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Can yoga improve your driving? A Jinba Ittai experiment

​“Jinba Ittai” is the philosophy which underpins the design and development of our cars. This Japanese phrase originates from Japanese Samurai horse riding, and its meaning translates to ‘horse and rider as one’. In order to hit their targets, Japanese Samurai riders practising Zen breathing to 100% concentrate, focusing on their mental wellbeing and experiencing the sense of complete oneness.


Oneness is something that we distil in all our cars. They’re designed around you, the driver, and in our increasingly frenetic age of congestion, email, screens and digital stimuli, Mazda vehicles offer an enjoyable safe haven from the world around us. But what if we, like the Japanese swordsman whose rituals underpin the driving dynamics for which we are famed, took a moment to pause, to breathe, to focus, and to be more dexterous? What impact would that have on our driving capabilities? Would it make us calmer, safer and happier behind-the-wheel? We decided to find out.

At the wheel of the all-new Mazda3, we conducted a world-first experiment into whether or not there exists a link between the practice of yoga, and driving skill. Four socially-influential athletes undertook two drives through the North Yorkshire countryside while hooked up to telemetry data recorders and with an Institute of Advanced Motorists’ driving instructor beside them. One drive before a yoga class and one after.


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