Tag Archive for: road rage

Who doesn’t have road rage from time to time? This Axis Yoga Teacher Training student noticed anger on the road was becoming just too common and decided to use lessons from the Ayurveda segment of the training to reduce these negative feelings. Read how changes in daily habits helped this yogi find some zen on the road!

After taking the Ayurvedic quiz and speaking with Susan, I determined my prakruti to be V3P3K2. Recently I’ve been experiencing symptoms of excess pitta: frustration, and anger-specifically when I’m driving. I explained to class that I feel quite happy and peaceful for the most part, but when I step behind the wheel I develop quite a short fuse. In addition, I’ve been struggling to manage my daily stressors since I started my own business. The inability to manage my stress response in a healthy way has definitely affected my attitude and it seems to all come out when I’m driving!!

In an effort to manage my stress and become a more peaceful driver, I have implemented a number of practices designed to balance/reduce my excess pitta. Because I have many food sensitivities, I chose not to change my diet. Instead, I adopted personal care rituals each morning including: oil pulling, massaging pre-shower with almond oil and tongue scraping. I also wanted to implement a yoga routine in the morning including: specific asana, pranayama and meditation. Susan also suggested I practice deep belly breathing while driving to calm myself down and get centered.

I initially thought that this new routine would be a piece of cake. I quickly learned how foolish that was! I considered myself to be a morning person until I was forcing myself to wake up early to do sun salutations and grease my body up with oil. The asana, pranayama and meditation was extremely difficult for me to do in the morning. My morning meditation went something like this:

Om. I’m hungry. And uncomfortable. Om. And still really tired. I should just go back to sleep for a couple of minutes. Om. I have so much to do today. In fact, I should be getting organized for the day right now. Om. I have to figure out how I’m going to make it to three different appointments on opposite sides of town. Om.

After week one, I decided to try this routine later in the evening. At night, I was already done with all of my tasks for the day so I wasn’t constantly creating to-do lists in my mind. It also helped me go to sleep better, which sometimes I struggle with. I found that I woke up feeling better rested and in a better mood on days that I did my full routine. I continued with my personal care routine in the morning. I loved the oil pulling and quickly made this into a new habit! I liked the idea of massaging myself with oil but quickly started to break out from the almond oil. I decided to only use the oil on my feet, arms and legs and that seemed okay. I wasn’t crazy about the tongue scrapping so I stopped doing that when this experiment was over.

I really enjoyed doing deep breathing exercises while driving. It totally calmed me down and gave me something else to focus on besides the other drivers on the road. I also found myself doing breathing exercises randomly throughout my day whenever I found myself in a stressful situation; it almost came automatically.

If I were to summarize my experience, I can’t say that I believe the personal care routine reduced my pitta and helped my road rage or stress in any kind of direct way. I do think that it’s a nice way to practice self care as part of a daily routine. I have noticed a difference in my stress management abilities since I have been practicing more asana, pranayama and meditation. I’ve gotten to the point where I look forward to deep breathing and chanting, instead of viewing it as a chore. To summarize how my experiment has affected my road rage specifically, I want to tell a story:

I left class last Tuesday evening and was headed home down Colorado Blvd. I was about ten minutes into my drive when I saw a police car parked in the median monitoring speeds. I immediately panicked and prepared to slam on my breaks when I glanced at my speedometer and saw that I was going the speed limit. This may not sound all that interesting except for the fact that it was 9:30 PM on a Tuesday night and I was practically all alone on the road. Normally, I would be going a good 10-20 mph over the speed limit to rush home as quickly as possible. Instead, I was driving at the exact speed limit…not rushing, just enjoying the drive home!

Suffice it to say, I have no doubt that practicing deep breathing and incorporating meditation into my daily life has impacted my temperament in a huge way. I don’t know about the way that it has affected my dosha in particular, but I do know that I will carry this into my life beyond this experiment and beyond this training program. I’m grateful to have been given this opportunity to discover new healthy ways to relieve stress and become a more peaceful, patient person.