How to reduce neck pain for truck drivers mother trucker yoga blog post

Neck Pain: 7 Ways to Drive Pain-Free

Neck pain can be a royal pain when it comes to driving. And when you are a professional truck driver a pain in the neck can absolutely put a halt on your plan to keep rolling.

Neck pain has an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% among adults in the US; nearly 50% of individuals will continue to experience some degree of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences. Says Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research.

The causes of neck pain can be vast from trauma, injuries, poor sleep position, medical conditions, whiplash, stress or muscle strains or pain and even nerve-related issues. When it comes to being a truck driver dealing with a stiff neck can often be a daily concern you just learn to “deal with” day in and day out. Getting stiff neck can often revolve around holding your head in a particular position for a long period of time, or even using one or both arms for long periods of time. Even having your torso rotated a certain way and when it comes to truck drivers, the constant impact of your driving conditions can and does play a large role in neck pain and discomfort.

When your truck is your workplace, home and vehicle learning how to prevent and treat neck pain can dramatically improve how you feel day today. Here’s how to reduce stress and neck pain so you can get back on the road feeling better than ever.

Neck Pain: Staying Pain-Free on the Road

Posture and how you sit in the driver’s seat play a large role in how your neck and back feel day in and day out. The constant stress caused by driving, gripping the steering wheel, leaning on the driver’s side door or only using one hand or arm for daily tasks associated with driving can contribute to neck pain. Adjusting your body and posture while driving can and will reduce pain and get you back on the road feeling relief.

Start with a good driving posture.

The best angle for the back of your seat is at 100 degrees, which is just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel and elbows comfortably on the armrests.

Forawrd head for truck drivers blog post mother trucker yoga

  1. Reposition your head. From the desk to the driver’s seat, the forward-head position is a major cause of neck tension and pain. Think about your ears being over your shoulders. Making this adjustment is not so much a tuck down with your chin as it is sliding back. Check out this video on neck stretches to help you reduce the pain of postural changes.
  2. Use back support. No matter how nice your truck seat is, rarely are they truly made for ideal lumbar support. Sinking back into your seat in your lower back rounds back like the letter “C”. Our spine is meant to be like the letter “S” to help absorb impact and better support what is on top (our head). And if you are a truck driver impact is your constant enemy while driving. I absolutely love BackShield (use the link for 10% off and FREE shipping) back support, which puts your spine in the right position and also protects your back upon impact. Plus BackShield doubles as traction support to lay on after a long day.
  3. Adjust your mirrors. Move your side mirrors so you have the widest field of vision so you can minimize awkward movements with your head at sudden notice. Pay attention throughout the day if you adjust your mirrors for your ever slumping posture as the day goes on. You may need a mid-day stretch to get you standing and sitting tall somewhere along the route.
  4. Avoid eyestrain and impaired driving. There are many reasons you may be straining to see. If your vision is to blame, please seek proper professional aid to receive the proper support. But poor vision can lead to eyestrain while driving, which can cause you to lean forward and slide your head towards the steering wheel while driving. This forward head position puts major pressure and strain on the muscles of the upper back and neck. And also tightens and shortens the muscles of the front of the neck and chest. Use sunglasses if driving in bright light, and use the proper eye protection at night if night lights strain your vision.
  5. Take a break. If you start to get a stiff neck, are feeling neck pain, or better yet want to prevent it, pull into the next rest stop. Do some stretching and walk off the kinks.
  6. Ditch the pillow. After driving all day to consider going pillowless, even for just a few minutes or hours. When it’s bedtime our body recoils into it’s most comfortable position-meaning how we spend our time most. Head forward and knees tucked in and fetal like. Stretch out and lay flat. Slide the BackShield under your back for spinal relief and start to respond to your body properly rather than react continuously.
  7. Stretch. Yes, it’s not fancy, but stretch your muscles, moving your body in different positions than what you do on a daily basis can and will help you reduce pain and strain. Simple easy stretches just a few minutes a day can and will leave you feeling your best on and off the road. Check out what Mother Trucker Yoga can help you with while you are out on the road. During this difficult time, we want you to enjoy a FREE 30 days with Mother Trucker Yoga. Simply use the code: CORONA2020.

Truck drivers are the heroes of our highways and we so appreciate everything you do. But it is vital that you take care of yourself. Living over the road for weeks on end may not be ideal or “typical” but with a little prep and self-care, you can keep your health and physical body in check with as little as 5 minutes a day. You can avoid driving with neck pain by maintaining good posture and making the necessary driving adjustments that can and will take the strain off your neck.

 

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Enjoy this post? Check out some of our other blog posts here at Mother Trucker Yoga

  1. Put Back Pain in the Rear View Mirror  
  2. Benefits of Meditation
Corporate Yoga for Logistics Companies MTY Blog

Corporate Yoga for Drivers and Desk Employees

When people hear about the benefits of yoga most are still imaging a yoga mat, yoga pants, and serene yoga music. But bringing yoga to your company doesn’t look quite like that. Mother Trucker Yoga’s corporate wellness programming brings amazing techniques and benefits right to the desk of the employee.

Yoga is by far one of the most commonly recommended activities to help with any number of issues from stress to flexibility, toning to weight-loss. Mother Trucker Yoga believes in simple easy moves drivers can do while inside their truck, some even driving to help them feel better, wherever they are. But it doesn’t have to start with the driver. Those running the drivers, finding loads, and filtering calls, paperwork and the dozens of other tasks to keep a company running smoothly yoga can be a tool in the company’s toolbox that can meet the need of every employee from the desk to the driver’s seat. 

