Back in the olden days, road rage didn’t yet exist. People enjoyed Sunday drives down country lanes, drivers joyfully waved in others on highways, and people reserved honking for times when it was truly necessary (or when their baseball team won the pennant).
Fast forward to modern day and driving is no longer the same. We’re all in a rush, we’re all primed for instant gratification, and we’re all sick of traffic hour, every hour. Enter road rage: Most of us have experienced it at one time or another.
While there are certainly extreme instances, such as people pulling guns on each other because someone cut someone else off, road rage doesn’t need to involve violence or anything criminal. It can also refer to aggressive driving or angst you feel because, out of the 200 drivers on the road, you’re the only one not driving like an idiot.
Wherever it lands for you, road rage is never a good thing. It not only leads to dangerous driving decisions but it causes high blood pressure and anxiety.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to avoid it, like take up bicycling! Yoga is something else that may reduce road rage by reframing your way of thinking and teaching you patience. It’s always a virtue but no more so than when you’re late for work.
There are several ways yoga does this, including:
By teaching you to focus on your breath: The power of breathing has been used for centuries to calm down and gain peace of mind. And it certainly is effective at bringing in rejuvenating oxygen and removing stale air. Breathing helps circulation, fosters relaxation, and refocuses the mind.
Because breathing is a major part of yoga, those who practice asanas automatically learn the importance of exhaling and inhaling.
By encouraging self-awareness: Yoga encourages you to know yourself, your shortcomings, and your talents. When you have this kind of self-awareness, you’re better able to grasp when you might be losing control or overreacting to something minor. Is it the end of the world because the person in front of you lingered for an extra second at a green light? Probably not.
By helping you plan ahead: Okay, yoga doesn’t act like your secretary or virtual assistant of sorts. But yoga empowers you and people who feel empowered are more likely to take control of their own lives. Yes, this means planning ahead.
A huge portion of road rage happens because people are running late for something – an important meeting, a doctor’s appointment, their jazzercise class – and they hit the road when they’re already anxious and already in catch-up mode. This primes them to overreact. Planning ahead removes this element and, likely, a lot of road rage in the process.
Some road rage is inevitable – we’re only human, after all. But yoga may be a key to turning off the rage ignition, sitting back, and enjoying the ride.