Travelling is always a delightful experience! If you are a wanderlust with a gypsy soul, even taking long flights across different time zones could be exhilarating. 

While there is so much excitement that backs you towards the destination bound adventure, there is an irky side to this long flight journey that awaits you post flight. “The Jet Lagged Zombie” becomes your epithet post flight. Well, what if you keep up with all the pre and in flight regimes diligently - staying hydrated, getting some in-flight movement etc. etc. “Been there… done that…” says even an experienced traveler. Yet, the Jet Lagged Zombie mode is just inevitable! Once you get off the plane, you feel fatigued, drowsy, dehydrated, bloated and sometimes nauseous or even have food cravings at odd hours. Your internal system goes topsy turvy making you groggy and disoriented turning you into a jet lagged zombie.

Here’s Why-

  • Your CIRCADIAN RHYTHM is muddled with time zone difference because your body’s cycle still remains stuck up for days to your original biological clock prior flight and is quite slow to retune to the time zone at the destination. This makes you doze off when you are probably not even half way through your day and stay wide awake all night.

  • Post flight, all your body parts are stiff and achy, when all you have been doing is just sitting? Yes, being confined to the cramped-up airline seats for hours leads to swelling of the legs and feet. That’s water retention, common due to prolonged hours of sitting.

  • The gases in your body’s cavities including your intestines expand due to the changes in the cabin pressure during air travel causing the Jet bloat. Considering this, a pre flight sinful indulgence meal isn’t definitely a great idea!

  • The cabin pressure is maintained to prevent altitude sickness. But your body is still dealing with high altitude, which means you are still subjected to mild Hypoxia.

  • These symptoms of the Jet lagged Zombie is typically harmless but nevertheless a pain in the rear! It could take up days for your cycles to get in sync with the local time.

There are several things that contribute minimising the side effects of a jet lag including Yoga - a significant one! While Yoga certainly isn’t a magic pill to help you bounce back from a jet lag instantly, it definitely assists in a smooth transition of your cycle into the new time zone so that you don’t miss out your destination bound adventure. Here are a few asanas that will help you stretch, reset and rejuvenate your body, breath and mind post flight. Since each of these asanas have plethora of benefits, I choose to only emphasise on those benefits for the issues specific to a jet lagged Zombie. Once you arrive at the destination, here’s what you need to bash the jet lagged zombie within –

Sukhasana

This asana brings in a sense of being rooted and grounded. After long hours of travel it helps you unwind by bringing the much needed body & breath awareness, subtly aiding toward silencing the mind after all the travel hustle bustle.

Suryanamaskar

I call them a goodie basket for a reason - the series of movements with 12 postures including the Lunges (Ashwa Sanchalanasana), Forward folds (Uttanasana), Back bends (Bhujangasana), and a Mild Inversion (Adho Mukha Svanasana) are definitely treats to your body that Stretch, Strengthen and Reset the front, back and the sides of your body from tip to toes! This beautiful sequence helps in improving the circulation throughout the entire body, much needed after being confined to your cramped-up flight seats. A minimum 2-3 rounds of Sunsalutations, focusing specifically on every asana in the sequence to reset the body, breath & mind connection.

Suryanamaskar 1-6

Suryanamaskar 7-12 

Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana & Prasaritapadottanasana

Beyond the obvious benefits of stretching the spine, hips, shoulders, chest & back and strengthening the lower body, these are excellent asanas to stimulate the abdominal organs and provide relief from the post flight jet bloat & sluggish digestion. Start with Trikonasana and gradually flow into Parsvakonasana on each side. On completing both sides, bring in the wide angle forward fold. 

Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana & Prasaritapadottanasana 

JanuSirsasana

The asana stretches the spine, hamstring, shoulder & Groin. This forward bending asana also incorporates a slight twist as you lean forward into the pose keeping a lengthy spine. It aids in improving digestion, relieves anxiety & fatigue and is therapeutic for insomnia which makes it very beneficial to minimise jet lag.

JanuSirsasana

Setu Bandasana/Ustrasana

The duo work beautifully on opening the front of your body, stretching the abdomen and chest. They bring in a sense of openness onto the chest, aiding in taking deep breaths there by increasing the lung capacity - much needed after dealing with high altitude.  They help in improving the posture as they bring in spinal flexibility and stretch the hip flexors, much needed after being cooped up on a plane for hours. You could choose between either of the asanas depending on your level of comfort or include both!

Setu Bandasana/Ustrasana

Supta Matsyendrasana/Arda Matsyendrasana

The Reclining and the seated Twists do wonders in relieving any discomfort or pain in the lower vertebrae due to in-flight extended hours of sitting. While detoxifying the body is the intrinsic nature of twisting asanas, they stimulate the digestive system, help in improving digestion and also provide relief from the issues like bloating. You could choose between either of the asanas depending on your level of comfort. Personally, I find reclining twist much more relaxing and therapeutic as it will ease out any of the extra tension along the vertebrae.

Supta Matsyendrasana/Arda Matsyendrasana

Shoulder Stand / Viparita Karani by the Wall

These inversions promote body and mind relaxation by calming the nervous system, relieving fatigue which is exactly what you need when your system’s all messed up with the air travel. They help you unwind, alleviating both physical and mental stress by altering the flow of blood. These asanas help in improving circulation, stretch the back of the legs and naturally aid in reversing the fluid retention in the lower body. You could choose between either of the asanas depending on your level of comfort or include both.

Shoulder Stand

For Viparita Karani, use your comfy hotel bed! Feel free to throw in some fluffy pillows making it extra comfortable.  Close your eyes and stay in this pose for as long as you like.

viparita Karani by the Wall


Apart from the suryanamaskars hold each of the postures for a minimum of 5-7 long and deep breaths, while keeping it longer for inversions. This whole sequence could take you about 15-20 minutes. Irrespective of your mode of travel, give this sequence a try whenever you travel! Feel free to bring in few rounds of alternate nostril breathing & Brahmari Pranayam before slipping into Savasana, prepping you up for the much craved perfect sound sleep and gearing you for your adventure the next day.

So, that’s Yoga bashing the jet lagged Zombie in you!

Love, Sah