Yoga breathing, techniques can help lower stress in traffic

- Let's be honest, Atlanta traffic was already stressful before the Internet 85 collapse.  Even now that it's repaired, you're still fighting gridlock during rush hour. There are ways though to help you stay calm, and centered when your blood pressure starts to rise.

Many times in traffic that southern hospitality, can be replaced with road rage. We're all guilty of getting a little too upset about traffic sometimes. Bringing some yoga practices to your drive though, can help take some of that stress out of those long commutes.

Amber Barry has been practicing yoga for 20 years. Even in rush hour traffic, one of her favorite mantras is, 'be here now.' "If you can take your day one moment at a time, it really is the secret to being happy. If you think about the ways we suffer, a lot of it comes from regret from the past and concern over the future," Amber, the founder of Westside Yoga says.

Yoga works to unite the mind, body and spirit. and even when you're stuck in your car, Amber says you can control your negative thoughts. "Count your blessings. Use your thoughts in an efficient and effective manner because you're not going to get anywhere anytime faster just by thinking about how bad the traffic is."

And when you feel road rage creeping up, Amber suggests you replace the honking and screaming, with positivity. "So when someone cuts you off or does something stupid in traffic, think about sending good energy to them," suggests Amber. "

"Sometimes people are just jerks though," reporter Katie Beasley responds. "Yes, yes. It's true," Amber says. "You know...feel sorry for them. What a sad life to live your life as a jerk. That doesn't bring a lot of friendships, that probably brings a lot of loneliness."

Controlling your breath is also a key element of yoga that you can practice in the car. "The most important thing is to keep both eyes on the road, and then you're going to close your mouth, make sure you're breathing entirely through your nose and close the back of your throat to make your breath audible, as if you're fogging a mirror or trying to do a Darth Vader impersonation," adds Amber.

Breathing this way will bring more oxygen to your blood, muscles and brain. Amber explains that focusing on movements and breathing will calm the chatter of your mind, helping to bring you back to your happy place. "We are happy at our core, we just forget that sometimes because there are so many other distractions pulling us away from our happiness inside."

Amber says you can also clench your firsts to release tension and repeat 'it is what is.' she says not to waste your energy on things you can't control. Stressing in traffic can also be bad for your health. Amber says when something happens on the road that sends your blood pressure up, it also affects your adrenaline and cortisol levels, which are part of the fight or flight reaction. If your nervous system isn't at rest, it can affect blood flow, your digestion and your overall health.

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