Even if you are being driven four hours through the desert from LAX to Palm Springs under (self-imposed) duress, road trips are unequivocally fun. You get to sit, maybe nap if your trust issues allow it, eat filthy gas-station taquitos, and play Pegasus Bridge on loop until the aux cord is taken from you. But then, as you pass a billboard that says "Penny Lane would've used Bumble"...tailbone ache! Back spasm! (Ugh, I'm getting old.)
To combat those physical maladies we've enlisted Lauren Porat, founder of YogaSpark (opens in new tab), to come up with some moves that target the three main areas of the body that get tight when you choose to drive instead of fly: hip flexors, lower back, and, in her words, "YOUR MIND." (Caution: Might be hard to do in a moving vehicle, so wait until you get to a rest stop, preferably one with a grassy patch for pet pee breaks.)
Stand tall, root your feet into the ground, take a big breath in, and sweep your arms all the out to the sides, then up. On your exhale, bring your hands to heart center. Repeat 3-5 times, focusing on lengthening the front and sides of your body on the inhales, and grounding on the exhales. Make every breath bigger and more energizing than the last.
Stand tall, shift the weight to your left leg, and grab your right ankle from the front with your right hand. Pull your right foot toward the right side of your butt. Hold for 3–5 breaths and repeat on the left side. You can do this while holding onto something for support, or raise your free arm to the sky for balance.
Forward Fold Hang
Stand with feet inner-hips-width apart, and gently fold your upper body over your legs. Place a slight bend in your knees to make a shelf for your torso, and hold for 5-10 breaths to let the whole spine release. Option to grab for opposite elbows and sway from side to side. Option to take this one with legs crossed for an outer-hip stretch.
Hang in a straddle forward fold, point your toes outward, and bend the right knee, taking the right elbow inside the right knee and the left foot flexed. Switch from side to side 3-5 times, like a speed skater. Option to take hands to the ground for light support.
Stand tall, hands at heart center. Close your eyes and simply think "I am inhaling...I am exhaling." Let the breath be fluid and easy. Do it for as long as you can (while still keeping to your travel schedule!), but even if you only take a few moments here, it's beneficial. You'll get back in the car much more peaceful and ready to take on whatever traffic the road has in store for you!
Namaste. (No road rage.)
https://media.giphy.com/media/3o84TWuA1LQ17yYeK4/giphy.gif (opens in new tab)
Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.
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