Earlier this week, I wrote about a few different reasons why traveling can cause annoying aches and pains. Curious how to combat and potentially even prevent these annoyances?
I’ll cut straight to the chase – I travel with balls.
In my opinion, the two best sizes of YTU Therapy Balls to bring are regular-size Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls and a Corgeous® ball. You can massage pretty much all of your tissues head-to-toe with this combination, plus they’re amazingly compact and super light.
Uses for the regular YTU balls on the road:
How do I use these for self massage during travel? To put it simply – I use them in every way possible. I literally use these head-to-toe using a combination of all the Roll Model® techniques Jill Miller so wonderfully detailed in her book The Roll Model (which I highly recommend in Kindle form to take on the road with you).
Uses for the Coregeous® ball on the road:
The Coregeous® ball helps with opening up the breathing tissues on the rib cage. I believe breathing is the most important practice in traveling because it allows us to settle down, rest, and take in the new environment. It helps slow down from our regular busy lives and experience the relaxation that vacation and travel can be so conducive to.
…and here’s an advantage of the Coregeous® ball you may not have considered: it’s a great way to ease digestion and help find comfort in your gut. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of questionable airplane meals and deliciously sketchy street food while traveling, and having the gentle massage of an inflated Courageous® ball is an amazing way to sort of ‘reset’ the GI tract after the tension that these meals can bring to your belly so you can stay healthy while traveling.
Here’s a good routine for using the Coregeous® ball:
For constant sitting:
Body parts that get grumpy with a lot of sitting: hamstrings, quads, hips, lower back, upper back/neck… I’ll stop there because the list goes on. Here are some great instructions for using therapy balls to combat these areas and below is a testimonial and explanation from an airline pilot on why these are so important for seated travel:
For sleep-induced problems:
One of the results of the tossing and turning that sleeping in a foreign setting can create is unusual pressure on the shoulders. For that, I recommend some of this goodness:
…and to help clear your head and find some deep relaxation for the small but mighty muscles of your jaw, face and head, add this in the mix:
I also wrote about my go-to self-massage moves for sleep-induced tightness in my article called Wake Up with Yoga Tune Up®. While it’s meant to deal with everyday sleep, this sequence is potentially even more applicable when you’re sleeping in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar bed, so it’s definitely worth taking a look at.
For lots of standing and walking you may not be used to:
Some days, I only walk an average of 3,000 steps. When I’m travelling, I end up walking 10,000-20,000 many days (3x – 6x times as much!), which is great in many ways, but going from so little to so much in a short amount of time can cause some issues in my feet and hips, so here are some remedies for those areas:
Note: this second video is using a YTU Alpha® ball, but the same exercises can be done with a regular ball on the road (using a bit less body weight pressure at first).
Prepare for your positions
While these are all good ways to combat the aches and pains that may arise, don’t wait until you’re in pain to treat your tissues. Once you’re at that point – you’re probably a few hours or days away from relief. Instead, anticipate the chain reaction that leads to these problems and work to prevent them by tuning up before the problems set in. Warm up, roll out, stretch out, and activate the muscles you need to before long periods of sitting, walking and unfamiliar sleep conditions.
Tuning up without Therapy Balls:
After using YTU Therapy Balls, it’s really nice to stretch the areas you’ve made more supple. Even if you’re travelling without any balls, your body can can do some amazing things to tune itself up. Check out my article Integrating YTU Stretches into your Daily Routine to see some great stretches to relieve achy muscles and joints and check out this YouTube page for more exercises.
To learn more about integrating YTU sessions into your life when you can’t take a YTU class, check out my articles Essential YTU Stretches for your Workday and Integrating YTU Therapy Balls into your Daily Routine.
Here’s to safe travels with happy bodies!
Thank you for sharing this information, specially the coregeous ball idea. Definitely when travel the digestive system always suffers the most. So I’ll apply this advices in mind.
I’ve flown with some combination of balls many times in the last few months, and TSA flags them almost every time because X-rays can’t see what’s inside. Some agents are mystified, some shrug and say, physical therapy balls, and one jacked older agent at Boston Logan said, are these like foam rollers? I said, yes, but way more precise. He wrote down the name and said he’d been looking for something like them for a long time!