 

It’s a growing issue and I think it’s about time we give it more attention with followed up action. At any given time, as many as one in six working people suffer from stress and other symptoms related to mental illness, researchers note in Occupational Medicine. Yoga is one of many approaches a growing number of employers are using to combat stress and improve workers’ mental health. 

 

As someone who has been practicing and teaching yoga for nearly 20 years, yoga helps the body, mind, and emotions. Some argue that our mental health is somehow separate from nutrition, or physical fitness, but I beg to differ. When someone makes any number of positive changes in their lives it affects all aspects of themselves in a positive light. 

 

University of Bristol researchers did a study looking at employees who exercised before or during work hours. And what they found was those who exercised during said times were better equipped to handle whatever challenges they had to face that day. It also found that their general mood improved on days they worked out and were less calm on days they did not. I call that a win! 

 

Jo Coulson, a Research Associate in the University’s Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, said: ”Critically, workers performed significantly better on exercise days and across all three areas we measured, known as mental-interpersonal, output and time demands.”

 

YOGA IN THE WORKPLACE

The health of any company or organization heavily relies on the health of its employees. Those that are constantly sick, fatigued, taking PTO for issues relating to their jobs like repetitive strain injuries or mental health days are costing your company’s bottom line hundreds if not thousands of dollars. 

 

As more and more organizations understand the impact of employees’ health on the companies’ performance, there are steadily more employers who have integrated different physical activities into their corporate wellness programs. But it can’t stop at just putting up a gym at your companies headquarters, especially if you own a trucking company. Ask any driver who drives for a company who has a corporate gym how many times they use it and they will most likely tell you zero. Ask any corporate employee how many times they use their company gym and I can guarantee it’s far less than you would think. 

Yoga has been continually an opportunity for its participants to achieve physical and mental wellness. And in today’s society yoga is increasingly finding its way into the workplace. Leading successful companies like Nike, Apple, Google, and Forbes have introduced Yoga into their corporate wellness programs and have reaped benefits like improved productivity and increased employee motivation.

 

Mother Trucker Yoga believes that like with our driver programming and orientation seminars, those behind the desk shouldn’t have to have complicated pathways to mental and physical wellness. Our corporate wellness programming: Employee Stress to Workplace Success is built for trucking companies, shippers and logistics companies and aims to equip the employees behind the desk with tips, techniques, 

 

BENEFITS OF YOGA IN THE WORKPLACE

Maybe you have never considered yoga as being an option for your company’s wellness plan. If you haven’t, I urge you to consider the benefits from the desk to the driver’s seat. 

 

ALLEVIATES ACHES AND PAINS FROM DESK JOBS

Like truck drivers hunched over the steering wheel, office workers to spend long hours hunched over their desks straining their neck much like the drivers of their companies. From repetitious mousing to hunching over the computer screen and long term sitting, this unnatural posture is wreaking havoc on their bodies one mouse click at a time. This daily build-up for strain and pain creates unnecessary stress and PTO that could have been avoided if those at the desk were armed with simples moves and exercises they could do right at their desk, none of which require a gym on-site or even yoga clothes. 

 

INCREASES ENERGY & REDUCED FATIGUE

Working non-stop throughout the day is bound to create stress which can lead to lower energy and burnout in the long run. It is proven that doing any form of physical activity every 30 minutes, including stretching or even standing up, greatly increases blood circulation and promotes oxygenation which is crucial for energy production.

 

The benefits to yoga are endless and you don’t need a 60-minute yoga class to reap what yoga has to offer. 

  • Yoga can increase blood flow
  • Yoga can reduce muscle strain
  • Yoga can reduce fatigue and eye strain
  • Yoga can improve posture and digestion 

Yoga Stretch MTY Blog

IMPROVES CONCENTRATION & FOCUS

The constant need to meet deadlines fix problems and diffuse other work-related situations on top of their own constantly piling workload can create frustration, mental clutter, anxiety, and physical tension and tightness. All of the above can hinder productivity, creativity, and communication, something no company can afford to lose. And something no company should sacrifice with the right tools, programs, and processes in place. 

  • Yoga can improve brain function
  • Yoga can improve mental clarity 
  • Yoga can reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Yoga can improve problem-solving skills
  • Yoga can reduce strain and pain

 

PROMOTES COMPANY CULTURE & MORALE

Improving company culture requires an entire company to focus on improving itself at an interpersonal level first. And when a company promotes an environment that supports such efforts, everyone benefits. 

Stressed employees are more likely to be aggressive, hostile, short-tempered and make mistakes which disrupts any opportunity for a healthy work environment. A successful workplace is one that its employees enjoy waking up and going to each day. You can love what you do, but not enjoy where you do it. I believe that the increase in people leaving the corporate work environment is in part due to the culture in which they work. 

 

By both drivers and desk employees learning yogic techniques they can do right at their desk that can be done in one to three minutes throughout the day can help to elevate mood, and improve company morale.

 

  • Yoga can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
  • Yoga can lower blood pressure
  • Yoga can diffuse tempers
  • Yoga can instantly accessible outlets for frustration  

 

YOGA, GOOD FOR BUSINESS AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line is your company is only as healthy as the people that run it — Your employees. 

 

The power of providing resources and opportunities for your employees to feel appreciated can go a long way. People work for people who feel appreciated. And on top of that if you own a company that deals with the trucking industry isn’t it time we start to appreciate all the people behind that which drives America?

 

All it takes is teaching your company crew how they can improve physical and mental well-being right from the driver’s seat and desk in just a few minutes. And you, the company owner gets to reap the benefits of a happy and healthy functioning workplace. 

 

Teaching things like simple yogic breathing practices, easy yoga stretches, and short meditations can become a game-changer in the long run.   

