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  • Tina Jayne Langdok. Professional Yoga Therapist and Accredited Mindfulness Teacher

HAIR-DOS AND VIEWS: A yoga memoir from a 2007 solo road trip across America.

Updated: Jun 6

A vintage photo from the 2007 road trip.

The heat was palpable as I drove across the Badlands of North Dakota and after 4 hours of wiggling in the driver’s seat, my poor body was screaming for movement . Zooming at 80 MPH down the interstate, I had sat in half lotus on the right, and then on the left, and even found full lotus for a few miles, my legs tangled together in the seat, dangerously far from the brake or the gas. It was time for me to get out of the car to stretch and pee. No more flying in full lotus without a safety net while driving!

I scanned the Rest Stop Area for the least amount of foot traffic and spied a perfect spot, overlooking the Badlands, next to a small picnic table. Breathing in and breathing out, I took in the eccentric landscape of precipices and outcroppings. The Badlands of North Dakota aren’t as stark and eerie as the South Dakota variety. A few scrubby pines and brackish ponds dotted the view, bringing welcome relief after miles surrounded by sedimentary rock in various states of erosion.

I love practicing yoga outside, especially in a new place. I seem more awake to the smells and feeling of the air, which brings new awareness into my practice. My body was calling for standing poses so I started with the Warriors: one, two, and three, followed by Triangle, Pyramid, and Tree. I ended with Wide Straddle Fold, a personal favorite and gentle inversion. it felt so good, I decided to stay for a while and enjoy the up-side-down view.

As I grounded my feet and lifted my heart back up to standing, I heard voices to the right of me from a picnic table. Two ladies with hair-dos, smoking cigarettes, were smiling at me with great curiosity. “That was some mighty fancy stretching”, said the one. The other hair-do was nodding up and down in complete agreement as smoke billowed above her teased curls.

“It’s yoga”, I offered simply.

“I always wondered what yoga was. It must be good for you.” the first hair-do pondered aloud.

“Especially driving from Wisconsin to Wyoming,” I replied. “It feels good to move and helps me stay more alert.”

We smile at each other and I continue back to my car, slightly embarrassed by their invasion of my privacy. I can see them shaking their heads, their cigarettes growing shorter as they contemplate my stretching and then quickly move on to their own lives and bodies and stories.

Back on the road again, I notice I feel alert and ready to make the big push west, unsure if it was the yoga or my interaction with the ladies that renewed my energy. I thought I was on this excursion to get away from it all, but maybe the best part of a solo road trip are the unexpected connections along the way….

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