One-Minute Practice: Decontract in your Car

Driving across the country has given me plenty of time to explore postural balance while in the car. I invite you to try a few simple things the next time you are driving. But first, check that you make a decent ergonomic situation for yourself. Most cars today are made with a “bucket seat” in which you are supposed to be “comfortable” in a slouch. And to make it worse, the head-rest often juts forward, so you cannot sit upright with your head balanced.

A couple of simple adjustments can help a lot. First, can you make the part of the seat you sit on a little flatter and firmer? You can try a firm angled cushion on it, or a folded towel, or even an old phone book. Then, can you make the seat back flatter, so that it supports your whole back to sit more upright? Try a thin, firm pillow, or a rectangular piece of foam that fills in the “bucket” concave aspect of the seat.

Now that you’re sitting a bit higher and more upright, you will have to adjust your mirrors. These little fixes will give you a better starting place in which to adjust your Self.
Here are your Driving Directions, simple and repetitive so you can memorize the concepts and repeat them as needed:

Head—allow neck to be free of contraction so your head can float easily upwards, towards the sky.

Shoulders—allow upper back to decontract away from center so shoulder blades can release out to the sides, away from each other.

Arms/Hands—allow upper arms to hang easily along your sides/allow hands to decontract on steering wheel, while fingers gently release.

Ribs—allow ribs to move freely and three dimensionally with your breath.

Sit bones—allow lower back to decontract and think of sit bones pointing directly down to the road.

Knees—allow thighs to decontract away from hips and think of knees pointing to the front of the car.

Feet—allow calves to decontract away from knees and think of your heels sinking down to the floor of the car. Toes release forward from heels.

Notice that everything is expanding, the opposite of contracting inwards, and allow that expansion to nurture a sense of liveliness and choice about how you are being as you are driving.

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