  • From burning out to breathing exercises 
  • From stressed out to stretching out 
  • From medication to meditation. 

 

Mother Trucker Yoga’s Employee Stress to Workplace Success Seminars and Workshops help your company vitals stay above sea level. 

 

For more information on our corporate Yoga, set up a time to chat with Hope here.

Put Back Pain in Your Rearview Mirror

Put Back Pain in Your Rear-View Mirror

Operating a truck day in and day out takes a toll on a person’s body.  It’s not a secret that if you are a trucker, you sit a lot. It’s just the nature of the job. Stops to move around and stretch usually don’t happen. There just isn’t time for it. Then there’s the heavy lifting and loading and unloading of cargo. All of these things combined create the perfect storm–for back pain.

Unless you have ever suffered from back pain, you can’t really even begin to imagine what it feels like. Every move you make is a painful reminder of the toll that driving truck has taken on your body. Plus, if you don’t have a Backshield yet, you’ve GOT to get one! It will save your back from a lot of pain in the first place. Get 10% off at checkout when you use my link! 

MotherTruckerYoga Backshield Discount

Unfortunately, at some point, every trucker is going to experience some sort of back pain. BUT there are simple movements you can do to help keep your back in the best condition possible. 

Try these FOUR tips to help improve and/or alleviate your lower back pain. 

1. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts are my #1 go-to move for just about anyone with lower back pain. Pelvic tilts are a super simple movement that you can do WHILE DRIVING. Pelvic tilts require you to tip the pelvis back and forward at varying degrees to help release tightness and also build resilience and strength in the pelvic area, lower back and abdomen. They are a simple yet effective exercise for those seeking back pain relief.  

Back Pain Pelvic Tilt

Back Pain Pelvic Tilt

2. Strengthen Your Core

Your core strength is vital in maintaining back support and reducing back pain, yet few really truly understand where their core is, how to access it and how to safely use it. When you are in pain the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself again, so starting small is essential, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Bracing is a position or movement that teaches us how to co-contract our core (contract our entire core muscles simultaneously), that does not require us to suck in our push out. Bracing give us the strength and a feeling for what it is like to use our core in everyday life, exactly what we need to do in the future to not end up here again. 

3. Roll It Out

Using a soft foam roller allows us to access various levels of tissues in our bodies. It is often said that by using a foam roller, one can reduce the tension and pain in several areas of the body. Foam rolling allows us to release the “snag” and move the tissues (fascia, muscle, connective tissue) around in a way that will make it more pliable for movement and more user-friendly for stretching.

4. Stretch

I have been working with individuals for nearly 20 years with all sorts of ailments. Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it. More specifically, addressing your hip flexors through yoga is vital to getting to the bottom of lower back pain. When our front butt is tight it can enable our back body to go haywire. Unlocking your hip flexors and psoas will not only help you feel relief in the lower back (and hip flexors) but also releasing your psoas– due to the nature of our psoas attaching into the diaphragm and ribs, is linked to better breathing as well. 

 

These simple tips could be the changes you need in order to put back pain in your rearview mirror for good. I challenge you to add them to your routine today!

 

10 Tips for a Functional Body

10 Tips for a Functional Body

Did you know that there are over 7 million truck drivers on our roads? Sadly, truckers are one of the unhealthiest populations in our country. The long work hours, little to no time to rest or stretch throughout the day, and the obvious requirement of sitting for long hours on end do not help matters much. These forces work against drivers maintaining a functional body, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yoga has been around for nearly 5,000 years. Yoga is comprised of different poses that help different parts of the body. Most people start to incorporate yoga, or other mindful movements, into their daily routine in order to benefit themselves both mentally and physically. 

It isn’t a secret that life on the road as a trucker isn’t easy. Deadlines quickly become the priority and your health and overall well-being takes a backseat. BUT you don’t need a gym or a yoga studio to stay healthy. There are many things that you can do to help keep your body functional and healthy while on the road. 

Here are 4 changes you can start to make today to start living life on the healthier side of the highway. Get a functional body in no time!

 

1. Do Something While You Are Driving!

 

Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Safety should ALWAYS be your #1 priority. However, if you can multitask while driving I encourage you to do it. Get the most out of the time you have by utilizing hand weights, resistance bands or mindful breathing exercises while driving. Better yet, tune into Mother Trucker Yoga’s Yoga in Seat Guided Audio that guides you through simple exercises to help keep your body and mind limber, happy and healthy while on the road.

 

2. Move

 

How many trucks have ever considered yoga? Probably not many. It’s ok–believe it or not, I’m not shocked. However, yoga is for everyone–truckers included. Truck drivers sit all day, have limited movement opportunities, incur broken sleep patterns, and have added stressors that continually take a toll on their bodies. There are also limited resources available to them to make the changes they know they need to make. Incorporating yoga movements will help you to increase wholeness and wellness. If you are looking for a starting point, the Mother Trucker Yoga Online Studio only costs $7.99/month and you will receive professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes accessible wherever you go. 

 

3. Shed Your Shoes

 

After a long day on the road, take off your shoes! Our bodies are like rubber bands; the tighter a rubber band gets on one end, the more it will pull on the other end. If our fascia becomes stiff, the more we feel that sticky stiffness in our bodies. So what I’m saying is: if your hips are tight, your feet will react, and if your feet are tight, your hips will react. Get the point? So in the end, shed those shoes! And if you suffer from foot pain, know that pain relief is not far.

 

4. Strengthen Your Core

 

Your core muscles to help support you in everything that you do. Strengthening your core helps to improve your posture, decreases lower back pain, and improves your overall stability and posture. As the creator of the Core Functional Fitness Program, I have over a decade of experience teaching and practicing functionally fit exercise. 

