Top 10 Easy Car Yoga Poses for Your Commute!

Written by:

Joanne Highland

Edited & fact checked by:

Jagpreet Kaur

Published date:

Estimated reading time:

Car yoga

Key Takeaway

Car yoga offers a practical way to reduce stress, improve posture, and stay alert during long drives, making it an essential practice for anyone who spends significant time on the road.

Are you one of the millions of people who commute to work? Or maybe you’re planning a road trip for your next vacation. Cars are a big part of modern life, but it’s no secret that too much time in the car can be hard on physical health.

Doing yoga in the car can help alleviate some of the negative effects of driving. Try these car yoga poses next time you find yourself sitting behind the steering wheel. 

Why You Should Try Car Yoga

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There are so many amazing benefits to doing yoga, from becoming more flexible to building muscle tone and even getting better sleep. If you find yourself wanting to experience the benefits of yoga but are unable to attend yoga classes, doing yoga in the car might be a good option for you!

If you drive regularly, you are likely aware of the effects it has on your physical and mental wellbeing. Some drivers report feeling “time stress” as a result of battling traffic, leading to a whole host of health issues like reduced physical activity and poor sleep.

The negative effects of commuting keep piling up. People who drive to work show higher levels of anxiety, an increased risk for depression, temporary spikes in blood pressure while driving, and even higher blood pressure over time.

Even if you are driving for fun on a road trip, extended time in the car will definitely leave your body feeling worn out. Luckily, you can prevent or alleviate many of these issues with a simple car yoga practice!

How Car Yoga Can Help Your Driving

Driving for an extended period leaves you feeling stiff and tight. Doing yoga, even a short and simple practice in your car, helps you release tension. Car yoga is beneficial for reducing the aches and pains associated with driving.

Another common issue drivers face is the stress associated with driving. Yoga is an excellent way to help reduce stress. It encourages you to slow down and practice deep breathing, which calms your “fight or flight” stress response.

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Practicing yoga also improves your blood flow, boosting your energy for those times you feel fatigued. Driving while tired or distracted leads to thousands of car accidents each year. Incorporating car yoga into your drive time will help you stay focused, alert, and safe.

The benefits of doing car yoga are undeniable. Why don’t you try it for yourself and see how you feel?

When Is the Best Time To Do Car Yoga?

Any time you set aside from driving to stretch and decompress will improve your driving experience.

Before Your Daily Commute

If you anticipate yourself sitting in traffic, take a few minutes before you start driving to do a few car yoga poses. Unsurprisingly, studies show that more time spent in traffic congestion leads to increased fatigue. By taking a few minutes to do some car yoga, you can give yourself a head start to combat the fatigue and stress of being stuck in traffic.

During a Road Trip

Road trip yoga

When you are focused on reaching your destination, you might not be aware of how stiffness and muscle tension build up over time. If you are going on a road trip, try to plan regular driving breaks to stop and stretch.

You want to feel good when you arrive at your destination, right? Try to pull over every couple of hours to do some car yoga poses to keep yourself feeling your best.

When You’ve Arrived

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You might notice after driving that you feel stiff and tense. While you might be eager to exit your car as quickly as possible, first try a few of these suggested yoga stretches and see how you feel.

If you’ve had a stressful drive, these car yoga poses will help you slow down and bring awareness to your body. By focusing on the present moment, you will feel more grounded and prepared as you transition to your next activity.

10 Car Yoga Poses

There are many yoga poses you can easily do while seated in your car. The yoga stretches listed below will help you improve your posture and release tension after spending a long time in your car.

Try this sequence of 10-car yoga poses we’ve put together for your next road trip or at the end of your daily commute.

1) Seated Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

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Long car rides can result in poor posture. Seated mountain pose will help lengthen your torso and spine, and bring awareness to your posture.

  1. Begin in an upright seated position, with your spine straight and feet flat on the floor of the car.
  2. Align your shoulders over your hips (rather than leaning back against the driver’s seat).
  3. Rest your hands, palms facing down, on the tops of your thighs.
  4. Take a few deep breaths to calm and quiet your mind.

2) Seated Cat/Cow Pose (Marjariasana/Bitilasana)

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This variation of the seated Cat/Cow pose will help relieve stiffness, open your chest, and stretch your spine, back, and neck.

  1. Begin in Seated Tadasana with your hands resting on top of your thighs.
  2. Take a deep inhale and bring your chest forward, arching your back slightly. Lift your chin an inch or two and gaze upwards.
  3. Exhale and round your spine, dropping your chin towards your chest.
  4. Cycle through these positions with a few breaths.

3) Cow Face Arms (Gomukhasana)

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This shoulder-opening stretch will help you release tension from your upper body while also stretching your chest and triceps.

  1. Reach your left arm up and bend your elbow, bringing your left hand to the base of your neck.
  2. Reach your right arm behind your lower back, elbow-bent, with your right fingertips between your shoulder blades.
  3. If possible, clasp the fingers of both hands together. If your shoulders are especially tight and you have a lot of space between your hands, try holding onto your shirt instead.
  4. Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.

