Have you ever noticed how your body feels after a drive? Do you feel more or less relaxed? Is your neck tight? Do you feel shorter or more compressed?
We are all aware of the importance of being attentive when we drive. We are often more aware of our bodies because there is a demand to be awake and present in order to arrive alive. Going unconscious can be done to some extent while driving to familiar destinations. Have you ever gotten to work or your home with no awareness of the drive? Generally our reaction responses will kick in when we need them, but it is disturbing to realize how easy it is to drive on ‘automatic pilot’.
Being conscious of your posture can help you be more aware and present while driving. There are ways to drive which support your alignment and posture while you are behind the wheel. You can arrive with a sense of your spine elongated and shoulders relaxed, it just takes intention and consciousness focus. Try noticing your level of relaxation and how your joints feel as well as your height before you get into your car. First be aware of your skeletal system. Too often we conform or collapse into the shape of the seat we are sitting in. Unfortunately most cars don’t seem to be designed for good posture. Ideally your pelvis should be slightly higher than your knees. The seat firm enough so that you can be aware of the bones you’re sitting on. Too often we sit behind or in front of the sitz bones. You want to be directly over them so that your pelvis is supported.
When your pelvis is in a stable supported position you can lengthen your back and let your head move toward the roof of the car. You want to maintain this height and length while you’re driving. This can easily be done with your breathing as you take a breath and think of breathing into your sitz bones and bringing that breath up along the front of your spine and out the crown of your head. You can let your tailbone and pubic bone point to the seat while the crown of your head is pointing up. Think of sending your head and tail in opposite directions. I can assure you that when you do this consistently you will develop a habit and reach your destination consciously. You can arrive more relaxed and as tall or taller than when you left.
This way of breathing comes from Cantienica, developed by Benita Cantieni. You can go to her website for more information and she does have a wonderful e-book which is available for purchase.
Galen Cranz and I teach classes combining using the principals of Alexander Technique and Cantienica in the East Bay.
I will also be teaching some classes in Marin County, dates TBA. I hope you find these tips helpful and that they add to your comfort while driving.