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.

Picture1 shoe

The amount of space taken up by a deflated Courageous® ball and a pair of Therapy Balls is comparable to a single article of clothing (my shorts) and can even fit inside a single shoe.

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:

Feet:

Hips:

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!

 

Enjoyed this article? Read Crawl Back to Health!
Max Bayuk

As a competitive high school athlete, Max developed several chronic over-use injuries that left him on the sidelines for his senior year. His journey of fixing these injuries over the past 6 years has taught him the value in integrating one's movement practice -- be it sports, yoga, or any other kind of exercise -- with body work. He has developed a passion for self-myofascial release and its therapeutic effects, especially in combination with strategic stretching, correct posture, and a balanced lifestyle. Max completed his 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through YogaWorks while at school at UC Santa Barbara in spring 2013, and is now combining his athletic background with his knowledge of yoga, Yoga Tune Up®, and embodied anatomy.

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Maria del carmen restrepo

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.

Nancy Bernhard

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!

Ella Maghen

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 🙂

Laura Woodrow

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.

diana

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!

Jon Connelly

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.

Dawn Williams

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!

Dawn Williams

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.

Jane Thibodeau

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,… Read more »

MMoens

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.

Greg

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,… Read more »

Rita Chow

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!

Katrina LK

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.

Carol Anderson

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.

Sarah Millar

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!