By Silvia Mordini

Traveling makes us nervous. It triggers the stress response (fight-or-flight) to some degree in everyone. What is stress? It is the opposite of relaxation, where your sympathetic nervous system is activated. The most commonly referred to form of stress is “distress.”.

Now consider the areas for potential stressors you experience when traveling: from getting to the airport; to being on the plane; to arriving at your destination. Therefore, it is no wonder why the biggest roadblock to seeking out new adventures is the stress related to the process of travel.  These travel related stressors, “environmental conditions or external stimulus or events” that cause stress trigger the stress response which result in a chemical reaction from brain to body.
I know this from firsthand experience, because for 12 years I was a corporate road warrior traveling up to 70% of the time, both domestically and internationally. Even post-corporate job I lead yoga retreats around the world. Based on my experience from flying over 1 million miles here is a summary of what to expect from these 4 phases of travel and how to reduce your stress.
PHASE 1: Getting ready for your trip
Key stressors: Packing, workplace stress of getting your job in order for while you are gone, worry about the lack of control you’ll have away from your home and job, physical stressor like poor sleep due to anxiety about travel.
PHASE 2: Airport
Key stressors: Environmental stress of getting through Security checkpoints and loud noise levels, extra bright lights, anti-social behavior from fellow travelers, overcrowding, feeling out of control in managing how long the process takes to get to your gate and even when you depart.
PHASE 3: Plane
Key stressors: Physical stress such as discomfort in where and how you are sitting, recycled air, processed food, constant noise, feeling no control over the barrage of smells all around you, annoyance with fellow passengers, indigestion, sleep cycle disturbance.
PHASE 4: Destination
Key Stressors: Environmental stress related to anticipation of what you’ll expect when you arrive, feeling your rights changed from your role at home or work, facing new obligations in a new place.
The antidote to the stress response is the Relaxation Response which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system.  Here are simple ways you can de-stress your travel.
Suggestions for Stress-reduction While Traveling:
1. Breathing exercises: Try balanced breathing, count your inhale and make your exhale equal in length. Take 5-10 breaths.
2. Visualization: Think of an ideal moment or place where you felt the most relaxed. Tell yourself the story in detail of this situation or location. Stay with the story for 2-3 minutes.
3. Mantra repetition or prayer: Repeat a favorite phrase, word or prayer to yourself. Commit to this for 5 minutes or a certain number of cycles. Could be something simple like “I feel safe and peaceful”
4. Yoga poses: At the airport practice 1 legged balance poses to focus and calm your mind like tree pose, or find some wall space and take half downward dog (“L”) pose by putting hands on wall shoulder distance apart an step feet back until body forms an L, enjoy standing forward fold. On the plane try shoulder openers like eagle arms, seated twists, and neck stretches.
What to bring for increased comfort on the plane:
  • Headphones
  • Eye cover
  • Neck pillow
  • Warm socks
  • Earplugs
  • Aromatherapy
  • Extra layer, sweater, light jacket
  • Snacks
Happy traveling!

About Silvia Mordini

SILVIA MORDINI, E-RYT, lululemon Ambassador, Life Coach, Teacher Trainer.
Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia.  Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential.  Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted!

Being a citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer is in her blood. Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the world she is an enthusiastic friend gatherer who loves to discuss happiness psychology, poetry, music, books, travel and philosophy. She is a long-time love anthropologist and humble student of life who enjoys meeting interesting people, spiritual seekers, soul surfers and most anyone who makes her laugh.

Silvia currently resides in Seattle where she makes yoga approachable and inspiring for everyone. Her focus is on bringing more fun on the mat with the hope that how we practice our yoga becomes how we live our life. As an Experienced Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with over 9,000 hours of yoga teaching experience who has been practicing yoga over the last 15 years after being run over by a car and using it to recover physically and emotionally.

Silvia is the creator of Alchemy of Yoga, a nationally recognized RYT200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training (Self-Study) Program in its 12 cycle.  She owned a successful, well-loved Chicagoland yoga studio for 9 years. Silvia writes regularly for along with producing her “Loving Your Day” videos and Love Your Life yoga blog. She is a proud lululemon ambassador, life coach and Manduka ambassador, who offers popular workshops on Living Your Yoga, Chakra Vinyasa, Hip-Hop Yoga, Yoga and Journaling, Ayurveda, Meditation and Manifestation. Silvia and her partner also lead Spiritual Adventure Yoga Retreats Nationally and Internationally through Alchemy Tours.

Silvia can be reached:
Web: or
Twitter @alchemytours
Facebook Silvia Mordini

More from Silvia Mordini on MindBodyGreen

What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat in Italy
5 Tips for Choosing a Yoga Retreat
3 Ways to Prepare for a Yoga Retreat

5 Reasons to Go on a Yoga Retreat