Car-park Yoga

Car-park yoga is what I do on long journeys across the UK. ‘Her indoors’ reckons I do it to show off, attract attention to myself. But on journeys of six hours duration or more, even though my old Skoda does the job, I have to stretch at motorway services to combat driving fatigue. On occasions I used to do Sirsasana (the headstand) but have noticed it induces a relaxed state – not conducive to driving.

'Swami' Alan doing Car-park yoga
Uttitha Parsvakonasana at South Mimms

However, any car seat (except perhaps in luxury brands), is a pain in the arse after more than two hours. It isn’t good to sit in one position for a great length of time. Driving requires repetitive use of legs and feet and in spite of mod-cons, holding a steering wheel creates a lot of tension in the arms, hands, neck and shoulders.

Vrkasana at South Mimms

South Mimms (they say) are the best services on the M25, Britain’s busiest road. I usually stop there to break my 300 mile journey across the UK. At around 7am, the first thing I do (weather permitting) is some stretching, a set of informal exercises we use for a warm-up at Yoga for Blokes. I use the roof bars on my car to aid back stretches. Then I do Car-park yoga, straightforward standing asanas. I like modified Uttitha Parsvakonasana, moving to the full version. On a recent journey, I did Vrkasana. I don’t do it to make a spectacle of myself, there aren’t many people about South Mimms at 7am anyway. By chasing off internal tension I’m more able to sustain concentration for the rest of my drive.

'Swami' Alan does Uttitha Parsvakonasana at South Mimms Services on the M25
‘Swami’ Alan recommends Car-park yoga to combat driving fatigue

I’ve no doubt in time the car-park police will disallow social oddity such as Car-park yoga, but until then, try it! Most people are too indolent, shy or socially restricted to do this sort of thing. Called ‘taking a break’ from sitting in a motorised tin can, conformity says: spend money! eat fast-food, saturate yourself with caffeine; have your wits dulled by mobile phones, be forced to listen to Muzak ….. as you use the facilities. Don’t be doing with Bhoga ….. Do some Car-park yoga!

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