The Winning Stretch 

3/27/2015

Spring 2015

Summer is nearly here, and that means it’s time for that source of so many fond memories: the family car trip. Of course, sometimes those memories include long stretches of highway and feature the kids archly drawing invisible lines on passenger seats. Boredom and confinement can cause tensions to rise, even with the closest families. This summer, to help ensure all the new memories you make are happy ones, consider adding yoga to the list of family car trip rituals.

YOGA DURING THE JOURNEY

No matter how comfortable the seat, it’s simply not optimal for the human body to be in a seated position all day. The ancient stretches and poses of yoga offer a way to help counteract the ill effects of all those sedentary hours, and it can be easier than you think to adapt some of these practices to a long automobile journey – even while the car is moving. 

 “That’s one of the cool things about yoga,” says Ashtanga yoga instructor and Subaru owner P.J. Heffernan. “You just need a tiny little space for your body to practice it.”

BENEFITS FOR EVERYONE

Kids as young as 3 also can reap the benefits of yoga, says yoga instructor Katrina Woltring, who leads her Mindful Munchkins class at Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Athletic Club. “Long periods of inactivity can cause our emotions to curdle,” Woltring says. “Yoga helps kids learn to control their emotions. Parents and kids alike, by centering ourselves physically and emotionally, can help make the journey the joy it’s meant to be.”

Yoga practitioner and instructor Wendy Kramer agrees. “The poses and stretches are designed to be adaptable to a wide range of skill levels, whatever your current level of ability or stage of life,” she says. 

“We must be flexible to be in the same space with each other for a long journey,” Heffernan says. “Not just physically – though that’s important, too – but in the emotional and spiritual sense of that term.”

“Yoga is about surrendering to the moment,” Heffernan says. “If you release into the pose, the world opens up. It’s not confining; it’s liberating. Like being in the car with your family, you often find that what initially seems uncomfortable becomes wonderful, if you embrace it.”