 

Making these small changes today will lead to a lifetime of benefits, both physically and mentally. Don’t waste any more time–start today and work on your functional body!

 

Here are some other great resources to help you get started:

Smart Ass Core 20 Minute Workout Video

Attention Truckers: Step It Up with Interval Walking

Pelvic Tilts: Best Move for Truckers with Back Pain

7 Little Changes Drivers Can Make To Improve Their Health

10 Steps to Goal Setting for Truck Drivers

10 Steps to Goal Setting as a Truck Driver

Goal setting can seem like a mountain to climb, but it doesn’t have to be. So much of what we want to accomplish, achieve and get to is available to us. But it is in m experience that if we right from the start don’t set ourselves up for a successful path it’s going to be less than blissful and may end up being one of the 92% that give up on their New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t like resolutions, I prefer goals because rather than telling myself I’m bad and suck here so I should change. I like to look at what I want, and how to get there.

Seven months ago I closed my yoga studio of 14 years. It was hard, and for two to three years prior I talked about doing it. I knew deep down it was what needed to happen for me to reach my bigger goals and dreams, but I was scared. Yep, long story short, I was scared and afraid. I chased my tail, stood still and felt lost, I wasn’t taking action, I never created a plan of how to get there. I just floated through mad because I wasn’t there yet. And frustrated because I saw others making changes I wanted to make and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t happening for me.

I know now. I want to share with you what I figured out when it comes to goals, changes and dreams. What I wasn’t doing and should have been. What I recognized I did do in other areas of my life but I wasn’t applying to this particular situation and once I did, everything changed.

10 Steps to Setting Your Goals and Reaching Them:

    1. Choose ONE goal. Yes, choose just one goals. You may have many, but today just choose one to focus on. If you can’t decide, write them all down in a notebook. Yes, buy a notebook and write all of this down in ONE place. Write down all your goals and then looking at them choose one. What you may discover is that many of then feed into each other. So it will help to see them down on paper. When you choose one goal you will accelerate the process faster. You can only put so much energy into something at once time: exercise, studying for a new career, learning how to food prep, etc. For now, just choose one.
    2. Know where you are staring from. There is a reason addicts that truly hit rock bottom are the ones that make it out and fully recover. Because in that moment they decided to get well, they knew exactly where they were starting from. I tried for years to “get better” get into recovery, and it wasn’t until I truly hit rock bottom that I saw my life as it actually was and I didn’t like it. So I stepped through my anxiety, and guilt and got help. Real help.
    3. Make a timeline. A time line gives your goal an end date. Now be realistic, where are you right now and what would it take to get to where you want to go? Once you decide that…WRITE IT DOWN. Yes, don’t just think it in your head. If that method worked you would be there already…am I right? Yes, of course I am. In that notebook you invested your all of $2 to buy, write down your goal and an end date next to it.

  1. 10 Stepping stones. What are ten things that need to happen in order for you to get to your goal, your dream? What has to happen today, tomorrow, a month from now to get there? I like to work backwards. To lose 100 pounds I need to be working out five days a week and clean eating. Well I don’t recommend doing all of that all at once like a magic trick. Work backwards. Well to clean eat, I need to stop eating at the truck stops so much. Well to do that I have to buy healthy food. Well I can’t do that until I buy a frig to fit in my truck. Well I can’t do that until I reorganize my truck. See the path. This is not to cause frustration, but rather help you see a clear path to get to where you want to go. The same can be true about exercise. Because you know you need to do that to get to your 100 pound goal in one year. Decide if food happens first or second to exercise. Once you do that, working out five days a week. I need to figure out what to do. I need to enlist an expert or follow and work with Mother Trucker Yoga (shameless plug). Then I need to map out my days, even if that means I do it always the night before because my days are different (no excuses right). Research what truck stops have fitness centers and walking trails. Call my buddy and ask to walk and talk at 5pm each day. See what I did there? You can do this too!
  2. Once you set that path, ask yourself what is is achievable today? What can I do today to influence the outcome tomorrow? And just start. No more BS, just start!
  3. Recognize that 70% of the choices we make are actually habits. Yes! Habits! Not choices. You keep saying you are going to walk once you park each day, but you don’t. Instead you eat, shower and watch T.V. Why? Well, because it’s a habit, it’s what you have always done. You are choosing it before you even see it is a choice. So set your alarm, change your shoes mid day so you are ready for action. And when you park, hit the Jon, but don’t take in your wallet and get your a$$ moving and start walking. Call your buddy and chat it up for 30 minutes while you walk and talk. Make a new habit.
  4. Remember it’s a decision. You are not “trying”. When you try, you are giving yourself an out. You are saying that if you fail, it’s OK. A decision is a decision. There is no going back. You are all in. So when you look at your goal in your notebook each day (yes every day) and write it down like it happened each day- you are not “trying” you have decided!
  5. Write it down EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes every day you have to write down your goal and write down what step you are on like it has already happened. Remember that sub-conscious part of our brains, well we remember things too. So do you want your brain to remember that you are “working on it”, “trying” or ARE there?
  6. Motivation comes from within. If you are waiting to be motivated by someone or something, you will be waiting for a long time. I love inspiring people, helping others to see things differently, but ultimately I cannot “motivate” you. I can’t force you out of bed. This is exactly why rehab doesn’t work for those who aren’t ready. They aren’t yet in a place of motivation. They have not set a goal. They don’t yet see the point. But you my friend, you do.
  7. Balance is bull sh!T. Yes, here is a yoga teacher by trade telling you balance is bull. It is, having balance as a goal in life will drive you bat sh!T crazy! I tried this path for more than ten years and just felt like a failure. It’s about learning to ride the waves with grace and swing with the pendulum. Some days life will take you one way and you learn to adapt. Other days you will swing the other way, and just go with it. Because now you have a clear goal, you have a plan and know where you are. So no matter what, nothing it going to get in your way. And if it does, get up and begin again.

