Break Up Your Road Trip With These 11 Car Yoga Stretches

Park and pose.

Car yoga poses and stretches to do on a long road trip.
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Road trips are a staple summer activity, but getting a stiff back after hours (upon hours...) of sitting can truly ruin the mood. That’s why, as you round out mile 100 on your way to the beach, mountains — or that weird roadside attraction in the desert — it’ll be worth it to pull over and do a few stretches in and around your car.

When you sit for an extended period of time, it’s only natural for your muscles to cramp up and feel tight or sore. According to Whitney Berger, a certified yoga instructor and founder of WhitFit NYC, a long road trip can often cause a stiff upper back, tight hamstrings and calves, sore glutes, and even achy fingers (if you’re the driver). But that’s where car yoga poses come in to help sort things out.

The best road trip yoga moves are the ones that reach all the muscles affected by being in a seated position, but they also have to be easy to do on the go — no yoga mat required. Think car-side yoga poses at a rest stop or moves you can do from the passenger seat. Berger recommends stopping every two hours or so, at which point you can shake things out, stretch, and get your blood moving. Here are 11 car yoga poses to try on your next road trip, courtesy of the pros.

1. Forward Fold

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According to Eloise Skinner and Daisy Proctor, yoga teachers who partnered with Sixt to provide car stretches, a forward fold is the perfect move to try when making a pit stop for gas or snacks. Not only is this move extra-calming, but it also provides a nice, deep stretch for tight hamstrings and calves.

- Stand tall and exhale as you bend forward at the hips.

- Bend your arms and hold onto each elbow with the opposite hand.

- Let the crown of your head hang down towards the ground, keeping a slight bend in your knees.

- Breathe and stay in this position for a few moments. Sway around in a way that feels good.

- To release, place your hands on your hips, push down through your tailbone, and keep your back flat as you inhale.

- Slowly raise back up one vertebrae at a time as you return to stand.

- Once you’re upright, roll your shoulders up, back, and down.

2. Neck Rolls

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Whether you’re the passenger or the driver, neck rolls are a go-to car yoga move for relieving stiffness, according to Proctor and Skinner.

- Pull your shoulders back and down

- Tip your head gently to the right side, lowering your ear toward your right shoulder.

- Hold the stretch.

- Roll your head gently forward and drop your chin toward your chest.

- Hold here.

- Finish by gently dropping your left ear to your left shoulder.

- Repeat an equal number of rolls on both sides.

3. Tree Pose

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Tree pose is an easy one to try in a park, at a rest stop, or in your hotel once you reach your destination. According to Karina Blackwood, a certified yoga instructor, it’ll stretch your feet, open up your hips and inner thighs, and improve your posture, which is great after spending multiple hours in a car.

- Stand up tall with your feet together.

- Take a deep breath, slowly raise one foot off the floor.

- Place the bottom of your foot on your opposite calf or inner thigh.

- Steady yourself by focusing on a stationary object.

- Reach your arms up to the sky.

- Hold for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.

4. Seated Cat-Cow

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Get thyself to a beautiful overlook, put your car in park, and try a few seated cat-cows. Instead of doing this classic yoga move on all fours as you would at home, try it right there in your seat to loosen up a stiff spine.

- Inhale as you push your lower back forward and roll your shoulders back.

- Bring your head up and back for cow.

- Exhale and curl your core inward, arch your spine, and roll your head down for cat.

- Feel a stretch in your upper and lower back.

- Repeat several times.

5. Yoga Squat

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While you might get some odd looks from the people parked next to you, Berger says it’s totally worth it to do a deep yoga squat mid-road trip. Not only does it open your hips, but it also wakes up your shoulders and helps with digestion.

- Scooch forward and sit on the edge of your car seat.

- Spread your knees wide and point your toes in the direction of your knees.

- Bring your hands to your chest.

- Press into your palms.

- Press your elbows into your inner knees.

- Take a deep breath to lift your chest and the crown of your head towards the roof of your car.

- Hold 30 seconds.

6. Eagle Arm Pose

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Whether you’re the driver who’s been focused for hours or the passenger who’s been passing around snacks, Proctor and Skinner say it’ll feel good to try an arm and upper back stretch like eagle arm pose.

- Reach both arms out in front of you.

- Wrap your left arm over your right, crossing the left elbow over the right upper arm.

- Place the back of hands or palms together.

- If that feels too intense, bring your hands to your shoulders and give yourself a big hug.

- Hold for a few breaths and repeat with your right arm on top.

7. Wrist Rotations

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To soothe tight wrists, Skinner and Proctor recommend doing a few wrist rotations.

- Gently roll your wrists in small circles.

- Go in one direction for a few rotations, then reverse.

8. Supported Wrist Stretch

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A supported wrist stretch can also come in clutch — no pun intended.

- Reach your arms forward.

- Use one hand to gently bend back the fingers of the other hand.

- Feel a stretch in your wrist.

- Repeat on both sides.

9. Warrior I

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Warrior I stretches your shoulders, chest, and arms. This move also energizes the body, Blackwood says, and can even give you a sense of empowerment — perfect for when you need to get through the rest of your drive.

- Step your right foot forward.

- Point your toes forward.

- Bend your front knee and lower into a lunge.

- Keep your left leg straight behind you.

- Allow your back foot to turn slightly.

- Raise your arms up to the sky.

- Hold for a few breaths on each side.

10. Warrior II

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Get all of your friends out of the car and have them do a warrior II pose. According to Blackwood, this move stretches sore thigh muscles and also improves circulation, which is a godsend after sitting all day.

- Step one foot forward.

- Stretch one arm in front of you and the other back.

- Bend your right knee and make sure it’s directly over your right ankle.

- Keep your head up.

- Reach through each arm, feeling a stretch.

- Hold for a few breaths on each side.

11. Seated Pigeon

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Try seated pigeon while you wait for your friend to get back from the bathroom. It’s great for opening up your hips, Berger says, which can get extra tight on long trips.

- Sit straight up, lengthening your spine.

- Inhale to open your chest.

- Place your right ankle on your left knee.

- Keep your right foot flexed as you hinge forward at the hips.

- Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.


Eloise Skinner, yoga instructor

Daisy Proctor, yoga instructor

Whitney Berger, certified yoga instructor, founder of WhitFit NYC

Karina Blackwood, certified yoga instructor