Last week, a lady in a red jeep pulled into the oncoming lane of a parking lot to jockey a better position to pull out. I was also left turning, though that had escaped her.
My Italian blood naturally sent me into a fiery anger (I blame a lot on that blood). But, instead I decided to let her go, let it go. I literally had to take a slow, conscious breath.
So many situations require us to step back and see what is important in any given moment. It is not important that I get to where I am going any faster, in fact, it is only important that I get where I am going. I have to send myself into yoga teacher mode, sending out kindness and becoming more pliable in my thoughts.
I had to, in that moment, drive with the same presence that I practice and teach yoga, however imperfect. So it is a conscious choice to drive — and live — like a yoga teacher. Here are some thoughts on how:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Is getting into that next lane really that important? Does it really matter if you get home four minutes earlier?
Put all of those little irritations into perspective. Focus on breath, or focus on something or someone that is really important in your life.
2. Have Some Self-Control
You are a part of everything around you, but it is not just about you. Yoga is about practice and a control that gives you more freedom, not about forcing the body into wild contortions.
Practice a flow of mind as you drive.
3. No Electronics
This applies while driving or while connecting to people around you at any time. This one’s a no-brainer and links right up to being mindful. We cannot be mindful of more than one thing at a time.
Sorry guys. Even research shows that we do not multi-task nearly as well as we think.
4. Respect Others
Really, this time. Need to practice it? Let someone go first in the school parking lot.
Outside the car: Hold the door for someone. Make eye contact or say hello to a total stranger.
5. Be Patient
Going back to the breath really can help. Sometimes, I try and create little stories about people and what their background might be like. If they are being less that polite on the road, maybe it’s because they had a fight with their husband, or maybe they are racing to get to the hospital.
Did none of this work and need something to take your mind off things? Try audiobooks for the commute.
I realize daily that every yoga teacher (especially this one) is first and always a student. Namaste, red jeep lady.
Do you drive like a yoga teacher? Share your tips for mindfulness behind the wheel with us below!