Practicing yoga everyday has incredible benefits; stress relief, flexibility, increased focus, and a overall sense of wellbeing. Making the intention of practicing everyday is one thing, following through with that intention can be more challenging than expected. When most of us thing of yoga, we think of the physical poses, such as Downward Facing Dog and Warrior 2. Although the asanas (physical postures) offer many benefits, yoga also consists of meditation, breathwork, moral disciplines, and concentration. Many of these different parts of yoga can be practiced off of the mat.
As much as we crave and love yoga, there always seems to be an available excuse for not making it to the next class. Traffic, exhaustion, work, school, family, and chores are all valid excuses, but they don’t necessarily need to get in the way of our yoga practice. Practicing yoga doesn’t require us to go to a class at a studio, or even do a full hour of practice all at once. Yoga can be incorporated in the way we think, act, and go through all the parts of our day. Yoga can be snuck into the few minutes before work, during a study session, in bed, and even while doing chores!
Have 5 Minutes before driving to work?
Try doing several rounds of sun salutations! 5 minutes is plenty of time to get in anywhere from 5-20 sun salutations, depending on the speed you prefer to go at. Also called Surya Namaskar, this flow is the foundation for Vinyasa yoga. As you flow through each salutation, the core warms up, the spine lengthens out, and the mind finds a meditative state.
Sun salutations are a great way to stimulate yourself in the early mornings! If you practice sun salutations before having caffeine, you’ll probably notice the natural energy buzz that come from taking deep, intentional breaths and blood circulating throughout the body. Using Ujjayi breath opens the lungs, and gives you the reminder to take deep breaths throughout the day.
Busy cleaning and reorganizing the house?
As yogis, we know how good it feels to have an organized and clean home. The goal is to get our home looking like our favorite yoga studio; uncluttered, spotless, and smelling like sage. Having a clean, peaceful environment definitely promotes inspiration to lay down a mat and practice. Even before you reach your goal of cleaning your home to zen perfection, you can start practicing during the cleaning process!
Next time you get down and dirty with domestic duties, make each task intentional. You can incorporate yoga poses between each chore, and even add poses into the cleaning process. When you are going to pick up something on the ground, you can transition into Standing Splits. Reaching for something on the table or counter? Expand into Warrior 3. If you need to fold laundry or sort through a box, squat down in Malasana to open your hips. Wiping off windows is a perfect time to incorporate some side bending and Tree Pose.
Feel unproductive while working?
Sitting for several hours straight is unnatural for us to do as humans. We feel our eyes glaze over, and our focus starts to wane. We MUST finish that work report! When we sit for hours on end like this is causes many issues in the body. The spine compresses and the low back gets tired. Since we’re not moving, blood circulation becomes poor. Lack of fresh air makes us feel low energy and stagnant. Even if you can’t spare an hour to take a stimulating vinyasa class, there are several yoga poses that will awaken you to complete the task at hand.
Back bending gets your spinal fluid moving and improves mood almost instantaneously. Our poor spines are subjected to so much sitting time, which compress the spine and tightens the low back. Many of us pay no mind to posture, letting our shoulders round and slump forward. Since most Americans have either had some sort of desk job or have gone to school, we greatly suffer from back pain. Some backbends you can practice are Bridge pose,Wheel pose, and Camel pose. These backbends elongate your spine, open the chest, and relax your shoulders back.
Inversions will literally turn your world upside down and give you that much needed blood rush to the brain. Like back bending, inversions will also give you the opportunity to lengthen out the spine. Doing poses like a forward fold, Sirsanana, or a handstand will allow fresh blood to circulate to your brain. Most inversions require strong concentration, which will translate into your work or homework.
Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash
Long day and ready to go to sleep?
Restorative yoga poses are best for the end of your day. Restorative poses involve using many props to support your body, and holding each pose for a few minutes. The best part? You can even do these poses in bed. A supported supine twist gives your organs a massage and twists out toxins from the body.Child’s pose will calm the mind and prep you for a deep sleep. Doing a reclined Baddha Konasana offers the relaxation of tight hips and groin muscles.
-On days when you’ll be home doing chores, or when you’re running errands, slap on a pair of yoga pants for the day. Not only will be comfy and cute, you’ll be ready to incorporate mini yoga sessions throughout your day. If you’re already prepped and ready to practice in comfy clothes, rather than jeans and a tight shirt, it will be more likely that you actually will practice!
-Have quiet secluded places picked out for yourself in different places like your home, school and work. This way, when you have a few minutes to sneak out to do yoga, you already know where to go. The less time you spend looking for a peaceful spot, the more time you have to practice.
-Even if you have no space or time to throw some asanas into your day, practicing meditation and breath work at your desk is still extremely beneficial. If you have a few minutes to spare, meditation and breathwork can clear brain fog and provide calm, focused energy.
So are you ready to incorporate some of these yoga sessions into your busy day? Leave us comments, we would love to hear from you!