Do you often jump into the car before exercising or stretching? Perhaps you've noticed that you start out feeling great but arrive feeling stiff and cranky? You've got lots of company. Even driving just 15 minutes at a time, day in and out, can put you at risk of developing long term health problems. Most of those can be avoided by practicing Drivetime Yoga's small stretches and breathing techniques. They have been tested for years and are used by police officers, sales people and busy parents world wide. Some are specifically designed to be done on the road; others only at stoplights or at your destination. These techniques have been developed and tested by Elaine Masters, RYT, with Julie Garner, Physical Therapist and Ergonomist, contributing.
What's the secret? No one else on the road needs to know that you are doing these little techniques! Extend your workouts, your Yoga classes, or just warm up your muscles with these little moves. Ease shoulder, back and neck pain. Practice them often to arrive at your destination feeling dynamic and vibrant.
Practice 2 or 3 of these in your driveway first. Since the basis of Yoga is balance and unity, begin the habit of listening deeply to what your body needs moment to moment and move from there. Honor your own comfort zone. Do only what works for you and always drive safely (See disclaimer below).
1. Conscious Breathing
Anxiety can age us more than the number of birthdays we have accumulated. Schedules can be bruising and we've become multi-taskers out of necessity. Taking time for ourselves is a learned skill. Making space for you in your busy day ultimately gives you more energy for all the other demands in your life. One of the easiest and most profound techniques is conscious breathing.
Harvard's Mind Body Medical Institute found that simply focusing on your breath can lower blood pressure, release stress and create mental clarity. The suggested techniques in Drivetime Yoga will give you more energy and focus. Conscious breathing massages your inner organs and begins with:
Because of the litigation-happy times in which we live, here is the necessary legal disclaimer: The authors and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage, injury or ailment caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information in this booklet. Any liability, loss or damage resulting from the performance of the exercises or the advice and information given here, is expressly disclaimed.
2. Chin Swings
Neck tension plagues many of us daily and contributes to stress and fatigue. A simple way to tone the lower facial muscles from your chin down through your neck, is a Stoplight technique:
3. Bottom Squeeze
Whenever you sit for long periods, and especially in a car, gravity takes its toll. It's harder for fresh blood to flow, to bathe your lower spine, inner organs, thighs and sit muscles; to cleanse and bring renewed energy. A simple way to work those lower muscles is with a slow squeeze and release:
4. Tummy Contractions
Working your tummy muscles with awareness and intent helps tone that area, while aiding digestion and elimination:
5. Upper Arm Pumps
This is a simple Stoplight technique to work the under arm area and stretch through your shoulder blades:
6. Torso Shifts
It's so easy to form habits, settling into the same position when you're driving. Finding little ways to move and stretch helps you on many levels simultaneously: fighting fatigue, toning muscles and bringing you to your destination feeling relaxed and energized. A simple isolation exercise can help relieve back tension while working your midsection:
7. Thigh Swings
Low back pain and sciatic nerve problems are often triggered on longer drives. Here's a simple move that work tension out of the hips while stretching the inner and outer thighs. How far you move depends on the space you have in your car and your flexibility. Because this is a thigh move, only practice this when the car is stopped:
Pelvic Muscle exercises are especially important for women to prevent urinary problems as we age. For men they are beneficial as a deterrent to prostrate problems. They also help to reduce hemorrhoid symptoms. Develop the habit of doing Kegel contractions at every stop light. There are many good variations but the simplest is:
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Happy travels, Elaine Masters
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Published by The YoGo Project, P.O. Box 237, Solana Beach, CA 92075, 858-449-3246