A fellow Three Sisters Yoga graduate recently shared with me that her most difficult challenge is finding enough time for her yoga practice. Nicole lives in the Big Apple (New York City) where time is a luxury. Instead of setting aside a few minutes a day, she just doesn’t practice.
How many of us struggle with having enough time for our yoga practice in our busy lives? We may barely have time to cram some food into our mouths at lunch let alone set aside time for yoga. I know I find myself hesitant to practice if I only have enough space for a short period of time. Some days I don’t even practice one pose, even though I know it would probably brighten my day. So I’ve come up with some tools to keep up with my daily yoga practice.
On-the-Go Tips to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Daily Life
Dedicate 5-10 minutes to your yoga practice daily. Make it a habit to wake up and immediately begin practicing and/or meditation. You’ll find you may practice a little longer than the time you intended.
Practice an inversion every day if you only have time for one yoga pose. Some examples include: headstand, handstand, shoulder stand, legs up the wall, downward dog, dolphin, and standing forward fold. Inversions are strengthening postures. They increase focus and concentration, and stimulate circulation and balance.
Download a yoga app to your smart phone. Here are some of the top yoga iPad and iPhone apps on the market: Bendyware’s Hatha Yoga, Rainfrog’s Pocket Yoga, Wizzard Media’s YOGAmazing Yoga Video App, Signal Patterns’ Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles, and Arawella Corporation’s All-in YOGA: 200 Poses & Yoga Classes.
Practice yoga wherever you go. I recently had a yoga student tell me he took my suggestion to start practicing wherever he goes. He said he did tree stand while he was watching TV. He’s only come to a handful of yoga classes and he’s already up in shoulder stand and balancing for longer periods of time.
Be prepared to practice. Pack a pair of emergency yoga clothes in the car. For those living in New York City, bring a pair of yoga pants with you and find a studio that allows free mat rentals. Get a couple yoga mats. Keep one yoga mat in your house and one in your car. You never know when you’ll need to drop in for some yoga time. You may find some time in between your busy schedule to drop into your local yoga class.
YouTube a morning yoga flow sequence. Ask your yoga teacher for suggestions on YouTube videos appropriate to your level. I have watched several of Sadie Nardini’s yoga videos on YouTube myself and they are extremely helpful and detail-oriented.
Make time for 1-2 yoga classes per week at least depending on your schedule. Of course, the more yoga classes the better. But, figure out what is feasible for your schedule.
Host a yoga and/or meditation party. I recently held a yoga meditation party on a Saturday night. It was a BYOB&M (bring your own beverage and mat) gathering. Find time to practice yoga and socialize all in the same evening.
Make the intention to dedicate more time to your yoga practice. Visualize what you want your schedule to look like and start setting out time to dedicate to your practice. Create your yoga schedule and try to follow it the best you’re able. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t adhere to it.
Set aside a short yoga and/or meditation at bedtime. Podcast your favorite meditation guru or set your Pandora station and prepare to wind down. This is a perfect opportunity to get in some meditation time and relax at the end of a long workday.
Make Small Changes
The bottom line is that many of us lead busy lives, but we do have the power to make changes and can decide how to fill up our time. Make yoga your priority and part of your lifestyle, rather than an option. My hope is that these simple suggestions will help you creatively find ways to further your practice. These are a just a few ideas that I have personally attempted while working a full-time job, teaching yoga part-time, and writing for Breaking Muscle.
Simply put, this is an attempt to make yoga your lifestyle, not just your practice. Take baby steps and make small changes towards where you want your practice to be. Make it all your own and practice even if it’s yoga on-the-go.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.