Remember how our bud Sara Yamtich (self-proclaimed multipotentialite and life coach — follow her on Twitter @saralizer) wrote that thought-provoking piece on gossip earlier in the year? Well, she’s back … and now as a regular contributor for FBG!
By now, most of us know that there are tons of benefits to practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis. When practiced daily, yoga can open us up to whole new levels of awareness — physically, emotionally, intellectually … even spiritually (if you’re into that sort of thing).
But we’re all so dang busy that it seems impossible to attend enough classes to fully satisfy our yoga desires. We’ve got work, working out, hanging with family and friends, the list goes on and on. And when we think of home practice, many of us can’t help but laugh at the idea of being motivated enough to do it on our own every. single. day.
We want the benefits, but honestly, the whole thing is just intimidating!
I can totally relate.
So I’ve come up with five ways to help bring the benefits of yoga from the studio into your everyday life.
1. Give yourself permission to practice as little as five minutes per day (or less!).
Most of us think that we have to practice for at least half an hour in order for it to be “worth it,” yet this kind of thinking can get in our way. We imagine we’ve got to throw on some yoga clothes, put our mats down somewhere, turn on music (or a DVD) …
And it all just seems like too much for a random Tuesday evening. Right?
So … take the hassle out of the habit! Allow yourself to practice for five minutes per day, in your jeans or pajamas. Maybe you’ll just do a couple cat-cows, a down-dog and a warrior before you call it quits. That’s fine! Or maybe you’ll trick yourself and easefully let it flow into a longer practice.
2. Create consistent practice space.
If you have space anywhere in your home, plunk down a mat and leave it there. When you see it, you’ll be reminded to practice … and there will be less hassle, even if it’s only for that five-minute session.
My yoga mat is in a corner of my living room, with a bolster and blanket stacked on top. (My cat loves to sleep on that blanket). Whenever I pass my setup, I’m reminded to hop down with the kitty and do a couple asanas.
If you really just don’t have the space to leave a yoga mat out like I do, then keep the mat rolled up out of the bag, so that you can still see it and be reminded to roll it out a few minutes every day.
3. Turn mundane moments into meditative opportunities.
You don’t need to practice the physical postures for an hour and sit cross-legged on the floor chanting “om” for 15 minutes in order to get meditative. There are plenty of opportunities throughout our days!
Find those mundane moments, like when you wash the dishes … or commute for half an hour to work … or walk the dog. Turn those moments into meditations. Notice your breathing and become conscious of your breath. Notice the space between the breaths. Notice the sounds. Notice the feel of air on your skin. When a thought comes, come back to your breath.
(But remember — if you’re driving, keep your eyes open).
4. Create a reminder to be present.
This is going to send sound cheesy, but I’m completely serious about it. Put a sticky note on your computer that says “Be here now” or “Presence!” (or something else with a similar message). Or if you’re not into sticky notes, create a reminder on your Google calendar for each day at the same time. When it pops up, take a moment for presence and conscious breathing. (You can even throw in an asana or five, if it’s possible).
Eventually, it’ll become such a habit that you can ditch the reminders.
5. Immerse yourself as much as possible.
The more you surround yourself with yoga, the easier it will be to make it a consistent part of your daily life. This means that you have a couple yoga DVDs that you love, have a few friends who practice regularly, read blogs about yoga and buy some books that speak to you. When you’re surrounded, you’ll be consistently reminded and supported.
Even as a yoga instructor and life coach, I find myself resistant to practicing a long yoga session every day. But I do find that these five tips help keep me grounded in a lovely daily practice, and the benefits abound.
So, tell me! Do you struggle to bring the benefits of yoga into your everyday life? Or do you have additional tips to share? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. —Sara