Road Trip Yoga
Posted on 29 July 2015
It’s the season for travel! With the kids out of school, time off looming, and long, warm days, many Americans are heading out for some well-deserved leisure time. Current statistics indicate that 8 out of 10 Americans are choosing to hit the road for their destination, with the average car trip being about 4-6 hours. That’s 4-6 hours of sitting in a car, with your muscles cramped up in the same position, with no chance to stretch out in full range of motion. Yikes! As active people, this is starting to sound less like a fun trip, and more like a nightmare!
There is relief in sight! Road Trip Yoga- a series of small stretches that can be performed nearly anywhere- in the picnic area of a rest stop, while pumping gas, waiting for your mega-caffeine refill, or once you’ve reached your hotel/campsite/cabin/etc. These stretches are specifically chosen for Road Trip Yoga because they activate and stretch a lot of important muscles that typically start complaining during road trips. Standing forward fold, for example, not only gets those cranky back muscles, you also stretch your pelvis, and your hammies, and gets you breathing rhythmically to offset any road rage that might pop up after a few hours on the freeway. A plank (or standing wall plank, if you’re in a spot where touching the ground might not be advisable) can open up those shoulders and back, as well as engage the core, which might be feeling neglected while you drive.
Using some of these multi-tasking yoga moves, the experienced road trippers here at Pronounce have consulted with the experts to come up with a little yoga set to keep the blood flowing, the mind calm, and the muscles stretched when you take a break from cruising the freeway. As with all yoga practices, remember to coordinate your movements with breath, and to honor your body by not pushing too intensely! Your road trip will be infinitely worse with a pulled hammie!
Start in Mountain Pose, and bend at the hip crease into Standing Forward Fold. Don’t push yourself into the pose to start, and don’t lock your knees. Just let your spine reach down.
Inhaling, Half Lift so that your spine is straight, and the crown of your head is reaching forward. Exhale back down into Standing Forward Fold. You may wish to do this 2-4 more times and climb back into the car, depending on your schedule.
If time permits, and your body is begging for more, plant the palms from Standing Forward Fold and step back into a Plank. Modification: If you’re in a place where touching the ground might be a bad idea, step up to a solid wall, place your wrists in alignment with your shoulders, and Wall Plank.
From Plank, exhale, raise your hips, and find your Downward Facing Dog. Again, if you’re in a restroom that needs attention or waiting in line for a double-caff Americano, go instead into your Chair Pose, bending your knees deeply and raising your arms high above your head. We promise it won’t look too weird.
Next, rise up on the balls of your feet, inhale, and step your right foot forward, raising arms above your head into a Crescent Lunge. If you started in Chair, subtly step back into this lunge without falling over. If you need to rest your hands on your leg to prevent yourself from falling into the person waiting in line next to you, that’s fine!
Take a big inhale, and exhale, placing your hands out straight in front and back of you, stepping back into Warrior 2. You should feel a really nice twist in your mid-back region, and by this point, you should have regained feeling in your bottom!
From here, go a little deeper. Exhale and lean down so your right arm is resting on your right knee and reach your left arm as high over your head as it will go, in a modified Side Angle pose. This will stretch out everything from the tip of your finger to the tip of your toe. If it feels great, go ahead and take a couple breaths here, and forget about that guy with the dog who’s giving you funny looks.
Come back up to Warrior 2, and drop your palms again. This time, you’ll drop your left knee and open your chest for a Low Lunge. You’ll suddenly remember there were muscles in your thighs, and that crick in your neck from trying to sleep against the passenger side window might give up a bit.
At this point, you’ll want to go ahead and do the other side. This is Road Trip Yoga, after all, and not a complicated Vinyasa flow. Go ahead and step back into Plank from your Low Lunge, push back into Downward Facing Dog for good measure, then be sure to repeat all of these stretches on the left side to keep your body balanced.
Feel free to skip any of the poses that don’t feel good. If you’re not familiar with a pose, we recommend checking in with the pose guide at yogajournal.com, which is an amazing resource for all things yoga!Have fun, and stay active!