Very few people say that they feel bad after yoga practice. Moving your body, connecting to your breath and taking time to clear your mind can have many benefits. Despite knowing this, so many of us find it challenging to make time to practice yoga at home. With the ever-growing list of tasks and commitments, how can you find more time in the day for yoga to improve your mental and physical wellbeing?
By keeping a positive mindset with my yoga practice, I have been able to integrate yoga into my life without putting too much pressure on the outcome. When I first started practising yoga, I was working full-time, commuting 3 hours a day, trying to integrate into a new place to live and supporting my husband doing a full-time Masters. Over time my daily routines, commitments and surroundings have changed several times. Yoga has continually changed with me. My commitment to yoga is a commitment to myself and my well-being. It changes as I change, but it is always there for me to find when I need a moment in time. I learned that life will always busy and waiting for the perfect moment will mean waiting forever. Being present today and being committed to using yoga to support my wellbeing has helped me to form a solid practice.
Here are five tips to help you to find the time you need to practice yoga:
1. Shift your mindset
Try not to be too fixed with what yoga looks like or means for you. If your aim is to do some yoga each day, this could be five minutes in a child's pose, a simple meditation, or a full hour of sun salutations. Try to be flexible with what 'doing yoga' looks like. Remind yourself of the feeling you get from yoga. If you feel calmer after 20 minutes of quiet breathing, simply practising pranayama or mindful techniques might be your 'yoga'. Try to practice yoga by not being too attached to the outcome on or off your mat. If you want to work up to a more extended asana sequence, then be happy with some shorter sequences first, knowing that you are building strength, flexibility and at the same time reinforcing a pattern of habitual behaviour. Save the longer sequences for when you have time; this could be once a month and in the meantime, find a length that works for your day.
2. Practice being present
If your yoga plan didn't work out for you today, start the next day with a fresh mindset. There is no benefit from feeling guilty or shaming yourself about what you didn't do. Instead, focus on what you did do and what you can do in the present. This could be as simple as scheduling your practice into your calendar, reading a yoga blog, signing up to an online yoga channel, downloading a simple meditation track or getting yourself prepared for yoga even if you don't practice. Every little step in the right direction is a step forward. When a new day starts, remind yourself to be in the present and focus on what you can do that day.
3. Create your own calm
From my experience, there will never be the perfect moment when the day opens a space for yoga. You must open that space for yourself. In doing so, you may have to de-prioritise something else. It's effortless to get distracted by chores that can keep on going and never be finished. Instead, try to switch to replacing them with yoga...and think about the positive and negatives. What will the problem be if the washing is left for one more hour compared to how good you will feel when you spend time on my mat. Obviously, some tasks cannot be left for another time, so please don't forget to collect the kids from school, but there are many things that we task ourselves with that do not need strict deadlines. If you struggle with the comparison, try to write down the benefits of doing yoga now as to the negatives, and you will be guaranteed to reach for your yoga mat.
4. Keep it simple
Yoga practice is about connecting to your body and breath. You really do not need more than your own body and your own breath to get going. Try to keep your practice as simple as possible with simple equipment, clothing and a place to practice. If you start trying to do yoga on a mountain top every morning, you will likely quickly come undone and frustrated with your schedule.
5. Share and care
Sharing how you feel when you practice yoga can help your loved ones support your practice or even join you. This can really help with accountability and maintaining motivation to practice. Imagine if every time you got busy with chores, your partner suggests you hit the yoga mat instead? If you really need a nudge in the right direction, find a friend who is also keen to start a practice, use the same online videos or apps and commit to a time to practice. A simple check-in message before or after the session can help to remind you of the priority you set yourself.
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I help doctors create a purposeful, flexible career outside full-time clinical medicine so they can control their time and have more balance in their lives. To find out more book a FREE 60-minute discovery call. https://calendly.com/resilienceyoga/60min
Photo by Marc Thunis on Unsplash