Time! Its the number one reason that my private clients tout as to why they don't practice as often as they want. I'm challenging you right now to think: Is that really a reason or an excuse?
I'm not in love with people still wearing "I'm just too busy" as a badge of honor when we know that years of stress hormones running rampant in our bodies literally kills us. Plus, we're ALL so busy, but some people still manage to take care of themselves. How? Personally, by making little tiny tweaks to the daily routine that build into major wellness impact over time.
Choose Your Wellness Goal
Before you start integrating yoga on the daily, you need to tune into what you want to accomplish. Once you know your "why", its much easier to make a change. What's the biggest struggle or thing stressing you out right now? Maybe its pain, mindset, balance, flexibility or the actual stress itself. Choose one for this exercise, knowing that you can change or add to it later. For this post, I'll use stress relief as the goal.
Review Your Daily Schedule
This step is SO important! I want you to think about the rituals you have each day (morning coffee, playing with your dog, dropping the kids off at school, etc.) and write them down in chronological order. Here's an example:
After you've made a list, look for places where you can fit in yoga techniques. I'm not talking about a full hour yoga class, but a couple minutes of poses, breath work, or meditation. Highlight those areas.
3 Ways to Integrate Yoga Into Your Daily Routine
Remember, stress relief is the example wellness goal for this post. How do we reduce stress with yoga? By practicing yoga poses (Asana) that release endorphins and/or calm the nervous system, breath control (Pranayama) for relaxation, and meditation to focus the mind reducing anxious thoughts. These can also be tied to improving sleep, which also helps destress the body.
Let's look at the highlighted areas of my sample schedule and add yoga for stress relief into things already being done, so it doesn't feel like more things are being piled onto the daily grind. Focus on the space between.
There's a 15 minute gap here. Wake up and meditate using breath control to take advantage of your relaxed state and cultivate it into focused intention for the day. Inhale and repeat silently "I am". Exhale, "calm". (2 minutes)
Clearly there needs to be a break for your body between the time work starts and lunch. Practice 2 rounds of seated Cat/Cows matching your inhale to Cat and exhale to Cow. This will help counteract hours of sitting by moving your spine through flexion and extension. Twice a day is a great start. Less tension = less stress. (40 seconds)
Bringing your stress home from work? Practice 3-5 rounds of Sama Breathing while sitting in the driveway when you get home. This will calm and center you as you transition from work to home. (30 seconds)
Notice that these three changes only add up to 3 minutes and all of them can be done during times you were either stagnant or doing something else. So really you're just reallocating that time to something healthier for you. Pretty cool, right?
This is purely an example and is only the tip of the iceberg when managing stress. However, you have to start somewhere. These small changes can really help lead to larger ones by giving you confidence that yoga can be done daily without adding more expectations to an already busy schedule.
About the Author:
Tiffany Lord is a corporate yoga coach and founder of Love + Asana, a virtual studio launched in 2016 offering workplace wellness sessions, workshops and program design. Her sessions incorporate movement and mindfulness focusing on benefits for stress relief and chronic pain. Tiffany’s fun, approachable style makes classes feel like you’re hanging out with friends while also improving your mental and physical health.
She is an E-RYT with the Yoga Alliance and currently enrolled in a 500-hour training with Yoga Medicine focusing on yoga applications for common range of motion issues. Continuing education in meditation, breathing techniques, myofascial release, yoga for COVID-19 recovery and training as a massage therapist help make her sessions relevant and beneficial to clients who want simple movement and mindfulness techniques that improve their quality of life. Her articles on wellness through yoga have been featured in online and print publications, such as fyi50+ and CO Yoga + Life magazine.
Questions? Contact Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org