I love to travel, but I'm not a very good traveler. I don't like sleeping on strange beds. Sitting in a car or an airplane for hours on end is my idea of hell on earth. I get stiff and cranky. I need room to move. I don't like strange beds. I want my own pillow.
Recently Hubs and I took a very long trip to South Florida. There was family involved, which was wonderful. But it was also seven and a half hours in the car, which was not so good. We took turns driving. I'm no good after a couple of hours gripping a steering wheel, so I literally watched the clock. Every hour to an hour and a half, we stopped at a gas station or a fast food chain or a rest stop. Ten minutes to stretch, walk around, do yoga in the grass or the parking lot. And then back in the car. I survived the trip with a few helpful hints to pass along if you're planning a trip this summer.
Ujayi Breathing while Driving
It's surprising how tense I get just driving a car down the road. Ujayi breathing was a big help with this tension.
Sit well in the driver's seat. Gently tuck the tailbone, lift the spine, tuck the chin, and lean the head against the head rest. Open the shoulders by broadening across the collarbone, externally rotate the upper arms, find your index finger mound at the steering wheel. Keep your grip soft. Draw the shoulder blades down the back. Begin a gentle ujayi breath. Pay attention to the road. It should go without saying that you keep your eyes open, but for those of you who tend to completely zone out when you start this kind of breathing: Don't close your eyes! Just breathe, gently and regularly.
Need help with ujayi breathing? Click here.
My Favorite Stretches for the Parking Lot or the Rest Stop
You don't even have to take your shoes off. Use the car or a post like you would use the wall in the yoga studio.
Half Forward Fold (Parsva Uttanasana)
Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Wide Legged Forward Fold (Prasaritta Padottanasana)
At Your Destination
Be sure you find some time to lie on the floor in a constructive rest position. Lie on your back with a towel, blanket, or small pillow beneath your head. Rest your calves on a chair, sofa, or a low table. If you can't find one that is the right height (you want soft right angles at the knees and hips), place your feet on the floor about 16 to 18 inches from your hips and let your knees fall together. Practice an ujayi breath for ten to twenty minutes. Click here if you need more info on constructive rest.