I’m the first to admit. I’m always running out of time! I feel like between work, bills, kids, my school, the kids school, cooking, homework, the blog, house stuff, writing an eBook and the million other things I need to get done I don’t always find the time to incorporate a long yoga session into my day… and if you’re life looks anything like mine you need some easy tips and tricks to integrate a yoga practice into your daily life. So here are 5 ways to make your yoga practice less time intensive, and ultimately, really, just effortless.
1. If you do nothing else, do a Surya Namaskar, or two.
When you first get up move through three Surya Namaskars (sun salutations). Actually for that matter, do it anytime of the day you find a few minutes of solitude. This simple act of movement will wake up your entire body and reenergize your mind. If I do nothing else all day, I just make sure I move through a few Surya Namaskars. For me, and for many yogis, this is the foundation, the essential movement, practice, whatever you want to call it… and if you really feel like it, try doing 12 – It really is a complete workout, a comprehensive exercise form without the need of any equipment.
2. Don’t think you always have to change into Lululemon to practice yoga.
There are times the thought of getting ready for a yoga practice if far more daunting then the practice of yoga itself. As you may know, I write, a lot. I write/work on the computer sometimes for hours during the day, as I’m sure many of you do. So, whenever I feel the need for some brain juice, I get up and start moving though a pose… I do whatever I can wearing whatever I have on, weather that’s moving into Dhanurasana (bow pose) or Buddha Konasana (butterfly pose). You have to make yoga accessible if you want to continue to practice it throughout your life. It doesn’t matter weather I’m wearing jeans or sweatpants, yoga, true yoga, is designed to be able to be practiced anytime, anywhere,… and in any outfit.
3. Yoga is stretching and stretching is yoga.
Have you ever just come home, thrown off your shoes, and done a forward bend down to your toes and just hung there for a few moments? Well, my friends, in that moment what you are doing is yoga. It may not look much like it in the traditional sense (or maybe I should say the western sense) but that really is yoga. That one stretch is elongating your body, releasing your back, rushing blood to your brain, and stretching out your arms, shoulders, neck, and the back of your legs. So, stretch, really, just stretch. I’ll count it as doing yoga. I promise.
4. Your bed can be your favorite yoga mat.
This one is my favorite. I love to practice yoga in bed. (Ok, now don’t get too ahead of yourself!). No, really. When I first wake up I stretch out my entire body. Think of it as Parvatasana (mountain pose) lying down. Then I sit up, stretch up to the ceiling, kick my legs back, and end in Balasana (child’s pose). It’s my favorite way to get up and out of bed. By the time I’m standing, I’m usually smiling because I can feel the stretch moved though my entire body, giving me that gentle buzz I love first thing in the morning. Who needs coffee? I got my dose even before I got out of bed.
5. Just breathe and forget everything else.
Yoga won’t do you any good if you hold your breath through each pose, no matter how many poses you do. Sometimes when I’m sitting in front of the TV, or next to the kids playing on the floor, I just fold into a pose, a single pose, and just breathe. Sometimes I may sit in Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist) or Kapotasana (pigeon pose) for minutes on end. There is something about sitting in a yoga pose and just breathing. It’s very calming on the mind and relaxes the body. In that moment, I don’t even care to move. Instead I enjoy every minute of the stretch, slowly, deeply breathing, restoring balance to my nervous system. Sometimes to do yoga, all you have to do is fill your entire body with rich, blood purifying, brain defogging, cell enlivening, oxygen… Sometimes, breathing into the pose, moves you much deeper into it than you would be able to in an active practice.
So, friends, when it truly comes down to it, yoga is something that really doesn’t need any fancy clothing, equipment, space, or even time to practice. Just go with it, flow into it whenever you find a free moment, and you will see that the benefits of practice, even just a little practice, are worth the seemingly effortless little stretch.