I have traveled for the past six months quiet extensively and my YTU balls are with me all the time. I even use them on the flight to roll my levator scapula and pac minor 🙂
Reading this article was like being at a party with a lot of appetizers. I liked the variety to pick and choose from within one article w/exposure to different teachers walking their talk.
I’m learning how to use these balls all the time. Thank you for putting together a comprehensive post! At home, I keep balls in my car & bag. After years of trying to “catch” myself slumping or leaning on one side or another, the balls provide the perfect nudge. Same for when I’m in meetings & movies. I’ve used coregeous for my breathing & digesting. My feet love to play. I’m still learning how to use balls with the rest of my body. Thank you!
I tried the jaw massage – Amazing! I’ve been taking my standard size balls on almost every flight I’ve been on recently. My neck tends to get extremely tight on planes. I’ve introduced a few curious onlookers to them as well.
I’m going to try the ankle across the knee, or figure four, next time I roll my buttocks on the ball. I love to have fluffy buttocks! Much better than tight crispy ones! Thanks for the nice examples!
I love the head and face rolling for stress. I clench my teeth at night and find the jaw massage with the ball, and up into the hair line, has relieved so much of the tightness in my jaw and also seems to decrease my tinnitus or ear ringing, which I think is related to tightness in the jaw.
Thanks for this article, Max! I travel a lot for work and am always certain to take my regular size tune up balls and a coregeous ball. The tune up balls are, of course, great for rolling out muscles that get stiff on long plane rides, but for me, the coregeous ball is the real star. It’s great on the plane blown up partially to use as a pillow or to support a healthy posture. It’s also been immensely helpful for my digestive system, which always gets out of sorts when I travel. And it’s so tiny when it’s deflated, which is great considering my always overstuffed suitcase. Thanks for the links to the different sequences – can’t wait to try them out on my next trip!
Thank you for sharing this, Max! Especially when traveling by plane, there are plenty of opportunities and lots of time (waiting to board your plane, waiting for your plane to take off, during flying, etc.) to roll out your YogaTuneUp balls. I like how your article targets possibilities to bring ease to your body during every step of traveling, from waiting area to hotel room. Thank you for adding the videos, they are so helpful.
What a great post. I travel 50- 75% of the time for work. I always carry the entire collection of therapy balls with me. My go to is the Alpha ball. I prefer this one because traveling for works exhausts me and the alpha ball I can use in bed, with the give of the mattress, the Alpha is still able to work it’s magic. Regardless of how I am traveling (planes, trains, or automobiles), I usually have my Plus set with me. Once again, the increase in size will compensate for the cushion of the seats. After reading this, I will try to start incorporating some stretches to help ease the stiffness, aches, and throbbing, my traveling causes.
I always bring my YTU balls with me no matter where I go. In my recent plane ride, I even brought the coregeous ball with me, you can place it behind your neck as your neck pillow; behind your back for support or even sit on it to release some of the tension from sitting in the same position for too long! Just don’t blow up the ball as much. Works wonder!
This is amazing! I’m going to be travelling for work soon and I’m definitely bringing my YTU balls. Standing at a conference all day after sitting in a plane for hours? Roll Out to the rescue.
Great post! I now travel with two sets of YTU balls because inevitably I find another body needing self care. Its a great way to make life log friends.
Thank you for sharing this, Max! I wish I would have been reminded of this before my trip to Peru. After a full day of hiking through Machu Picchu (and many other amazing locations), my body was aching and using my YTU balls would have been ideal. Now I know for next time. Thank you for adding the videos too- very helpful!
This is a great idea! Traveling always makes me tired and achy. On a long plane, I often get very tight in my arms and legs. I will stand up and stretch as much as possible. But that can be troubling for the attendants and others around you lol. I bet using the balls on your feet and back during a flight would help with this. After the flight, I try to stretch properly but you get caught up in everything. But having the ball with you would act as support and also a reminder to do it. Next time I find myself in the air, I am bringing mine! Thanks for the idea!
