Learning to drive is possibly one of the hardest things to do while remaining in a state of calm!

There are many techniques you can use to increase your ability to stay relaxed, and each person will find what works for them. The best MDA can do is to present what we know others have tried and allow you to make your own choices.

This week, we’re looking into Yoga and providing a few tools and techniques to help your state of mind when sitting in the driver’s seat.

Seated Twist

A seated twist is the ideal yoga move to employ when changing lanes. It’s still important to use your rearview and side mirrors, of course. But take the opportunity to look over your shoulder to check any blind spots. And while doing so, lift your spine just before you twist. It provides a perfect stretch to relieve any lower back pain from being in the same position for long periods.

Seated Cat/Cow

Sitting in traffic is the ideal time to practise the Cat/Cow. While keeping both hands on the steering wheel; and engaging a straight spine; inhale and bend your spine slightly. Slowly roll your shoulders back – then exhale while simultaneously rolling your shoulders forward; so you’re ‘hunching’. To make this more effective, pull your navel towards your spine.

Breathe evenly

Although you may think you’re breathing slowly and calmly, you probably are not. In yoga terms, breathing is the mirror of your mind. So if any part of your lesson is stressful, your breathing will be too; which will affect your state of calm and focus.

You can quickly rectify this with one-to-one breathing. To do this, breathe in and out with equal intensity and rhythm. So, for example, breathe in to the count of four then breathe out to the count of four. You’ll be impressed with the effectiveness of this technique!

Side Stretch

This is another way to keep your spine healthy during long drives. As with the Seated Cat/Cow, keep both hands on the wheel. Take a deep inhale, stretch your spine; then slowly exhale while leaning to the side. (These moves need practise as you must keep your eyes focused on the road!)

Once you’ve moved to one side, inhale again while moving back to a central position. Then repeat but move to the opposite side. Use the one-to-one breath technique to stay focused.

Obviously, meditating when in the car is not an option – so please don’t try! But the yoga techniques above will help you stay focussed and calm, and help you stay ‘in the moment’

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