Top Travel Tips from Fit Queen Irene: How Irene Pappas Uses Yoga to Recover from Long Flights

We managed to grab a few minutes with Irene Pappas to talk about her life and Yoga practice on the road, and to get some handy tips for the rest of you would-be jetsetters out there!

Ann Pizer | Posted in:Inspire, Travel, Yoga, Yoga Tips

Irene Pappas, known on Instagram as Fit Queen Irene, has traveled the world as an international yoga teacher. Her signature handstands, splits, and deep backbends have racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles, so we knew she'd have some great tips on how to use yoga to hit the ground running after a long-haul flight.

What are your favourite pack hacks?
I use packing cubes to organise my clothing, and I almost always roll my clothes to make more space. I always pack a small travel pillow that has lavender in it which helps me relax both on the plane and wherever I am staying. Headphones, a good book, and a reusable water bottle are all a MUST for me. I do my best to pack healthy snacks when the flight is 3 hours or more, focusing on whole and easily digestible food.

You're at the airport when realise you’ve forgotten to pack the most crucial thing. What is it?
As long as I’ve got my passport or license I’m not worried about forgetting much. Little things like headphones can be annoying, but easily resolved by buying a new pair or immersing myself in a book (or a nap)!

What do you do on flights?
Sometimes I listen to music and make playlists/ plan my classes. Other times I listen to podcasts and journal. Occasionally I will try to catch up on sleep or watch a TV show.

You’ve decided to cash in your frequent flier miles. Where are you heading?
Home. Haha! I’m somewhat kidding, but over the past 4 years I have travelled so much that I am quickly learning to appreciate the time I spend at home.

Give us a jet lag master class.
Beating jet lag starts during travel.
– Be extremely mindful of eating when on long flights, trying to pack and prepare ahead. It is so important to bring healthy snacks so that when the delirium of tiredness and hunger kick in you are prepared!
– Bring a reusable water bottle and fill up as often as possible. Don’t feel bad about making people move so that you can use the bathroom on flights, it’s good to get up and stretch your legs.
– Try to adjust to your new time zone as soon as you begin travelling. Plan your meals and your naps accordingly, especially if the time change is drastic.
– Prioritise sleep on your first night in the new time zone- whatever that means for you. I take melatonin and that helps my body adjust. I also bring an eye mask to help me stop checking my phone and unplug.

Are there any yoga poses that help your body recover?
After a day of travel, I love this short sequence of poses:
Malasana (squat pose)
Standing forward fold
Low lunge
Half split or pyramid pose
Downward facing dog
Reclined twist
Happy Baby

Any travel don’ts?
Don’t stress – plan ahead and prepare the best you can. If all else fails, just roll with it.
Don’t overpack – stick to the basics and things you love and know you will use.
Don’t get annoyed – this one is easier said than done, especially when traveling with people you love. Remember to take deep breaths, listen to relaxing music, and take care of yourself. We all get cranky when we are tired and hungry.

Find out more about Irene by visiting her website or checking her Instagram @fitqueenirene

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