4) Seated Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

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Give some relief to your lower back with a variation of Seated Forward Fold adapted for the car. If you are very tight, you might also feel this stretch in your hips and hamstrings.

  1. Begin in a seated position with a straight back and your feet flat on the floor of your car.
  2. Reach both arms straight out in front of you and rest your forearms on top of your steering wheel.
  3. Lean forward slightly and look down.
  4. If you are in the passenger seat of your car, you might be able to bend farther forward and reach your hands to the floor.
  5. Hold your forward fold for 3–5 deep breaths and slowly bring yourself up to sit up straight.

5) Seated Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Cobra pose is another great stretch for lengthening your spine and back. This yoga pose also promotes deep breathing as it opens your chest.

  1. Sit tall in your seat with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your hands to the tops of your thighs with your palms facing down.
  3. Hinge forward from your hips, bringing your chest forward.
  4. Lift your chin slightly.
  5. Hold your Cobra pose for a few breaths, then return to Seated Tadasana.

6) Seated Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

Now, put the last few yoga poses together to flow through a seated sun salutation. Moving your body will help improve your blood circulation after a long period of sitting in the car. Increasing your blood flow will help you feel more alert when you’re reading to continue driving again.

  1. Begin in Seated Mountain Pose. Sit tall with a straight back.
  2. Raise both arms as you inhale. Exhale and reach both arms in front of you, coming into Seated Forward Fold.
  3. Inhale and come into Seated Cobra Pose, moving your hands to your thighs.
  4. Once more, bow forward into Forward Fold with your exhale.
  5. On your last inhale, slowly sit all the way up with your spine straight.
  6. Repeat this cycle a few times, moving with your breath.

7) Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

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Now that your spine is warm, move on to Twisted Chair Pose.

  1. Begin in a seated position.
  2. Bring your hands into a prayer position at your heart center.
  3. Using your core, turn your body to the right in a prayer twist.
  4. Now, hinge forward and bring your left elbow to the top of your right thigh.
  5. Hold for a couple of deep breaths, then return to your center with your hands in prayer position.
  6. Switch sides, bringing your right elbow to your left thigh.

8) Seated Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

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This is one of the best yoga poses to do after a long car ride. Seated Eagle Pose stretches your upper back, shoulders, hips, glutes, and outer thighs.

  1. Keep your left foot pressing into the floor. Bring your right leg over your left, crossing at the knee.
  2. Cross your right elbow under your left elbow and bring the backs of your hands together. If possible, twist your arms one more time to bring both palms together.
  3. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly release. Unwind your arms and bring both feet to the floor.
  4. Repeat on the other side, this time keeping your right foot pressing into the floor, and cross your left leg over the right.
  5. Cross your left elbow under your right elbow, and bring either the backs or the palms of your hands together as you are able.
  6. Again, hold for a few breaths, then gently release.

9) Seated Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

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Also known as the Seated Figure Four Stretch, your hips and glutes will thank you for this one!

  1. From a seated position, cross your right ankle over your opposite side, just above your left knee.
  2. Keep your hands resting gently on the tops of your thighs.
  3. To feel a deeper stretch, lean forward, keeping your back straight.
  4. Hold for a few breaths, then release and return to Seated Tadasana.
  5. Repeat your Seated Pigeon on the other side, this time crossing your left ankle over, just above your right knee.

10) Seated Spinal Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

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End this car yoga sequence with a simple spinal twist to further alleviate stiffness in your back, spine, and neck.

  1. Begin sitting tall, with both feet flat on the floor of the car.
  2. Turn your upper body to the right, and bring both hands to the outside of your right thigh.
  3. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, twist a bit deeper and turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
  4. Hold your twist for a couple of breaths, then gently return to a forward-facing position.
  5. Repeat your spinal twist to the other side, bringing both outs to the outside of your left thigh.
  6. Again, inhale deeply. As you breathe out, deepen your twist and turn your head to look over your left shoulder.
  7. Hold for a few deep breaths, then return to face forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Practice Car Yoga?

Anyone who spends more than an hour in a car, either as a driver or a passenger, will benefit from practicing car yoga. Whether you have a daily commute to work, or are in the middle of a road trip, practicing yoga in the car will help you feel your best after a long drive.

Is Car Yoga Safe?

Car yoga is safe, and actually can help you to be a safer driver! A bit of movement will aid with blood circulation and help you stay more alert.

How Can You Safely Practice Car Yoga?

Never try to do these yoga stretches in a moving vehicle. Be sure you pull your car into a safe place, whether in a parking space or to the side of the road out of the way of oncoming traffic.

Be sure your car is off, in the park, with the parking brake engaged. Once you do that, you are ready to practice car yoga!

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About Joanne Highland

Joanne Highland is a 500-hour certified yoga and barre fitness teacher. Originally from the central coast of California, she attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 2007 with a degree in music and a minor in health promotion. Follow me: Instagram | LinkedIn | Personal Website

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