'Car Yoga' Is a Thing & You Should Be Doing It Every Time You Drive (PHOTOS)

Adriana Velez | Jul 23, 2015 Healthy Living
'Car Yoga' Is a Thing & You Should Be Doing It Every Time You Drive (PHOTOS)

car yogaSpend a lot of time sitting in traffic or chauffeuring your kids all over town? Planning a road trip for your family vacation? Maybe you should learn a little car yoga. We're not kidding -- there is such a thing as car yoga and it could change your life on and off the road.

Yoga teacher and fitness instructor Chad Dennis created a set of car yoga exercises for a video starring Bar Refaeli as part of Buick's "24-Hours of Happiness Test Drive" content series. And no, you don't perform these exercises while you're driving! Trust us, these are easy and safe to do (as long as your engine is turned off), and they will help you relax behind the wheel.

 

 

Image via Buick/YouTube

 

 

  • Why Every Driver Needs Yoga

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    Dennis notes all the ways driving creates tension in your body. "When you're sitting in your car, most people round in the lower back, and that stresses those muscles and causes chronic tightness there," he says. "Sitting makes the front of your body, your hip flexors, very tight." Driving also causes tension to accumulate in your neck, shoulders, and jaw, which puts a lot of stress on the body. 

    "Yoga takes those muscle groups and moves them in the opposite direction," Dennis continues. "On a metaphorical level, yoga is about bringing your body back to a state of optimal health and balance." These counterbalance exercises help with that.

     

  • This Is Yoga for Everyone

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    "I don't like yoga teachings that make people feel bad about themselves because they can't actually do it," Dennis says. So he and his wife narrowed their list of over 40 possible car yoga exercises down to a handful he knew even his mother, who has had back surgery and had both knees replaced, could do.  

  • It's All About Your Breath

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    Dennis points out the effect that hours and hours spent in traffic can have on us. "You can't control the situation so your blood pressure rises, your breathing shortens, you go into fight or flight response. Breathing in the upper part of the chest sends distress signals to brain."

    So it's important for drivers to check in on their breathing. "If you could do a simple act of watching your breath move in and out of your body -- just that simple act will naturally slow it down," Dennis says. "And when your breath slows down, it really affects the rest of your body systems. So I'm a real believer in the power of breathing."

     

  • Seated Mountain Pose

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    This first exercise helps you focus on your breath. This is a good one to try before you start driving, to help get yourself into a calm frame of mind. The video gives specific instructions, but mostly you're sitting up tall, relaxing your shoulders, and breathing in and out slowly.

    More from The Stir: 9 Incredible Things Your Body Can Do in Just 30 Minutes 

  • Gentle Neck Stretch

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    This is another exercise you can do before your drive -- or after, to release that tension. Check out the short video on the gentle neck stretch.

    And remember, never close your eyes and do yoga when you're stopped at an intersection with the car running!

  • Puppy Dog Stretch

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    "Puppy dog pose" sounds so happy, doesn't it? It's a mini-version of downward dog. Both are a great way to stretch out your back. See the video on puppy dog pose for more.

  • Figure Four Pose

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    For the figure four pose, you're stretching your hips by placing a foot across the knee of your other leg. Lean back as far as you can.

  • Modified Warrior One

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    This pose stretches out your legs -- you'll do one on each side. See the video on modified warrior one for more.

    More from The Stir: 12 New Weight Loss Dos & Don'ts That Will Blow Your Mind 

  • Dancers Pose

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    This pose stretches out your cramped quads -- ahh! See the video on dancers pose for more.

  • Get Out & Stretch on Road Trips

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    Image via Buick/YouTube

    Dennis says he and his wife stop every hour and a half (or so) on road trips to stretch. "Reopening your chest actually helps open up your lungs" so you can breathe better, he says. 

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