Anyone who spends long hours in the car (or driving a truck or bus) knows it can be punishing on the body, not to mention the soul. Is yoga a solution?

If you ask Chad Dennis, the answer is "yes." Dennis is the yoga instructor who tours with the rock band Maroon 5, keeping lead singer Adam Levine and company healthy and calm. “Sitting takes a tremendous toll on the body,” says Dennis, “We aren’t designed to sit. It’s counterproductive to the blueprint of our spine.”

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What's more, says Dennis, “driving can be stressful. Horns are honking, your shoulders start to shrug, tension builds in your face and works down your back. It all puts your system in a mild state of fight or flight.” 

To counter stress, he advises being mindful of your body and your emotional state while behind the wheel. “Take a moment to check in. Are your shoulders riding up toward your ears like a turtleneck sweater? Press them back down. Are you slouching forward? Sit up and find the natural curve of your lumbar spine. Are you holding your breath? Breathe.”

A gentle neck stretch can help relieve physical tension, he adds. While sitting or standing, reach your right hand over your head to touch your left ear. Gently pull the right side of your head toward your right shoulder and hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side.

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3 rest-stop yoga postures for drivers

“If you break it down to ergonomics and anatomy, when you sit in a car your hips are flexed, which puts strain on the muscles and joints in the lower back, the spinal column, discs and ligaments. To achieve a state of balance, you have to take those joint and muscle groups gently in the opposite direction.” 

Dennis modified these three basic yoga poses, which do just that, for Buick's "24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive" experience. Try them during rest stops and at the end of long drives. 

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Modified Dancer’s Pose: With your hand on the hood of your car for balance, bend your right knee and grab your foot behind you with your right hand. Press your right foot straight back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh and your hip. Repeat on the other side.

Modified Warrior I Pose: Place both hands on the hood of your car so you’re facing the windshield. Take a step back with your right foot. Keeping both feet flat on the ground, bend your front knee and straighten your back leg so you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and calves. Switch legs and repeat.

Puppy Dog Pose: Standing about an arms’ length away, place both hands on the hood of your car. Keeping your arms straight, bend both knees and send your hips toward your heels until you feel a stretch in your arms and back. Drop your head for a more intense stretch. 

Katherine Oakes is a health and lifestyle writer and dedicated hatha yoga instructor. She strives to live an inspired, conscious life and enjoys homemade guacamole.