The 10 Best Car Yoga Poses for Your Daily Commute or Next Road Trip

Written by:

Gemma Clarke

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Car yoga

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

There are so many amazing benefits of 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 conscious 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, 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 of time 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 issues 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.

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 to be 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 fatigue and stress of being stuck in traffic.

During a Road Trip

When you are focused on reaching your destination, you might not be aware of how stiffness and muscle tension build up over a period of 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 to your destination, right? Try to pull over every couple hours to do some car yoga poses to keep yourself feeling your best.

When You’ve Arrived

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 to 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)

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)

This variation of 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)

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 low back, elbow bent, with your right fingertips between your should 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)

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 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)

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 into 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)

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)

Also known as 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)

End this car yoga sequence with a simple spinal twist to further alleviate stiffness from 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 in. As you exhale twist a bit deeper and turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
  4. Hold your twist for a couple 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 absolutely 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 park, with the parking brake engaged. Once you do that, you are ready to practice car yoga!

About Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke is a certified and experienced yoga & meditation instructor. She has been practicing meditation since 2014 and teaching since 2018. Gemma specializes in yoga and mindfulness for emotional wellbeing, and she has taught in Thailand, Cambodia, and the UK. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with meditation to inspire others to live more mindfully, becoming happier, healthier, and calmer. Follow me: Instagram | LinkedIn

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