One glorious quality of yoga is its adaptability; we can integrate it into nearly all aspects of our lives. While a bit of yoga can go a long way, daily yoga practice is ideal to reap yoga’s maximum benefits. Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for decades, these seven tips can help you stay on your path when you don’t have enough time.
Whether you’re seeking to calm nerves, clear your mind, or energize your body, breathing intentionally can offer precisely what you need. Begin by taking total, deep abdominal (belly) breaths. From there, move to a three-part breath, cycling the breath throughout the torso. Once you’re comfortable with these techniques, try exploring more advanced pranayama techniques and notice their effects.
Focus on the Basics
If an asana routine isn’t part of your practice, focus on one posture or primary sequence daily. If your asana practice is more advanced, concentrating on one position or flow you practice regularly will allow you to take in the subtleties these movements and moments of stillness offer. Remember to be mindful of your breath while in positions and during the transitions between them.
Break Up Your Flow
You don’t need a full 90-minute practice to benefit from yoga. If a busy schedule prevents you from practicing, split your routine into manageable yoga sequences throughout the day. This might look like a few rounds of Kapalabhati upon waking, spinal extensions, and flexions (i.e., cat and cow). At the same time, you wait for your water to boil, a short seated or standing sequence in between daily activities, and maybe even a few restorative poses or a short meditation before bed.
Sing! (Or Chant)
Remember that yoga is more than just asana. Bhakti Yoga, or yoga through devotion, is said to be the most direct path to enlightenment. While kirtan circles and concerts offer high vibrations in a communal setting, it’s easy to find a recording of your favorite chant or mantra by searching online. To start, check out some albums by Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, or Santam Kar. While chanting, you’re bound to find a bit of bliss, whether by yourself or with others.
Karma Yoga, often called selfless service, is the yoga of action. Essentially, we practice Karma Yoga by participating in actions for the sake of the actions themselves instead of for the future results they might yield. A simple example is washing dishes to wash dishes (as opposed to washing dishes to have clean dishes). Still, Karma Yoga is more frequently practiced through volunteer work and community engagement.
Follow Along Online
It can be easier to practice yoga with instruction than to practice alone. Online yoga video websites are a simple way to find a class that suits your needs. Once you encounter classes or techniques that resonate with your practice, integrate them into your daily routine.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Many studios offer new customer promotions or unlimited classes every month. If you intend to fit complete Asana sessions into your schedule, why not financially support it? Money isn’t the only way to place value on having a practice; if finances are an issue or studios aren’t your scene, a quick internet search will yield several free 30-day yoga or meditation “challenges.”
If having a yoga practice is important to you, prioritize it. Over time, small acts of mindfulness will become routine, and your yoga or meditation habits will become a part of your day that you can’t live without.
What steps have you made toward including yoga, meditation, or other spiritual practices in your day? In what ways have these practices affected your life?