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Cabbies strike a pose to destress

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 02:14

Feb 16 - ''Taxi Yoga,'' a new exercise class for taxi drivers, helps stretch away the stress of driving a cab in New York City. Sharon Reich reports.

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From the loud horns to the traffic jams, New York cab drivers have a stressful job. Chu Li-Cheng drives his cab for 12 hours at a time and says that after a day's work he is sore and tense all over. He is one of a handful of cabbies seeking relief in an unlikley place -- the yoga studio. SOUNDBITE: Cab driver Chu Li-Cheng saying (English): "It's stressful. There is all kinds of things so dynamically. Sometimes, the traffic, sometimes various things cause traffic, sometimes pedestrians, police, other cars." "Taxi Yoga," is a class designed with the cabbie in mind. You won't see any headstands or crowe poses here. This class focuses on stretches that target the neck, back and legs - all parts of the body that drivers use in a tight and confined space. SOUNDBITE: Cab driver Iqbal Murshed saying (English): "Sometimes I feel a little back pain. Sometimes we feel a little tiredness, so this exercise is very good for me." But getting drivers to hit the yoga mat is no easy task. Instructor Andrew Vollo has handed out more than 3,000 flyers for the course, but says the ancient practice that is popular with New York's yuppie set is a hard sell with this crowd. SOUNDBITE: Andrew Vollo, Taxi yoga instructor and director of the New York City Taxi and For Hire Vehicles Driver Instititue, saying (English): "Once I can get 'em here they love it. Some have told me they sleep better. Some have told me they sleep like a baby. Some have told me they feel like they had a massage and we don't do massages. So the response is good if I can get 'em in the class." Vollo drove a taxi for 15 years and takes his yoga seriously. In addition to stretches he guides the cabbies in prana breathing techniques and urges them to practice at home. For Chu, the good vibrations have already extended to his cab. He says from now on, he will be driving with an improved New York state of mind. Sharon Reich, Reuters

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Cabbies strike a pose to destress

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 02:14