Goals are for the motivated. Goals are for those who want more than what they have. If that isn’t you, no worries. Keep loving life exactly where you are! Love that! When I get to my end goal, I will surely do the same. But for those of you who are ready. Let’s jump in. First things first, buy the darn notebook. Buy a pen just for that notebook, and write down your goals.

Don’t think you have any? I beg to differ, I bet you a steak and salad that you have goals, you just have never taken the time to ask yourself what they are and then given yourself permission to write then down and see them with your own eyes.

I’m over here, believing in you. Cheering you on. You got this. You got this because you now have an actual goal. With an actual end date. With an actual plan and steps to get there.

You got this!

Meditation for Truckers

Benefits of Meditation — And Simple Ways To Start Meditating

When your profession demands for you to be on the road for the majority of the year, your physical and mental health can take a turn for the worst. As previously mentioned on the Mother Trucker Yoga blog, “while out on the road, movement can be limited and stress can be high.”

Thankfully, Mother Trucker Yoga has brought mobility and good health back in drivers’ lives. But if you would like to practice another stress-relieving method in addition to our easy workouts, consider adding meditation to your daily routine.

You might be asking yourself, why choose meditation? Can’t I just take deep breaths whenever I feel stressed? Though a post on Pain-Free Working indicates that simple breathing exercises could temporarily alleviate stress, practicing meditation strengthens the mind to cultivate inner peace and improve mental well-being in the long run.

The Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are limitless, and given the sedentary lifestyle of truckers, there’s a lot that can be gained. The road is long and lonely, and it can negatively affect your state of mind and physical health. However, with the help of meditation, truckers can get the job done while still taking care of their mind and body.

Based on scientific studies, here are the benefits of meditation, as shared by Healthline:

  • A good way to manage stress
  • Minimizes anxiety
  • Improves self-image and promotes a positive outlook on life
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Increases your attention span
  • May decrease age-related memory loss
  • Promotes kindness
  • May help battle addictions
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps manage pain
  • Can decrease blood pressure
  • Can be practiced anywhere

Different Forms of Meditation

Believe it or not, there are numerous forms of meditation; so if one form doesn’t work for you, there are still plenty to choose from. One of the more well known forms is yoga meditation. The controlled breathing exercises and postures focus the mind on the practice and calm the mind, all the while promoting flexibility. Yoga is also a type of movement meditation, which is where you draw mindfulness from movement. Tai chi and martial arts also fall under this category. Spiritual meditation is often a huge part of Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. For religious meditations, this often involves prayers to a divine power. For non-theistic traditions, self-awareness and self-actualization are the focal point of the meditation.

Another form is zen meditation. It can be part of Buddhist practice, where meditators must be mindful of their thoughts without judgment. At the same time, focus on their breathing and maintain a
comfortable position. According to Medical News Today, zen meditation requires more discipline and practice, and practitioners often prefer to study under a teacher, considering all the steps and postures that must be followed. With that in mind, this may not be the best meditation form for truckers. To see what other meditation forms could potentially work for you, check out this blog post on MindWorks.

Tips for Beginners

As straightforward as deep breaths in and out may seem, meditation is not as simple as you would think. But by starting off small and practicing every day, you’ll get the hang of it, and eventually you’ll open your mind and body to new techniques.

To help you get started on meditating, here’s what you can do:

1. Designate one area, a comfy chair or cushion for meditation

Getting into the habit of meditating can be difficult; however, creating a small relaxing environment can help set you up for a successful practice, whether that’s just a chair in your living room or a cushion next to your bed. Cushions are definitely recommended for truckers since you can take them with you wherever you go. Eventually, you’ll have the ability to meditate anywhere, but for now, setting up the scene will help you get in the right headspace.

2. Start with just two minutes every morning

Before you go about your day, begin your morning with meditation. Doing it first thing in the morning will naturally become part of your daily routine, giving you a positive mindset to tackle the stressful drive ahead. As for the meditation itself, rather than following a specific type or technique right away, just spend two minutes listening to your own breathing. Take note of the movement of your body as you breathe in and out. When your mind wanders, and it will, just bring your thoughts back to breathing. You could even count each breath. Do this for the first week or two, increasing to five minutes in the following, then possibly move on to guided meditations.

3. Stay connected with a meditation journal

A journal is a great way to track your progress, as your entries offer clarity and insight on how you might need to adjust your meditations and how far you’ve come since the beginning. Daily journaling gives an opportunity to reflect, gain perspective, and most importantly, be positive and kind to yourself. As for the entry format, it’s entirely up to you. It can be as simple as including the date, type of meditation, and comments on the practice, or you can use a guided format. With all these benefits and tips in mind, it’s clear that regular meditation is an easy way to achieve a good work-life balance, practice gratitude, and maintain a positive mindset as you trek across the country on your own.

 

Article written by Mandy Rudd
Only for the use of mothertruckeryoga.com

Pelvic Tilts Best Move For Truckers with Back pain Blog Post

Pelvic Tilts: Best Move for Truckers with Back Pain

When back pain is on the rise, Pelvic Tilts are here to save your back!

Pelvic tilts are an easy and very effective movement anyone and everyone can do, especially truck drivers when dealing with back pain.

 

I watched my father for years try to rearrange himself in his vehicle prior to his drive from Wisconsin to Indiana Sunday nights. He would be gone for the week and back hopefully on Friday night. 

