Aaaaah…the summer family road trip. Miles of highway in front of you. Countless pit-stops, license plate games, and sing-alongs behind you. And hours (upon hours) of time in the car, sitting. Just sitting. You know what you need, right? Some car yoga! Get the peanuts in the backseat (and the waaaaaay backseat) moving and stretching – but if you are the driver? Best wait until the next rest stop.
Belly Breathing: Breathe in deeply through your nose, like you are trying to vacuum up all of the air in the car. Fill your belly like a balloon. Hold your breath for a second. Then exhale through your mouth. You can make deflating balloon noises, release a deep sigh, holler like Tarzan, or make a “shhhh” sound. Repeat as many times as you’d like to become more alert (great for the driver!) and to release some pent-up energy in a safe, silly way.
Rollin’ Along: While safely buckled into seatbelts and car seats, what joints can you roll? Can you roll your toes? Ankles? Roll your shoulders both directions. Wrists, too. Can you roll each finger individually? Your neck could use some rolling. And if you have tweens or teens, then there is sure to be some eye rolling.
Seated Cat/Cow: Again, staying safely buckled in, put your hands on your seat, palms down. Pull your chest toward the seat back behind you while rounding your shoulders forward and dropping your chin to your chest for cat pose. Exhale. Then inhale and lift your heart up and forward while pulling your shoulders back. Lift your chin for cow pose. Repeat a few times (with appropriate sound effects, of course). Instead of just mooing, go right into a cow pose when you spot cows in the field as you drive by!
Roar: There’s bound to be some tension and restlessness on long car rides, so rather than expressing it through a “he’s touching me” episode, try a lion’s breath! Breathe in through your nose and fill yourself up. Then, to exhale, stick out your tongue and cross your eyes while letting out a ferocious “ROAR”. Repeat a few times. Bickering in the backseat? Have the kiddos do two lion’s breaths, roaring at each other. It’s sure to break the tension and create some giggles.
Dance Party: Put on a favorite activity song and do your best chair dancing! Try Kidding Around Yoga’s song “Every Little Cell” – and while you can’t do full jumping jacks, you can try some silly sitting jacks. Another fun Kidding Around Yoga song to shake some sillies out is “Laughter Yoga”.
Rest Stop: If your little ones need a nap but have trouble sleeping sitting up in a car, lead them on a guided meditation. Start by having them close their eyes and sitting very still. Starting with their feet and moving up to their faces, have the kids squeeze their muscles for a couple seconds and then release them, letting them “melt”. When the whole body is calm and soft, lead them on an imaginary trip somewhere – maybe your final destination? Describe the trip using all five senses so they can really get into it. Then let the children rest quietly as long as they can – maybe they’ll even fall asleep!
Want more ideas for yoga in the car? Check out Yoga in the Car Line!