Thank you! This post is a fave and will bring it together with my balls on next voyage. Cheers
This is a really comprehensive post. I never thought to bring the coregeous ball on vacation – but I will now! What is normally remedied with pills can now be first responded with therapy ball work.
Hit the Road…! I love the title of this article of Max Bayuk and the writing too of course! Make it simple, travel with the ball, all around your world. That is the trick, no matter where you, take some time to relax and play with the balls. Explore and have fun, the routine will install in your life like a natural way of life. Feel more relax. This my new way to be more in proprioception and yoga! Merci encore.
Hit the Road…with your Balls! I love the title of this article of Max Bayuk and the writing too of course! Make it simple, travel with the ball, all around your world. That is the trick, no matter where you, take some time to relax and play with the balls. Explore and have fun, the routine will install in your life like a natural way of life. Feel more relax. This my new way to be more in proprioception and yoga! Merci encore.
Yes! I love videos. Thank you for including so many in this article. I’m a visual learner and I love watching more ways to use the balls. I fly and drive long distances a lot so I use the YTU Therapy Classics untoted. I put one under each of my thighs near my buttocks when I fly and drive. After several minutes, I will then place them on my upper back (usually on my Rhomboids) and just compress. Sometimes I’ll also just do some shimmying side to side to get that cross-fiber action going. Then, I’ll move it down my mid-back and do the same. When I’m on the plane, I still kind of hide them though. I feel like people will give me looks, but I think I need to come out with my balls. You never know you is watching and who may need them. I could help someone with their discomfort and pain as well.
I enjoyed the Corgeous ball video because I didn’t know that beautiful tool, it looks so nice for the belly which I never specifically work deeply. I tried the sequence for the face, OMG, that was very interesting to feel one side so different then the other. I agree that we shouldn’t wait that the pain settles in, but sometime it’s the red flag to move around!
Gifted a friend some YTU therapy balls (along with some exercises) before she left on a cycling trip. She thanks me every day via text message!
Travelling never fails to upset my belly. Looking forward to packing my Coregeous ball along with my travel staples – my Therapy Balls – on next trip!
I really love this! I take my Yoga Tune Up balls with me on all my road trips and even got my husband to take some with him on his work trip to help him ease the stiffness of flying. I have to say that I have had gotten some weird looks from people when I am rolling around on the floor at the airport. I appreciate the emphasis on the bowels, since I suffer from IBS it is something that most people ignore or do not highlight.
Having just come back from rather punishing four days of traveling to Berlin (and waiting 3.5 extra hours at the airport for a delayed flight), I can really appreciate how YTU balls can make life better while on the road (or in the air). I should have brought them with me. It always amazes me that airports offer so little opportunity for people to move — you can shop, or eat, or sit around on mostly quite uncomfortable chairs. Imagine having a yoga class available to pop into while waiting for a connecting flight! And if they had balls, rollers and other equipment, and someone leading a restorative and releasing class, how amazing would that be! This would be my ultimate business idea. Last weekend really made me NOT envy all people that have to fly a lot for work — the jet set lifestyle is probably not the best for our bodies (unless you’re clever and come well equipped, like Jill Miller :)).
Thanks-and agreed-I would not travel without my balls!
I think I ate get in a long travel because all the immobile time. I will us more often mt balls and see if I can keep going travelling with a smile! Thanks for all the ideas!
YTU balls are always in my travel bag with me! Love how convenient they are to bring out anywhere, and I have several clients who travel with them regularly as well!
Totally agree – a must have in the suitcase. All your tips are so helpful. Also, glad to know we are safe in the air with pilots using the balls to relieve stress while flying.
I am about to start traveling extensively soon. I never considered bringing the coregeous ball. Completely disregarded that it deflates. You are so right it helps loosen muscles to help breath. I love how you were able to bring most body parts into this for easy traveling reference.
Great blog! I always travel with my Tune up Balls, in the car and also flying.