 

I remember watching him try to adjust his seat. Those weird roller balls he had hanging over his seat. But mostly I remember his face when he would get (and out) of his vehicle anticipating that long drive or coming back from it. My father wasn’t a truck driver, but he laid sewer pipe for a living and drove all over the Midwest to do it. He lived in his little Horizon car. A 6’2” rough around the edges man tooling all over the open road to then climb down into the smallest, most dangerous spaces every single day. 

 

To say the least his body was his wrecking ball. Both on the drive and in the hole. But now in his 60’s, practicing a bit more self-care could have saved him one of his greatest assists…his body. 

 

I got into yoga nearly 20 years ago. And as I got older, I began to feel back pain of my own and realized that now more than ever I really needed to zone in on what works. And pinpoint movements that I could do within my daily life. Because time is precious and why not make the most of those in between moments. 

 

I believe that pelvic tilts are one of the fastest ways to reduce back pain and increase mobility. Plus, you can do them while you are driving. 

And the best part is drivers can do simple exercises just like this and then get out and stretch their legs. Afterwards, go into their favorite TA and take a look at the StayFIT Menu for a meal that is just perfect for them. The StayFIT Menu has dozens of healthy options on it made to order. So there is no need for fast food. Just another way to feel better, wherever you are. 

 

What are pelvic tilts?

 

Pelvic tilts are a super simple movement that asks you to tip the pelvis back and forward at varying degrees to help release tightness and also build resilience and strength in the pelvic area, lower back and abdomen.

 

Pelvic tilts are my #1 go to move for just about anyone with lower back pain. They are a simple yet effective exercise for those seeking back pain relief.  

 

As a truck driver time is of the essence. You have miles to get under your belt and a deadline to meet. So I like movements where you can double up. Moves that can be done safely while you are driving. 

 

While sitting many people struggle so much because their spine and pelvis sinks backwards into the seat. Taking their spine from an “S” curve, to a “C” curve, causing you back pain. And to further cause pain, that “S” curve is designed to help absorb impact, when you begin to lose that curve, pain begins to increase. 

 

Where can pelvic tilts be done?

  • Standing
  • Seated (in your truck)
  • Lying down (in the sleeper or on the floor)
  • On a large exercise ball 
  • In a Tabletop (all fours) position
  • In any of the Fitness Centers in the various TA’s located across the US.

 

Easy how-to pelvic tilts instructions:

  1. Sitting in the driver’s seat of your truck, sit upright and tall. 
  2. Notice your pelvis upright (sitting bones underneath you). 
  3. Take one nice full deep breath, in and out. 
  4. Inhale, and work to arch your lower back away from the truck seat (feel your belly drop forward). 
  5. Exhale draw your navel in and round your lower back towards the seat. 
  6. Inhale again and arch the back really exaggerating the arch and try to spread open your sitting bones underneath you and spilling your belly in-front of you. 
  7. Exhale and breathe out fully, rounding out your lower back. Imagine tucking your tail bone between your legs. 
  8. Repeat this for one to five minutes. As time goes on you should notice the stiffness dissolving and more mobility increasing. 

Pelvic Tilts Blog - Anterior Tilt

Pelvic Tilts Posterior Tilt Blog Post

Crossing Your Arms is Optional

I hear from many drivers it’s the discomfort while driving, but then those few minutes once they get out that they really notice the stiffness. And doing pelvic tilts regularly will dramatically help with that stiff feeling you get when getting out of the truck. 

 

Remember to breathe!

 

In anything that you do breathing is essential. The average person breathes 21-24,000 times per day. Imagine what merely tuning into your breath could do for stress, anxiety, fatigue, and yes, reducing physical pain. 

 

Shallow breathing can be linked to fatigue, dizziness, and anxiety. But it can also make using your physical body more challenging. Muscles need oxygen, breathing makes that possible. 

 

You’re Using Your Core Incorrectly

When you engage your abdominal muscles, make sure to focus and really engage them. Don’t just push your belly out or suck it in as you perform the movement. You’ll feel deeper muscles (transverse abdominus) working once you’ve fully engaged your core. Still not sure if your core is kicking in? Take a moment and with your hands on your waist cough and feel your core muscles contract as you do so. 

 

Need a Modification?

There are several ways you can practice pelvic tilts.

When you are laying down ready to go to bed, bend your knees and practice pelvic tilts. Inhale and work to arch your back away from the bed like there is a pin behind your lower back. Exhale and press the pin into the bed without lifting your hips. 

 

You can also try this standing. Either lean against the wall with your feet angled out. Or standing, bend your knees and plant your hands on your knees bracing yourself. Now move through the pelvic tilt sequence several times.

 

While standing and kneeling pelvic tilts can be a little more of a challenge, they’re a better option for people who are pregnant or unable to lie on their backs.

 

Always check in

As always, check with your doctor before starting or intensifying a workout routine, especially if you have conditions, injuries, or are healing from surgery involving your neck, spine, abdomen, or pelvis. And if you are wanting to lie down and practice pelvic tilts, check out one of TA’s various indoor fitness centers available to you along with other great health and fitness options through TA-Petro’s StayFit menu. Just don’t forget your mat! 

 

Why this works

Trucking can wreak havoc on many drivers bodies, particularly your lower back. Long-term sitting and poor posture is a recipe for many drivers leaving them with pain, stiffness and unwanted injury not because they didn’t exercise. But because they weren’t moving the body enough during the day. 

 

Pelvic tilts are an easy movement that keeps the lower back and hips mobile, increases circulation in those areas and reduces stiffness when you get out of the truck. And practices like yoga are a great way to help decrease the effects of back pain and stiffness many drivers are struggling with. 

