Like many other things in life, yoga practice becomes deeper and more meaningful as you spend more time with it. In Yoga Sutra 1.14, Patanjali notes that the three keys to success in any aspect of life are to do it for a long time, without interruption, and with full sincerity. Yet today’s busy world leaves little free time to practice yoga without interruption. Still, by developing a few new habits, you can find ways to incorporate yoga into your daily life.
- Prioritize Yourself
An old truism in the mental health field states that you cannot help anyone else become any healthier than you are. Yet when you are coping with conflicting priorities, it is easy to put yourself last. Make a renewed commitment to caring for yourself so that you can better care for others, and it will become easier to “justify” the time you spend on your practice. Even if it is only an hour a week, find a way to set aside time to devote solely to yoga.
- Find a New Perspective
Many people believe that the only way to practice yoga is to shut everything else out and go through a series of poses. Yet yoga is so much more than that. A deep yoga practice involves a new way of living your daily life. Make a pledge to yourself to live your practice moment by moment as you go through your regular routine.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, accepting fleeting thoughts without judgment, and accepting what comes your way. While private meditation can certainly help you develop mindfulness, you can practice this skill even in the middle of the busiest day. Whenever you feel the tension rising, consciously pull your attention back to accepting the moment as it unfolds. Not only will this enhance your yoga practice, but it will lower your stress levels in trying moments.
- Be a Mountain
Your mother always told you to stand up straight. In yoga, it is sometimes known as being a mountain. Practicing good posture helps to align your body, improve your flexibility and core strength, and ensure healthy respiration. You can be a mountain anywhere, even while standing in line or preparing dinner.
- Use the Shower
The shower is a great place to tune into your practice. You can’t go far, the sound of the water is soothing, and the heat is relaxing. Instead of worrying about everything on your to-do list, take advantage of the moment to perform some gentle stretching, meditate, and recharge.
Pick out a few favorite poses to go through while you watch TV. Incorporate Sun Salutations while you are doing laundry. Teach your kids a few simple poses and go through them during playtime. Make yoga a part of your normal routine rather than trying to change your life around to find time for it. Although it may feel strange and awkward at first, the longer you keep at it, the more natural it will feel.
- Remember to Breathe
Pranayama, or breath control, is one of the eight limbs of yoga. Controlling your breathing can help you focus, reduce anxiety, and lower overall stress levels. It also helps you remain in the moment and practice mindfulness. Breathing exercises can be done no matter where you are or what else is going on, making them an easy way to connect with your practice even when you are extremely busy.
Living your practice is not always easy in today’s busy world. With a bit of repetition and some good new habits, however, it will soon seem like second nature. Make a commitment to take care of yourself, find creative ways to multitask, and always practice mindfulness in every situation. You will soon learn that you have more time than you think to commit to your yoga practice.
* Authored by Megan Kaplan, Community Coordinator of Centered Yoga. Established in 1999 by Paul Dallaghan,Centered Yoga is fully affiliated with the prestigious Kaivalyadhama, a research institute in India dedicated to studying yoga from both classical and scientific viewpoints. When you feel ready, we invite you to start your journey to becoming part of this distinguished legacy by submitting your application for the 200 hour level residential training.
*Photo by James Richard Kao from a May 2014 Semper Sarah Yoga Retreat in San Pancho, Mexico. 🙂
Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals and do so by integrating yoga into your lifestyle?
Then you’re going to love what I’m doing in Costa Rica this summer! Join me, Sarah Plummer Taylor MSWc & RYT500, and Sarah Teddy Klein ERYT-200, for the next Align & Shine
rest, restore, and play retreat for women in 2016.
This is the 6th retreat I’ve lead, and the third of which Sarah has co-taught. We love holding space for you on your journey. <3
Check out www.SemperSarah.com/Retreat for more details on my next retreat, 18-24 June 2016 in Nosara Costa Rica.