Summer is road trip time. Visiting familiar or unfamiliar places, seeing friends old and new, helps us see ourselves and our lives with fresh eyes. Travel can be both invigorating and exhausting—sometimes both at the same time.
As with life, the journey is the destination. The travel is part of the fun, although it doesn’t always seem like it. When we sit for hours in a car, we’re subject to the same stresses as when we sit all day at our computers, only with the added stress of vibrations and even bumps.
Gas stops are a perfect time to wake up our bodies and minds and work out some of the knots. Here are three poses I like to practice while the tank is filling:
Dog at the Window Pose
This is the same as Wall Dog, but instead of a wall, you press against your car window. Stand a few feet away from your car window. Fold forward and place your palms on the glass. Adjust your feet forward or back so that you can press your hands into the windows and simultaneously feel your pelvis extending back. Make sure your hands are high enough on the window that your spine can be long and straight. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.
Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Raise your arms toward the sky. Clasp your right wrist with your left hand. Root your right foot and bend to the left. Feel free to move around, exploring rotation as well as lateral bending. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Reach for the Sky
Stand with your feet at least hips-width apart. Raise your arms toward the sky. Extend your arms out at about a 45-degree angle. (If you’re old enough to remember disco, make the “Y” in “YMCA.”) Ground your feet as you extend backward and reach out through your arms. Relax your jaw. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.
Rest Stop Yoga
Some rest stops are quite welcoming. If you happen upon a nice, grassy rest stop, there are lots more poses you can practice than the above three. Pull out your yoga mat and try a few invigorating standing poses such as Triangle or Warrior II. Balance poses can also help wake up your legs after long periods of sitting.
What are your favorite yoga poses for road trips?