 

Try It Out

Pelvic tilts can be done anytime, anywhere. No need for fancy equipment. No need for a gym membership or a personal trainer. All you need is your body, driver’s seat and an intention to move the body more. 

 

Making the commitment to insert just a little more movement into your day will make a big difference when you do it consistently. Every move counts. And it’s about the consistency. Can you see yourself doing this regularly as you drive? While you are laying down in the sleeper before you go to bed? Wherever you are. 

 

This simple move could be the difference between you throwing your back out, you getting out of the truck stiff and immobile for three minutes while you try to go from sitting position to standing. Pelvic tilts could be the one simple change that you make that takes you down the road to an improved routine of your personal self-care. 

 

Where do you see pelvic tilts fitting into your day? 

I challenge you to add them in today.

Want to learn more?

Join Hope with Mother Trucker Yoga, alongside TA-Petro and St. Christopher Truckers Fund for all things truckers and health at participating TA-Petros this week and throughout the month of September!

Check out Travel Centers of America’s Facebook Page for details on each of the upcoming events!

 

 

7 Yoga Poses for Bedtime Bliss for Truckers

Sleep Over the Road: 7 Yoga Poses for Bedtime Bliss

Have you ever tried to get sleep while traveling over the road? If so then typically bedtime is not something you would describe as bliss by any means.

But what if there was something you could to to help even just a little bit, take the edge off falling asleep?

Would you try it?

What about for one week, seven nights, to see if it would help you fall asleep?

It can be difficult to sleep anywhere, but when your sleeping quarters consist of a small cubicle on wheels parked next to an idling truck or busy highway. It can be even more difficult.

I have been working with individuals for nearly 20 years with all sorts of ailments, issues and concerns and sleep is one of the top complaints. Yoga or yoga like practices can help dramatically help those choosing to practice fall asleep faster and sleep more restful.

We all need a few minutes each day to decompress, clear our mind, but even more so, stretch and relieve tension from our physical body.

When we choose to not do those things it can be difficult to turn our mind off, relieve that nagging back pain that will keep you up all night. And most importantly we all need some sort of practice to help our central nervous system relax and reset as well.

Or we may end up reliving today, tomorrow all over again.

Here are Mother Trucker Yoga’s Top 7 Moves For a Better Sleep Over the Road:

Bedtime Yoga Pose #1: Standing Stress Relief Forward Bend

Trucking Standing Forward Bend Bedtime

Standing Stress Relief Forward Bend

With soft knees, exhale roll your body forward clasping opposite elbows, allowing your head to hand heavy.
Remain here with your eyes soft (or closed) for five to ten breaths. Inhale, gently roll up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #2: Daily Devotional

Trucking Back Stretch Bedtime

Daily Devotional

Feeling gratitude for the day exhale, sit back towards the heels, knees as wide as comfortable, outstretch the arms and relax the head, feel your breath and you continually soften your entire body from the day. Remain here up to one minute. (Feel free to place a rolled blanket or block between the heels to sit on)

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #3: Bound Angle Bedtime Back Stretch

Trucking Bound Angle Back Stretch Bedtime

Bound Angle Bedtime Back Stretch

Place the bottoms of the feet together.

Exhale roll your body forward allowing your arms to reach outward feeling length and release through your hips and entire spine.

Don’t worry about how far you can fold or reach.

Remain here breathing calmly for up to one minute.

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #4: Driver Hip Flexor Release

Trucking Hip Stretch Bedtime

Drivers Hip Flexor Release

Place block or stack of hand towels or even a pillow placed under your sacrum.

Gently draw your right knee in to your chest as you reach out through the opposite heel.

Working to keep your hips stable. Feel length and release in the hip flexor (front of the hip), remain in the stretch breathing calmly for up to one minute.

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #5: Bound Angle Bedtime Bliss

Reclined Bound Angle Trucking Bedtime Pose

Bound Angle Bedtime Bliss

Place a block or stack of hand towels or a pillow under the sacrum.

Let the knees fall open and the bottoms of the feet come together. Adjust the feet from the pelvis to accommodate the knees.

Breathe deeply and your body falls away from the stress of the day. Remain here for one to two minutes.

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #6: Taming Tension Release Breath

Trucking Bedtime Tension Release

Taming Tension Release Breath

Seated, draw the arms outward from your body.

Inhale through the nose and mindfully drop your breath into your heart.

Retain the breath and silently repeat “I willingly and consciously release all harmful tension”.

Now exhale visualize the tension rolling down the arms and out the palms like toxic waste.

Repeat this for three to six times and then take three to six natural breaths. Repeat as necessary.

 

Bedtime Yoga Pose #7: Full Body Bedtime Breath

Relaxation Pose Trucking Bedtime

Full Body Bedtime Breath

Lying on the floor or in your bed, separate your legs and turn your palms to face up; inhale and imagine drawing the breath up through your feet, legs, pelvis, abdomen, throat and to the crown of the head.

Exhale and draw the breath back down the entire body being mindful of each body part the breath travels through all the way out the bottoms of the feet. Repeat this three to ten times feeling more and more deeply relaxed.

And make sure you are doing this on a quality mattress. Because every driver deserves a better bed. Good night!

You may have read this and are thinking “I can’t do yoga”. Then I want to encourage you to not look at it as yoga. But look at it just like brushing your teeth. The long term effects of not brushing your teeth are, you will lose your teeth.

The long term effects of not giving yourself even just five minutes of stress relieving, sleep educing activities will leave you sleepless, agitated, and at risk of getting into an accident because you are not fully able to drive that eighteen wheeler down the road safely.

