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The Mental Yoga of Car Driving: 7 Ways for a Stress-Free Ride

by Scott Pine

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So many people need or want to own an automobile. Cars were invented to ease the stress of traveling, but driving these days has become like a war zone. It’s a shame that we've taken something that was supposed to ease transportation and turned it into a nightmare that everyone dreads. Driving is no longer relaxing or as convenient. 

The roads have become like a real-life extreme car driving experience. In the end, you are left with an irritable mood, feeling drained or even with raised blood pressure. In other cases, you may have body pain from long hours of seating in the car. Thankfully, we can turn to yoga practices which help lower anxiety, stress and diminish body pain.

But there are also some yoga-inspired techniques that you can use to stay calm and focused while driving. They can help to make your commute more convenient.

Below, we have shared 7 driving tips and tricks for a stress-free driving which will help you adapt to the road better.

7 Yoga Exercises for Mindful Driving

Breathing Exercises

woman doing breathing exercises in nature

Did you know you could use breathing to reduce stress? In yoga, breathing controls our prana (life force energy). Next time while in the car, observe your breath. You’ll be surprised that it’s not as calm as you’d expect. How you breathe reflects your mind. Therefore, if you are stressed out in traffic, your breathing will be too. Try one to one breathing technique to help your mental state remain calm and focused. Inhale and exhale at the same count with the same intensity. You will stay focused for the rest of the drive.

Repeat a Mantra

idea speech bubble chalk on black board

True happiness is achieved by quieting the mind and being at peace with our immediate surroundings. Accept your reality, whatever it may be. Use this form of yoga to reduce stress and anxiety by repeating a meaningful phrase. You may repeat, “It is what it is” out loud or in your mind throughout the drive. It will help your mind to come to terms with accepting the things that we can’t change. You will find yourself calm and relaxed at the end of the drive!

Commentary Driving

man driving and thinking

Yes, it does sound like an odd technique on how to deal with stress on the road. In actual sense, it is popular, especially with advanced drivers. It involves narrating to yourself everything that’s happening around you on the road. It keeps the brain occupied as it processes all those observations and translates them into words. You will be too distracted to leave room for stress.

Practice Biofeedback

woman driving seen from the back

It is a form of releasing tension from your body naturally and helps you to calm down. The technique works on all the major muscles of the body and it is easy to do it in your car. Feeling tensed? Start by squeezing and holding your muscle to the count of 10 – 15 and releasing. You can start with your shoulders by squeezing them up to your ears, clinch a tight fist or flex your wrists. These are a few examples, but you can try on any part of your body.

Side Stretch

man driving hands on the wheel

It is yet another excellent yoga of driving technique. If you have to face a long commute, you won’t have to worry about your spine. It helps to keep it healthy while you’re seated for a long time. Place both of your hands on the steering wheel, then do a deep inhale as you extend your spine and slowly exhale while leaning to one side. Inhale back to center as you exhale to the opposite side and repeat. You can combine this stretch with your one to one breath to remain focused as you move mindfully.

Meditate to Reduce Stress Before Driving

meditation in nature golden hour

Next time before you hop into the car, take a few minutes to meditate before you start driving. Sit somewhere quiet and meditate to reduce stress as you home in on your yoga breathing rhythm. It doesn’t have to be an intense session. Do it to give yourself time to get centered.

Don’t Put Pressure on Your Hands

one hand massaging another strained

It is natural to find that you’ve put more pressure on the steering wheel due to stress. However, this is dangerous as it may have an impact on your driving. One of the daily yoga benefits is mastering the art of being mindful, so why not practice it here&now, even if you’re driving? Relax your hands and be aware of the amount of strain you put on your hands as you steer. Keep them relaxed to have a free-flowing hand and wrist movement.

Why You Should Take Up Yoga Classes Off-Road, Too

There are numerous benefits to practicing yoga regularly. You will not only be calm on the road, but it will improve your overall lifestyle. Below are more reasons why you should do it:

  • Improves your flexibility
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Protects your spine
  • Improves your sleep quality
  • Betters your bone health
  • Ups your heart rate
  • Drops your blood pressure
  • Boosts your immune function

Conclusion

When you practice yoga, it not only helps calm the mind while driving but also in other aspects of your daily life. All the above are fantastic techniques on how to deal with stress on the road. But to be clear, you have to practice yoga regularly to achieve better results. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes for you. So, the next time you get cut off by another driver, stuck in traffic or in a rush because you’re late, you can fall on your yoga practices to get you through these moments. 

Keep up with Scott’s work on his website AutoExpertGuides, or follow him on Twitter


Want to be calmer and more relaxed through your yoga practice? What better way to get balanced than going on a yoga and SPA retreat? You’ll come back completely relaxed and ready to practice patience!

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