Life & Style | Health

Yoga for road trips

Long-distance driving can be a pain in the neck, literally, and also the back. We present tips to ensure your driving leaves you feeling rejuvenated

  • By Bharat Thakur
  • Published: 23:41 October 3, 2008
  • Unwind

  • Image Credit: By Megan Hirons/Gulf News
  • Forward stretch
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Road trips are fun but could also come with problems — exhaustion due to driving, heat stroke, dehydration and indigestion can ruin a trip. So before you hit the road, here are some road-trip must-dos.

Long-distance drives can be a pain in the neck, literally, and also the back, legs and almost every part of the body.

If you are planning a road trip, we have some yoga tips to ensure you come back feeling rejuvenated.

The first thing to do to avoid this is to make sure the posture in which you drive is right. Sit with your back straight. Do not lean forward too much, as this strains the back.

Again, sitting in the same posture for hours together can make the back stiff. Practise these stretches once every hour to help relax your muscles and loosen up.

Back stretch

  • Keep feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place hands on lower back. Slowly stretch backward.
  • Move as far back as possible. Do not overstrain.

Forward stretch

  • Stand about 1 foot away from bonnet of car.
  • Stand with legs wide apart.
  • Lift hands up over head. Stretch upwards.
  • Slowly bend forward, keeping arms in line with ears. Come down till head comes in line with car. Rest hands on car.
  • Push hip back to stretch.

Swaying palm-tree pose

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Interlock fingers and turn palm outwards. Stretch hands above head.
  • Exhale and bend left.
  • Hold position for a couple of seconds. Inhale and come back to upright position.
  • Repeat on right side.
  • Repeat exercise 5 times.

Leg and side stretch

  • Lift left leg and place heel on bonnet of car. Make sure body faces forward while leg is stretched out sideways, as shown in picture.
  • Lift right hand and stretch it up straight. Bend towards leg.
  • Pulse 10 times — 10 small bobs towards leg.
  • Repeat exercise with right leg.

Yoga for the joints

  • Open car door and sit on edge of seat with legs stretched out. Stretch out arms too.
  • Make sure spine is straight.
  • Slowly rotate ankles and wrists. Make 5 circles and change direction.
  • Sit straight and rotate neck clockwise 5 times. Change direction and make 5 anticlockwise rotations.

Yoga for the eyes

Long-distance drives strain the eyes. These tips will help you relax.

Exercise 1

  • Carry some lukewarm water.
  • Cup hand, fill with water and wash right eye.
  • Repeat with left eye.

Exercise 2

  • Sit comfortably with back straight, hands resting on knees.
  • Keep head straight.
  • Close eyes, relax face and body.
  • Open eyes and focus on tip of nose.
  • Hold for a few seconds.
  • Focus on point or object in distance.
  • Focus again on tip of nose.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Close eyes and relax.

These exercises will make sure you are relaxed and energised throughout the drive and help you have a great time.

However, apart from these exercises, there are some things you should keep in mind both during the journey and after you reach your destination:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Make sure you are protected from the Sun. Don't leave caps, sun glasses or sunscreens at home.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit — especially citrus fruits. The vitamin C will boost your immunity and protect you from colds and infections.
  • Make sure you eat at least 5 meals a day. Don't swing to extremes — don't starve yourself or overeat.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • You may have wanted a relaxing holiday but find time for a 20-minute workout session — include at least 20 Surya Namaskars and simple postures for the body.
    Now you are all set to hit that road. Happy road-tripping, yogis!

— Bharat Thakur is the founder of Bharat Thakur's Artistic Yoga. For questions on yoga, write to dubai.artisticyoga
@gmail.com. For more information, log on to
www.bharatthakur.com

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