My body hates to be trapped in the car for more than a few minutes. Luckily, we own a Kia Soul which sits up more and has a seat that is more like a chair. In many cars, like Hondas, for example, it's like DROPPING INTO the seat, and if you have any low back or hip issues, this will only
Regardless of the quality of the seat, it's still a lot of SITTING that we do in a stationary position.
On Sunday, I drove home from Kripalu, a seven hour trip that goes rather quickly, but still, at every rest stop, when I got out of the car, I could feel the damage that was being done.
But this past Sunday was different because I had a tennis ball in the car. Which will be staying in the car from now on.
During my week of somatic psychology studies, we had one day with Bo Forbes, who works with yoga and depression and anxiety. But she is also super practical, which I love, and one of the things she mentioned while we were doing some tennis ball work with our muscles was that now when she drives, she does the tennis ball stuff in the car and it makes a huge diff.
One of the other people in my group, um, took one of the tennis balls back to our dorm room, and when she heard I had a seven hour trip coming up, she gave it to me.
For the entire 7 hours, I was moving that ball all over my back body.
Anywhere from the base of my neck down my spine (off to the side, of course) into my glutes along my hamstrings and behind my knees.
I would wiggle it a little here and there and find The Spot. If you've ever worked with this sort of release, you know what I mean. Then I would let it rest there. Wiggling here and there and paying attention to my breath.
Some surprising things that happened besides being able to get out of the car and not feel like I was just sitting for too long:
First, when it's on your back at any point, of course, it forces you away from the awful c-curve inducing car seat and engages your core, which is a better and healthier and more active way to be sitting. Watch for the tendency to tense in the shoulders when this happens and keep relaxing/melting the shoulder blades down the back.
Second, for a while I sat the tennis ball aside. I immediately started to get sleepy. I put the tennis ball back and was immediately awake and alert. Why? Because I am engaged IN MY BODY which awakens the mind.
Now I won't just use that ball for long trips but anytime I have to sit in the car for more than a few minutes.
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