I tend to get super busy, and the busier I get the more I need my daily yoga practise. Ideally I would do a generous morning practise each day, but at times it may end up being shorter and after a long day, or even squeezed in throughout my day during my little self-care breaks. I find that as long as I am going gently, moving mindfully, practising self-compassion and embodying the calm yoga brings me, I can forgive myself for when my practise is less formal and ideal. I try to incorporate yoga into therapy sessions with my Rainbow Muse clients. This doesn't mean I always get to practise with them, but I am constantly marvelling at the power it has to bring body-mind integration and boost wellbeing. Here are some tips for adding yoga to your day even when it feels like theres no time.
1. Be kinder to yourself
We give ourselves a hard time about what we "should" be doing. Drop comparison and don't sweat the coulda, shoulda, woulda's. Do what you can, with warmth, affection, mindfulness and generosity towards yourself. Every little bit helps. Aspiring to do a long practise can create an obstacle. So aim for shorter more gentle practises, where the aim is to nurture your body and mind. You will actually find your practises becoming longer on their own as you melt into the wonder of the beautiful act of self-love.
2. Enjoy beautiful yoga breaths
Incorporating conscious breathing into your day brings a beautiful burst of yoga at any time and in any situation. Deep breathing will help you self-regulate but will also remind you of the sensations you’ve experienced when previously deep into a yoga pose. Use your breathing as an opportunity to remind your frantic body that it is safe, and to breathe in love and breathe out any stress or tension.
3. Be more mindful
Pay attention as you move through the day, notice sensations, sounds and sights. As you walk take moments to notice your feet on the ground. And watch your thoughts as they come and go. When you listen to the people around you, try being truely present with them. Practice mindfulness in your day as you would while lying in shavasana.
4. Take yoga off the mat and everywhere!
When I first started going to yoga classes, I wondered what yoga teachers meant then they talked about "taking yoga off the mat." I totally get it now; you know when you're deep into a fast and flowing vinyasa practise, and you have full body awareness, presence and mindfulness while still focusing on the breathe? Your heart is racing but you have stillness, clarity and stability? Those moments of bliss can happen in the same way in your daily life. When situations are moving quickly and feel chaotic in everyday situations, it is possible to maintain your steadiness and balance in this same way. It just takes a little practise.
5. Make yourself a priority!
Busy people, especially when they are also parents or have a lot of commitments, can find it hard to make time for a yoga practise. The more embodied, emotionally regulated, physically fit and well balanced you the better it is for those around you. So give yourself permission to take that time for yourself.
Heres a quick little sequence you can do during the day. Change it up and do what your body needs, don't be shy.
When you can't get to a studio and find it hard to direct yourself try Youtube. I love Yoga with Adriene. Heres a brief morning practise to get you started.
May your days be mindful, yoga filled and have the wondrous delight of a yogic mind of kindness to self and others.
For more info on how yoga can help your well-being and mental health click here.