I always have my YTU balls in my purse 🙂
I can’t wait to try all that while travelling. it takes a bit of discipline but i can see how it could help me recover from long drives since I drive across the country a fair amount of time (climber’s life means lots of travelling and sitting 😉 and it’s hard to be ready for any climbing day when you numb and stay still for long hours in your vehicule. It could be a quick fix during the travel.
This is perfect! I am always looking for more ways to combat the effects of traveling. Thanks
I always keep balls in the car with me and I have recently started bringing them along on my bike as well. I have done a number of multi day bike trips and made many friends by bring along a foam roller and a lacrosse ball – now that I have discovered Tune Up Balls, they will be coming with me everywhere! I am in teacher training right now and I hope to be able to teach classes along the way the next time I do Ride the Rockies.?
Thank you, Max for this article!! I am currently traveling and am punching myself….in the gut….for not bringing my Coregeous ball. I brought a pair of balls…everyone needs a pair of balls for travel and I thought that would be good enough. NOPE! Like you mentioned, “it’s a great way to ease digestion and help find comfort in your gut”, which I could use right about now.
I travel a fair amount to take continuing education courses and this article was definitely worth a read. With recommendations on which of my YTU balls to bring and how to incorporate them with associated videos, I can’t really go wrong. Travelling with just a carry-on can be tough, but I never thought of putting them in my shoe; what a great idea!
From all the years of running, I’ve found my calves and ankles to be extremely tight. Since discovering the yoga tune up balls, I make it a point to roll on the soles of my feet before I go out for a run to prevent any injuries.
I just returned from a vacation involving several days in a car and a few flights. This week I am taking the Yoga Tune Up training and so wish I had these therapy balls with me during my travels. Unfamiliar beds and lots of hiking were the perfect storm for some lower back and foot issues.
Next time I travel, the balls are coming along for sure.
Great ideas and suggestions for self massage. I plan on taking my therapy balls and coregeous ball with me on my next adventure.
perfect!! lovelovelove the 5min instructions for Head, Neck & Jaw massage.
Great advice, thank you!
From now on, while planning my trips I’ll also plan some time to prevent pain or discomforts.
I wholeheartedly agree with your choice of balls Max, to travel with and use to unwind after being on planes trains and automobiles, just the right size for carry on luggage. a must have in the travel kit..
J’ai marché le chemin de Compostelle avec mes balles. Chaque soir je massais mes pieds , mes mollets et mes cuisses. Ce fut un outil tellement précieux. Plus jamais je ne partirai sans mes balles yoga Tube Up.
I made sure to have my YTU balls on long roadtrips. I used to just tuck the YTU balls under my hips or on my back using my seat for extra pressure and then I discovered I can use the car door for my tight lats, deltoids, bicep and forearms. You can use these pain relievers anywhere!
I travel a lot and as a result end up with many aches and pains, especially after long flights. The therapy balls are now a must when I travel. Especially if I’ll be backpacking or hiking with a backpack.
Interesting that I just read and commented on a blog a few moments ago about breathing, the vagus nerve, and the digestive system. I didn’t make the connection to breath and “rest and digest” until then. The first video here – I had my osteo massage out the diaphragm 2 weeks ago which was quite painful. Maintenance with the Corgeous (R) ball would definitely be to my advantage to help with my digestion issues.
This was a great article. I’m gearing up for a long flight in a couple days and look forward to using these exercises. I had never thought to massage out my jaw and and temples with the ball and really enjoyed the experience. Thanks again!
So much great material here! I’ve had a few clients who are frustrated with the impact their commutes are having on their body. I love being able to provide tips, tricks and tools for them to bring self-care into their commute. I never thought of sneaking my YTU balls into a shoe in a suitcase – thanks for that! I also love the video with the pilot. It’s great to see personal testimonials.
Great ideas for self massage when traveling. I am going on a big trip across the states in the fall and will definitely follow your advice to bring the classics and the Coregeous ball since Virgin America is not Southwest when it comes to luggage allowances.
I always get stiff and sore when I travel. Thank you for gathering all these great stretching and rolling techniques and putting them in one place/blog. Great resource!
