3 Stress Busting Yoga Poses for Your Commute
Christine Chen, Yoga Teacher and Author, Happy-Go-Yoga | My Body
Oh yes, the daily commute is right up there for ramping up stress – nobody loves the crush of people on a train or bumper-to-bumper traffic! However, according to critical research, daily commutes can cause health problems such as spiked and/or chronic high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, lower quality of sleep, back pain, and a greater risk for anxiety and depression.
You might be stuck with your commute for very important reasons, but here’s the upside: you can shift the way you experience your commute for very real health benefits to-and-from the office.
Start with three of my stress-busting poses designed for travel and commutes:
Pose #1 for Trains (and Buses): Walk Your Puppies
- Sit with your legs uncrossed and bend them at the knees at about a 45-degree angle, so your heels are on the floor of the train or bus.
- Flex one foot, bringing your toes toward your ankles, and at the same time, point the toes of your other foot.
- Try to breathe slowly and point and flex to the rhythm of your breath.
Benefits: Pain relieving and refreshing for tired feet; strengthening for legs and ankles; calming for your body and mind through rhythmic, steady breathing
Pose #2 for Planes: Hang Time
- Find a space on the plane where you can stand with your back about 10-12 inches away from the wall.
- Step your feet about shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, and sit your rear against the wall of the plane.
- Hang your upper body and head over your legs, folding over from your hip creases.
- Hold your elbows with opposite hands.
Benefits: Calming for your brain; refreshing for blood flow; strengthening for legs and abdomen; relief for your back
Pose #3 for Automobiles: Rearview Mirror
- At a stoplight, keep your foot on the brake and look at yourself in the rearview mirror.
- Un-furrow your brows.
- Unclench your jaw and separate your gritted teeth.
- Soften your eyes from anger to kindness.
- Smile and/or laugh.
Benefits: Relaxes tense muscles in your face, jaw, and neck and sends a signal to your brain to calm down; laughter releases endorphins, which relieve stress and reduce the feeling of pain
No one yoga pose is a panacea, but adding more mindful movements throughout your day can be a springboard toward regular exercise. Over time, your mind and body will be stronger and more able to manage all stressors of life, including those dreaded commutes.