A Little Yoga Goes a Long Way

Woman practicing yoga in tree pose during sunrise
How did it get so late so soon? Dr. Seuss

We have all felt the crunch of time snapping at our heels; demanding deadlines, frantic last minutes, looming workloads. In today’s modern world, time has become a precious jewel coveted and protected, how many times have you said, if I only had more time? It is understandable why you may find a thousand excuses to skip your yoga practice. But the truth is when you are the busiest you need yoga the most. Carving out a practice amid the mayhem will keep you balanced and connected to your mat. When life is pulling you in a thousand directions, stay steady with your practice by modifying; a short practice is better than none.

If you can’t take a full class or do your regular hour home practice, rather than skip it all together modify. Decide what it is you need. Maybe you were able to sneak in a walk at lunch, when you go home, find a quiet space (that may mean pushing a bed over to make room) and lay your matt down. Perhaps you do a few sun salutations, a few standing poses, and then settle into legs up the wall. Fifteen or twenty minutes of yoga and pranayama can have profound benefits to your nervous system, restoring your ability to walk through the busy days calm and centered.

Get up while the rest of the family or roommates rise before the bedlam begins. Set your alarm and take twenty or thirty or ten minutes even to do a practice. Start in Tadasana (mountain pose), move through forward folds and back to mountain a few times to warm up your spine. If you like to flow with your asanas, create a short Vinyasa then allow enough time to do a few seated poses and final rest.  Or hold a few poses breathing slowly, and again, always leaving enough time for corpse pose. Remembering to focus on your breath and or intentions. This is a wonderful way to set the tone for your day.

Maybe mornings are not your thing, you feel too rushed, too stiff, too sleepy. Try taking a few minutes in the evening to practice, to dissolve tension, to let go of the day. If you have children, make it a family affair. Establish twenty or thirty minutes before dinner, as yoga time, put on soothing music, breathe, and reconnect to your practice. When you build yoga into your life, it is like eating healthy. You may not always have time for an elaborate sit-down meal, but you can afford time to nourish yourself with something delightful like an apple, an avocado, a bowl full of brown rice and veggies. An evening practice is a soothing farewell to the day. It doesn’t have to be a long to reap the benefits yoga imparts; improved digestion, serener nervous system, soothing sleep.

If you have a space at work or a studio nearby that you can walk to at lunch, maybe this is the time you take for your practice. Or close your office door, turn off the lights, and throw your mat down for a few moments of yoga. You will be astounded how this clears your mind and makes you more efficient for whatever work is waiting for you. It has been scientifically studied that students and workers who do yoga on a regular basis are able to navigate through the workload more efficiently, it stimulates creativity by waking up your chakras (energy centers) and allowing your body to tune inward. Pushing through deadlines without giving your brain a break is like trying to drive a car with no gas.

Imagine not talking to your partner, lover, spouse for days on end.  Soon tension builds, you begin to feel disconnected from the relationship, perhaps even resentful. It is the same for a yoga practice. Touching base, checking in communicating with your inner self does not have to is important to keep connected. It doesn’t have to consume you. Give yourself permission to honor your practice, Click off the screens, rather than scrolling Facebook or handing your precious time over, set up boundaries for your practice, create a sacred space for it. Be clear, make it a priority, even if others inadvertently try to derail your efforts, simply get back to the mat and know that a little yoga goes a long way.

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