As the summer begins, many of us may be hitting the road to take family vacations or make PCS moves (for the military types). Lots of time spent in the car in a seated position is not very good for the overall health of your body. It can cause neck and back pain, as well as tight hips. While getting up and moving around every 45 minutes is not possible on long drives (as is recommended when you have a job requiring you to sit all day LEARN MORE HERE) there are ways you can mitigate the pain and enhance your overall driving experience.
Yoga is a great compliment to road trips. Yoga breathing can help individuals focus on the peacefulness of the ride, as well as combatting that unexpected road rage. Deep breathing and tapping into that calm space within yourself (you know, the part of yourself you focus on during savasana) can help you relax the tension and prevent tight shoulders, hips, and back. It can also help you stay focused on the road and sane when your kids, spouse, pet (or the driver that just cut you off) are pushing you to your limit! Remember you can always find that inner calm through your breath.
Start by inhaling for a count of 3 and exhaling for a count of 3 (while it goes without saying that you should do this with your eyes open – I’m saying it anyway to avoid the possibility that someone might actually try to do this while driving with their eyes closed!) Then inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4. Finally, inhale for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 5…Feel your muscles release and your mind relax. Focus on the road and your breath.
Additionally, practicing yoga before, during, and after a long drive can help prevent pain and injury. Try these poses while on your road trip this summer. They will help you feel better, keep your energy levels up, and prevent unnecessary pain:
Morning: Cat & Cow Series, 5 Sun Salutation Series, Chair Pose, Chair Pose twisting each direction, finish with 5 minutes of deep breathing.
Mid Drive: Wide legged forward bend (add a shoulder and arm extension, if desired), standing forward bend with a twist.
Evening: Cat & Cow Series, 5 Sun Salutations Series, Pigeon Pose, Bridge Pose, Happy Baby, finish with 5 minutes of a final meditation.
Stay safe on the road this summer. Enjoy your families, your vacations, and yourself!