It’s the end of the week and while you managed to make it to two yoga classes, you haven’t unrolled your yoga mat at home once.
Family, work, & household commitments make finding a 90-minute slot during the day next to impossible. Short of getting up at 5am, or re-prioritizing your life to ditch other commitments, there are other ways to regularly practice yoga. After all, home practice is where the deeper rewards of yoga blossom.
So how do you manage to fit regular yoga and meditation into your day?
Start by realizing that you don’t have to wait for a 90-minute window to unroll your mat.
Take 20 minutes in the morning, or 30 minutes after dinner. Use whatever space you have in your day for a practice. Allow your internal teacher to guide you through the appropriate postures for you in that time space – without any attachment to fulfilling a particular sequence of postures you may not have time for.
Stepping into daily time gaps with your yoga mat cements your commitment to home practice, and often you’ll find that time begins to expand. You naturally wake up 30 minutes earlier, or you realize you don’t have to watch the news every night.
Meditation is even easier to fit into a busy day. Be creative about finding times to meditate, realising that meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit down in the perfect quiet space wearing specific clothing. Meditation can be done anywhere anytime, as this article makes clear in a tongue-n-cheek kinda way – The wise do not waste time on meditation.
If you commute to work every day on public transport, you have the perfect opportunity to meditate. Yes – on the bus, on the train, or even while walking.
The ideal seated meditation to do is a simple breath-counting meditation. I used this technique yesterday on my 40 minute bus trip home after work and even with my experience in yoga and meditation, I was blown away by how effective it was. I stepped off the bus feeling like a million dollars – my mind was clear, my emotions were steady, and my guidance system was coming through sharp as ever.
This experience inspired this article, and has also made me excited about my twice daily commute to work because now instead of wasted time… I see it as an opportunity to effortlessly fit an hour or more of meditation into my day five times a week. I tend to mix it up, using different mantras (repeated silently over and over in my head as I inhale and exhale) on different days. Two of my favourites are So-hum, or Sat-Nam.
Simply place both feet flat on the ground and connect to all four corners of your feet. Place your hands in your lap in a hand mudra of your choice – something simple is best. I cup my hands under each other and connect my thumbs. And then begin to consciously breath, long and slow, counting each breath all the way up and ten, and then all the way down.
Simple and highly effective.
Your mind will wander, and you will be distracted, but just like seated meditation, you bring your attention back to your breath, and back to your count, time and time again. You’ll know when you’ve really been distracted when you find yourself counting 15, 16… as I did a few times. It’s a wonderful way to build single-minded concentration.
I doubt anyone else on the bus would have noticed anything untoward about what I was doing – and even if they did, so what? Imagine if we all meditated on bus and train trips? How would that shift our world?
This technique of integrating meditation into your day is more difficult to do with yoga, but it is possible to practice yoga whenever the opportunity arises. Let yoga spill off your mat and permeate everything you do.
Doing the dishes? Connect with your breath, ground the four corners of your feet, engage your quadriceps, align your pelvis and open your heart.
Having a shower? Practice backbends and forwards bends with breath and mindfulness as you shampoo your hair and shave your legs.
Working at your desk? Take five minutes to breathe mindfully and work through a short shoulder opening sequence.
Seated on the ground watching the kids play cricket? Sit mindfully in half-lotus grounding through the sitting bones.
In this way, yoga becomes not just something contained within the confines of your yoga mat, but something that infuses the way that you move about your day.
Now you are not just practicing yoga, but living yoga. And that’s what it’s all about. Making a commitment to yoga and meditation so they become a priority and you look for opportunities to fit them into your day and your week whenever you can. Then, no matter how busy you get, you will always find time to do yoga and meditate.
And that is a wonderful thing.
This article has been featured in:
- Total Mind Body and Fitness’ Carnival
- Workout Blog Carnival
- Healthbolt Carnival
- WeightMaster’s Weight Management and Fitness Forum
- Angel Whisperer’s Carnival of Healing
- Weight Loss Journal’s Carnival of Weight Loss