Warmer spring weather is upon us and that means that many of us will be embarking on road trips in the near future. Although it’s not strenuous, riding in a car is hard on our bodies. We are meant to move and not just sit around. Relieve tightness in your back, shoulders, hips and glutes with the 3 simple yoga poses listed below.
Sitting in a car for prolonged periods of time can cause stress on your back and misalignment in your hips. Take just a few minutes to move through the following yoga poses to relieve the tension and keep your body happy:
- Cat-Cow Pose: Good for an achy back, neck or shoulders. Slowly come up to all fours, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale, and exhale as you round your back towards the ceiling like a Halloween cat, allowing the crown of your head to release down toward the mat. Inhale and reverse the pose, lifting your chest toward the ceiling and allowing belly to relax and sink toward the floor. Lift your head to gaze straight ahead. Continue rounding and arching your back, linking your breath to the movement, 5 to 8 times.
On-the-road modification: If you’re standing on the road side and can’t come down to all fours, come into a wide squat position and place your hands above your knees. Round and arch your spine, linking your breath to your movement, for 5 to 8 cycles.
- Half Pigeon Pose: Good for tight glutes and hips. Starting from Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot to your left hand, bringing your right shin down and parallel to the front of the mat as you lengthen your left leg long behind you. Keep your hips squared to the mat. Walk your hands forward and lower your torso to rest on the mat. Breathe in to the outer hips and lower back. Hold 5 to 8 breaths, then repeat on other side.
On-the-road modification: If you’re stuck curbside or at a rest stop, remain standing and place your right ankle above your left knee, creating a figure 4. Hinge your hips back (hold onto your car’s hood or door if you need help balancing) to stretch out the right hip and lower back. Hold 5 to 8 breaths, then repeat on other side.
- Revolved Crescent Lunge: Good for achy hips and back. From standing, step your left leg 3 to 4 feet behind you, and bend your right knee to about 90 degrees, coming into a lunge with your left heel lifted and right knee directly over right ankle. Bring your hands to prayer in front of your chest and twist torso to the right, placing the left elbow outside the right knee. Keep left leg strong and straight, pressing heel behind you. Look up past your right shoulder and hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
On-the-road modification: If you don’t want to go into full-on yoga poses at a rest stop, simply do a few basic runner’s lunges instead. You’ll still release your hip flexors.
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