Relieve air travel stress with local’s ‘Flytime Yoga’

As summer approaches and many leave town for vacation, air travel will probably be part of the agenda. These commercial flights could be a real source of stress, according to Del Mar Heights resident Elaine Masters, a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance.

Masters has studied and experienced the downside of flying, with its associated fatigue and anxiety, and has developed a simple system that counters the unwelcome stress.

“Flying doesn’t have to be a pain. Through small, simple stretches and breath-work, passengers can arrive at their destination relaxed and refreshed, not fatigued and stressed,” said Masters in a recent interview.

Certified through the Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, Masters has published a mini-book that includes step-by-step instructions for yoga-inspired, user-friendly stretches and movements that have been designed specifically to be done in an airport or in the airplane seat. To produce the book she collaborated with Julie Garner, a certified ergonomist who has experience in professional ergonomics programs in San Francisco, and incorporated illustrations by Kim Kurdelak.

Titled “Flytime Yoga,” the booklet fits inside a lightweight wallet designed to hold a passport, boarding pass and other travel documents.

“I worked hard to keep the book as succinct as possible. It’s only 28 pages but is designed for travelers to easily access the information and will fit easily into your purse or briefcase,” Masters said.

The concept of “Flytime Yoga” evolved from Masters’ prior book, “Drivetime Yoga.” It’s companion CD won the Indie Excellence award for best audio book in 2008. A frequent air traveler, Masters noticed that she was doing more stretches on the airplane not only to keep flexible and energized, but also to alleviate her concerns about deep vein thrombosis.

“It doesn’t matter how fit you are, how young or how old you are this is something that all travelers need to address,” Masters stressed. “I felt that having the antidote to this, easily accessible in a travel wallet, could really help the traveler.”

Doing breathing techniques also reduced her flight anxiety.

“Bumpy flights are scary for me, but I found that doing deep breath-work helped keep me calm,” she said.

Other breath-work exercises help reduce flight fatigue, she added. “As I did research for the book I discovered that the oxygen levels on planes are intentionally kept low, at about the level of Aspen’s elevation. For those of us at sea level that’s an adjustment of about 8,000 feet. Some of us may experience headaches or dizziness and this can be countered as we take in more oxygen through deep breathing,” Masters explained.

In these times of uncertainty for travel, as volcanoes erupt, with severe weather delays, or through the threat of terrorism, it is important to address the stress that it creates, said Masters.

“No matter how well we plan our lives we are subject to so much change right now,” Masters said. “Circumstances may intervene that can set all your best-laid plans awry. So staying flexible, both mentally, physically and emotionally, is the best thing you can do for yourself. The book offers more than tips in just stretching the body, it helps with mental attitude, as well, to deal with whatever may come your way.”

While some may not feel confident about stretching and deep breathing in a cramped public space, Masters encourages those around her when she travels by plane. “People may be shy about doing these exercises, especially in coach class, so as I do my stretching, invariably someone sitting next to me, who I may not know will say, ‘Oh that looks good.’ And I encourage them to do it with me and pretty soon there’ll be a row of five people doing it along with me.”

The combination “Flytime Yoga” booklet and travel document wallet is available from for $10.50. The booklet alone is $5. It is also available for private label. Call (858) 449-3246 for more information.

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Posted by on May 13, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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