I always travel with balls, too! Never leave home without them. And don’t forget to watch out for your travel buddies…share the ball love when you can. Thanks for all the tips and resources!
This is a great resource. Thanks for compiling so many good ideas in one place. Your point about not waiting for pain to arrive before getting in some self-care is so important that it should be at the top of your post!
Traveling does put unfamiliar and excessive stresses on the body. I love how this article addresses many common issues such as digestion, shoulder pain from sleeping, jaw tension from stress, and foot and leg pain from excessive standing, walking ,or sitting. One key factor is certainly getting ahead of the pain! I will be rolling and tuning up my body well before my next trip.
I will be attending a conference the second week of July and will certainly bring my YTU balls to the trip. I always feel awful after flying (plane seats are not ergonomically designed… for those of us who fly coach) so my back is always sore, my neck and shoulders out of neutral alignment… and of course, no time to book a massage. I love how the balls have become my personal masseuse! There is a lot of walking, standing, and sitting taking notes at the conference (it is a scientific conference) and my brain is so busy paying attention to all the information is receiving that it leaves my body letting it take the most unhealthy postures. The balls will certainly provided relief!
These are great tips! I love to travel with my YTU balls. When I am at my tightest from sitting for a long period, the YTU Alpha ball allows me to access my tightest areas on and around my shoulders and hips. After an initial round with the Alpha ball, I am then able to go a little deeper with the regular-sized YTU balls.
Whenever I travel, my balls are always with me! I’ve been stopped at security a few times inquiring what they were. It makes such a difference having the balls on hand and the ability to unwind after being cooped up in a car or airplane. I also find going through a quick hip or foot routine helps me get settled once I’m at my destination.
Thanks for the great tips. I have several trips planned this year and I will definitely be using these videos as resources.
I Love how portable these balls are!! I really enjoyed the hip video and how you can roll anywhere with any outfit on. I’m a runner and sometimes don’t have time to roll after my run – so I Roll ON The GO!!!
Wonderful article! I travel frequently and taking YTU Science of Rolling has completely changed my travel experience. The OGs and the Coregeous ball are my go to and are always in my carry on. The stress of flying and traveling in general is upregulating often causing the sympathetic system to kick into overdrive. And when you’re tired, it’s tempting to go for a caffinated drink, but this can just further exacerbate the over upregulation. Compounding this with crossing time zones can leave me feeling a bit fried and I find can cause difficulty sleeping. To counter this, I like to integrate some pre-sleep YTU practices designed to tune down and activate the parasympathic nervous system, called “rest and digest.” A couple of my favorites include Diaphragm breathing, abdominal – thorasic breath (sometimes with bridge lifts) and the Coregeous ball work. The Coregeous ball work can not only help reduce tension held in the body but also activate the Vagus nerve, which is an essential part of the rest and digest system. Restoring that equilibrium between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system is essential to restoring normal sleep patterns, and helping me kick jet lag quicker.
I have sen most of these videos as I became a junkie after taking you two day YTU workshop with Todd and Amanda. I soaked up as much as could. This has revolutionized my movement and I use these techniques in my class. They all own balls and tell me how they use them in their everyday life.
Of the many good points you covered about traveling with YTU balls, I especially appreciated the warning not to wait until pain settles in!
“…don’t wait until you’re in pain to treat your tissues. Once you’re at that point – you’re probably a few hours or days away from relief. Instead, anticipate the chain reaction that leads to these problems and work to prevent them by tuning up before the problems set in.”
I thoroughly enjoyed your reminder to travel with your YTU balls, I drive a lot and find using my balls reminds me to continuously bring my focus back to my posture. Insightful read with great links to related articles.
Wonderful! I am a seasoned world traveller, my husband even more so, doing years of international round the globe work as a pilot, and fully understand the travel cramps that come with the adventure. The yoga tune up balls are now part of our travel kit! I have introduced the YTU balls to many flight attendants too along the way! I like the video with the pilot, I think YTU balls should always travel in your carry on! Happy safe travels.