One of the common reasons I hear that people have for not being able to get to a yoga class is lack of time. I get it, I really do. We live in a crazily hectic world, with so many things we think we need to do. You have so many responsibilities, demands and desires pulling you in so many different directions, it can be hard to make time for yoga. Whose got time for a yoga class?
There are many ways you can get benefits from yoga if you are short on time. Here are 10 ways that you can incorporate Yoga into a busy day.
There is a famous quote that has been attributed to The Buddha (among others!) that says
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour”
Now, I know I am talking about meditation in an article about yoga, but you cannot separate the two, and the principle behind the comment applies to both sitting quitely with the breath, and practising postures.
Both postures and stillness (meditation) allow the mind to still, release tension and stress from the body, teach focus and concentration, increase creativity, reduce stress, insomnia and depression and much more. All of these benefits will help you to achieve more in your working hours than pushing ahead and working all day.
The chances are you’ve got far more time than you think if work time is the barrier for you. Research has shown that the average worker doesn’t even work productively for half a working day. Spend a week tracking all your actual activities at work (with brutal honesty) and see how much of your time is spent in genuinely productive work, and see if you can squeeze in a bit of time for Yoga!
Breathe on the commute
The daily commute can be a very stressful experience. Whether you drive or use public transport, it can be unpleasant, stressful, uncomfortable and exhsausting. You can be stressed out before you even make it to the office, and this can affect the whole of your day.
Instead of allowing stress and frustration overwhelm you, try practicing deep breathing as you travel. Simply breathing slowly, deeply and consciously will have many benefits, including
- Improving your respiration
- Reducing stress
- Enabling you to find mental clarity
- Enhancing cognitive function
- Enabling you to be ‘in the moment’
- Reducing road rage!
- Increasing energy
You have to be in the traffic if you need to commute. You get to choose how you feel about it. Deep breathing is the simplest way to calm the tension and allowing you to feel calm and happy as you walk into work
Santosha, or contentment, is one of the Niyamas of Yoga. This teaches us to be happy and accepting of whatever life sends our way. We cannot control what happens to us in life, we can only choose how we deal with it. A daily gratitude practice is a powerful way to choose positive emotions.
Practising gratitude doesn’t mean that we ignore the bad things that happen in life, but that we look for the ways that we can use it to learn and grow.
It can be hard to see the positives when you are going through a difficult time, but a regular gratitude practice helps you to see that there are still things worth celebrating in life, and enables you to see those lessons learned after the pain has passed.
You can learn more about the benefits of practising gratitude here
Swadhyaya, or self study is another of the Niyamas of Yoga. Yoga is all about personal evolution and growth, and it is impossible to do this if we don’t look objectively at ourselves. This can be hard to do with the conscious mind, we need to access the subconscious, and learn to listen to that part of ourselves.
A journaling practice can be a powerful way to uncover the things you don’t know you know and think. When you sit and write freely, without editing or censoring yourself, you uncover the parts of yourself that the conscious mind hides from view. It can be difficult sometimes, but through a daily writing practice, you can really get to know yourself better and see your life more clearly.
You can learn more about the power of self study here
Jattis are gentle loosening exercises that we do at the start of all of my classes. They are small, easy to do movements that can be done on the floor, or in a chair. There are even some that can be done standing up. They are a powerful way to improve health and wellbeing, releasing physical and mental tension, improving flexibility, increasing connection with the body, and allowing the body to relax.
You can read part two of this post here
Which of these practices will you try? I’d love to know, please share in the comments, and pass this post along to your busy friend who needs some Yoga!