE-hydrating is key. I always drink 2+ litres of water before flying and then top up regularly during the flight. I’m the lady who hangs around the trolley bay asking for refills of water, in between countless trips to the bathroom. It helps to keep the lymphatic system moving by being a little active in the cabin. 

3. Hold the alcohol, I know many people like to kick off their trip on the plane with a drink, but consider that our bodies like the air to be 40-70% humidity and in the cabin it drops to 20%! This means, our bodies literally dry out, eyes get dry, throat gets dry and we are more prone to infections. Add to this the drying Alcohol, that forms acid and depletes nutrients. Alcohol disrupts our sleep cycles, so makes it harder for that mid flight nap to be a quality one. 

4. Travelling with children. I have 3 children (10,10 & 12 yrs) and have been travelling with them since the youngest (twins) were 1. Our first trip was to Argentina - a very old Pan Am aircraft with NO inflight technology or entertainment! Make sure the kids are well slept and fed/hydrated the entire week leading up to travel. Talk to them about what is going to happen - at the airport, on the flight, what the toilets are like, how long it will take, etc. Kids love to know what is coming up next - it makes them feel secure and safe, which eases managing anxiety and makes things run smoothly. Take books, paper & pencils for drawing and over all be organised: a calm & grounded mum = calm & grounded children.  

5. Breathing Techniques. One of my twin boys is very fearful of flying (he must have got that from me), but we don’t let that stop us! Prior to our travel we share our feelings about the flight, any fears or preconceptions about whether or not it’s going to be bumpy and what techniques can we use to calm our nerves. So the number one technique we use together is a Yogic Breathing technique called Nadi Shodhana. Nadi meaning “flow” and Shodhana meaning “purification”. Clears energy channels, calms the mind and reduces anxiety & panic.

  • Simply place fore finger & middle finger at brow centre 
  • Close right nostril with thumb & breath in through left nostril slowly 
  • Release thumb & close left nostril with ring finger - breath out right nostril 
  • Breath in through right nostril - switch fingers - breath out left nostril. 
  • Repeat steps 1-4 for 9 rounds or longer. 

Short-haul flight: how to live through it gracefully

Brought to you by Jase Te Patu.

1. Make sure you stay hydrated. High altitude travelling dehydrates the body, so drinking alcohol or coffeewill exacerbate that. Pick water or low sugar juice

2. Try to get up and walk around the cabin to get the blood flowing through your body and to lubricate the joints 

3. Stretching the arms above the head on an inhale and bowing forward over your legs with knees bent, will increase mobility through the spine and create blood flow to the brain, particularly for those inter city meetings.

4. Before landing, give yourself at least five minutes of mindful breath. Count to 5 as you inhale and to 5 as you breathe out. A mini meditation if you will :-) This will leave you clear in your mind, relaxed and calm to get things done!

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