To help you even further check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s audio made just for relaxation of body and mind.

And for reading and sharing this blog post you can grab it:

>>>HERE<<<for FREE by using the code: MTYSLEEP

Count Breath Meditation

Mother Trucker Yoga Benefits of Yoga for Truckers

60 Benefits of Yoga for Truckers

Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years, but it has transformed into many things over the last decade.

So what is yoga?

To some it is exercise and stretching.

To others is quiet time, and relaxation.

And to others it looks like a contortion practice that they will never be able to achieve.  

To me, it is a lifestyle. An opportunity to get quiet, move your body, and listen to something I believe many of us are lacking and craving in this overstimulated world. Yoga is something that any truck driver, making long hauls day after day, could benefit from.

 

For the average trucker, who couldn’t use a little time to stretch, relax and decompress?

 

Yoga for Truckers - Warrior II

Here are 60 Benefits of Yoga for Truckers (Reasons to Make Mother Trucker Yoga Part of Your Daily Life):

  1.   Yoga improves flexibility
  2.   Strengthens muscles, conditioning us from arthritis and back pain
  3.   Aids in realigning the spine & help to distribute weight evenly
  4.   Yoga moves all 300 joints
  5.   Helps to keep your spinal disks supple giving them the nutrients they need.
  6.   Yoga offers natural weight-bearing exercise, increasing bone density
  7.  Gets your blood flowing, getting more oxygen to your cells and helps boost hemoglobin & red blood cells.
  8.   Assist in increasing the drainage of lymph, helping to destroy & fight cancerous cells
  9.   Yoga gets your heart rate up lowering the risk of heart disease
  10.   Yoga gets you breathing
  11.   Lowers blood pressure
  12.   Yoga lowers cortisol levels, helping with long term memory, also fighting depression
  13.   Turns up the heat to help to burn calories
  14.  Gets you to become more conscious of your being: eating, social, presence
  15.   Can lower blood sugar & LDL & boosts HDL (“good” cholesterol)  
  16.   Improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even IQ
  17.   Helps you to relax, shifting from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system
  18.   The practice can aid in increasing body awareness
  19.   Yoga reduces chronic tension, muscle fatigue, soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck & face.
  20.   Becomes a way to cope with the business of life
  21.   Can improve immune function
  22.   Helps to expand lung function and breathing capacity above the normal 18%
  23.   Yoga and meditation help to build awareness
  24.   Helps to reduce anger and replaces it with compassion
  25.   Yoga helps to change self-image
  26.  Helps you stand and sit a bit taller
  27.   Can assist you in breaking free from dependencies in life and addictions
  28.   Can help release emotional tensions
  29.   Assists one break away from the ego
  30.   Can naturally lubricates joint
  31.   Yoga increases the recovery rate of the body
  32.   Reduces the effects of aging
  33.   Helps with increasing coordination
  34.   Is an effective ways to cope with stress
  35.   Improves endurance
  36.   Teaches you nothing is impossible and everything is attainable at some level
  37.   Can help to warm the extremities
  38.   Increases heat that can then kill bacteria in the body
  39.   Can normalizes and stimulates endocrine glands (thyroid) activity by compression & decompression of the neck)
  40.   Increases the serotonin to the brain lifting your mood
  41.   Teaches you how to build and attain goals
  42.  The practice invites what is unconscious to the surface so it can be integrated into conscious awareness
  43.   Helps cultivate self-love
  44.   Works on all 700 muscles: strengthening, stretching, toning
  45.   Can aid in regulating hormonal activity
  46.   Assists your meditation practice
  47.   Yoga can teach us how to act without judgment & help us to truly flourish in life
  48.   Yoga helps reduces the risks of heart disease
  49.   Can assist in stimulating the organs of elimination, promoting regular bowel movements
  50.   The nervous system is toned an the lumbar nerve plexus is stimulated, promoting overall vitality of the kidneys and reproductive organs
  51.   Can be a natural way to reduce and eliminate bloating, abdominal discomfort and fatigue
  52.   Helps release shoulder tension
  53.   Helps cultivate body awareness
  54.   Promotes self-discipline, only you know if you are challenging yourself or not
  55.   Refreshes blood flow to the brain refreshing our thinking process and mental attitudes
  56.   Helps to regulate menstruation, reducing pain, discomfort & mood fluctuation  
  57.   Can help assist women through the transition into menopause naturally and easily
  58.   The practice helps cultivate contentment
  59.   Can be practiced anywhere
  60.  Finally, yoga is about you a practice ultimately created by you, for you and to benefit you-a lifestyle approach

 

Let’s not forget the opportunity that yoga has to offer you.

While out on the road, movement can be limited and stress can be high. So it could be a natural solution to both. Time to decompress and breathe, all the while stretching and meeting some of the daily movement requirements of the body.

More than 80 percent of truckers who started on a yoga exercise plan reported reduced stress as a result of practicing yoga. Read more about the benefits of yoga and statistics related to the trucking industry here.

Mother Trucker Yoga isn’t fancy. And it’s no where near complicated. Mother Trucker Yoga is created with simple, easy moves that directly target a truckers biggest concerns while sneaking in some much needed stress relief, breathing and enhanced sleeping opportunities.

Because honestly, who out there doesn’t want to feel at least a little better than they currently do?

What if 3-5 minutes could make all the difference?

And when you do it regularly, imagine how you could feel then?

Don’t be shy about considering adding a little yoga into your life. Because Mother Trucker Yoga wants you to keep on trucking. And one of the best ways you can keep on trucking, is with a little (Mother Trucker) yoga in your life!

Yoga for Truck Drivers | Mother Trucker Yoga

 

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