With air travel rates literally reaching the skies, many people are choosing to drive instead of fly to their holiday destinations. But along with the excitement of your trip, you can expect to feel some anxiety and stress. Not to mention, succumbing to the inevitable frustration of traffic and road rage after spending hours in the car. In order to balance the added stressors that accompany affordable travel, get into the habit of stretching while on the road.
Here are five yoga poses, stretches and breathing techniques to undo the tension of long hours in the car and help you arrive to your destination refreshed and happy.
1. Lion Pose: Concentrating on the road for long hours and night driving are sure to cause tired, dry and heavy eyes. This pose can help alleviate some of that. Every few hours, simply do some eye circles in both directions, along with consecutive blinks. You will instantly feel picked up and awake!
2. Wrist Rolls: Gripping the wheel for hours on end can lead to tension in the hands and tightness in the forearms. This stretch can’t be done while you are actually driving, but when you are in the passenger’s seat or pulled over to fill up your gas tank, hold out your arm in front of your body and gently guide your extended wrist to a 90-degree angle both up and down. Then do simple wrist rolls in both directions and you are good to go for another few exits.
3. Shoulder Shrugs: My shoulders often tighten up while driving. Sitting tall in the driver’s seat, roll your shoulders up, back and down — 10 times in each direction.
4. Forward Folds: Your poor back can tense up from all of that sitting and really start to hurt. Every time you pull over for a break, do a simple Standing Forward Fold to soften the stiffness in your low back. When you get out of the car, interlace your hands behind your back and fold forward, letting your arms fall over your head. If your hands don’t easily reach behind your back, use a strap, a jacket or a sock between the hands to help you. This will also release any leftover tension in the shoulders.
5. Breathe: Deep breathing is crucial for long periods of sitting. Do this full yogic breathing technique frequently to exhale stress: Inhale by filling the abdomen and then continue inhaling as you expand and fill the chest. Exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls, and then continue exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inward completely. Repeat this for 20 rounds.