Yoga for Better Driving
I do not have the best driving record. I never intended to drive carelessly or to break any driving laws however I am always rushing from one place to the next. When I rear ended another car- almost totaling my own- it was a wake up call. The “ironic” part? I was on my way to teach a Yoga class where I preach about moving slowly, setting intentions and being present in the moment. I realize now, these things are even more important behind the wheel than in the yoga studio.
Here are some easy ways to take Yoga onto the road.
As soon as you get in your car:
- Set an intention: Take a deep breath and create an intention for your drive. An example of an intention for the road would be “I arrive safely and peacefully to my destination”.
- Eliminate distractions: Driving distractions are everywhere. Do not text, browse the internet, play with the radio, eat food or do anything that could cause you to look away from the road for even half of a second. Multitasking while driving is incredibly dangerous.
- Check in with your body’s alignment: Allow your grip on the steering wheel to be soft. Sit tall in your seat by lengthening your spine and keeping the crown of your head parallel to the roof of your vehicle. Take a few deep breaths and feel your chest and rib cage widen, while the breath becomes longer and deeper. Drop your shoulders down and away from your ears. Allow your left leg and foot to relax; perhaps even drop the outside of the left foot to the floor to release the left hip. Notice if you’re clenching your jaw and soften it by creating space between the upper and lower jaw.
Once you’re driving:
- Be joyful: Turn on an empowering audio-book or a great playlist and let yourself smile! Open the windows and breathe fresh air. Bring joy to the journey rather than completely focusing on the destination.
- Drive with compassion: Allow yourself to feel and express gratitude when another driver signals you to pass them. If you become agitated with another driver, remind yourself that becoming upset will not change anything. Repeat affirmations of compassion such as “May we all have safe travels”.
- Practice mindful driving: Feel the wheel in your hands, open the windows, and listen to the sound of the engine and the watch the road ahead of you. If you are listening to an audio-book, music or playlist set it before starting the car and then don’t touch the dial until you have arrived at your destination. Take long deep breaths.
Hopefully by taking these rules from our yoga practice onto the road we can all use the time spent in our cars as mindfully as we spend our time in the yoga studio.
Does your yoga practice make you a better driver? Got any other smooth driving tips for us? Share below!