I recently traveled to Australia for two weeks on my first vacation in six years. The Sydney Opera House, kangaroos, koalas, and, of course, Pilates sessions with some of our Aussie Pilates teachers were all on my list of things to experience while touring Down Under. But the long flight and hours of sightseeing left me stiff and tired.
(I knew the flight would be long, but I didn't realize the toll it would take on my body, especially since it had been awhile since I had taken such a long flight: the journey to Sydney was about 16 hours total, including my layover in Auckland, New Zealand.)
On my first full day in Sydney, I was lucky enough to have a Pilates session with Sally Anderson, and, later during my trip, I had another session with Joanne Bezzina. Both sessions helped relieve the tension and compression in my body from the long flight, but there are a lot of small props that could have helped during my time in Sydney, especially after daily, 10-mile walks around the city.
Here are a few small props I wish I had brought with me. All of these props can easily fit in your carry-on luggage, and they will help revive and relax you no matter how long your flight or how many hours you spend walking from one attraction to the next:
When deflated, the Overball fits perfectly in a small carry-on. I like to use it under my thoracic spine to open my chest and under my pelvis to help stabilize it. After sitting for so long, the Overball really helps me feel more open.
To see how I use it, check out my Mat for Traveling class.
Therabands fold up easily, lie flat, and can even fit in a handbag. Use them to open up your chest and to mobilize your feet and ankles.
Use a tennis ball to massage your arches, heels, and balls of feet, as well as other muscles that become stiff from lack of movement.
The long flight made my feet and ankles swell and the amount of walking I was doing each day didn't help with the stiffness I felt. The Parasetter Minis would've helped me stretch my calves and wake up my feet and ankles.
I use an Ultra-Fit Circle Mini that could've easily fit into my carry-on luggage. I spent so much time on my legs and feet, it would've been nice to give some attention to my upper body.
Next time you travel, stow these small Pilates props in your travel bags. You'll be so glad you did. I definitely will be packing these small props on my next trip!