I can hear my regular readers snickering at this title. I am well known for my on again/off again relationship with yoga. And the reasons I go “off again?” My busy life.
That being said, I am an expert on how to incorporate fitness into your life. As a personal trainer and coach, I frequently help my clients figure out how to stick to their plan, as a marathon runner I know what I need to do to train properly.
It’s time that I took my own advice, and it’s going to happen right now, today. I am participating in the Take the Leap 30 days of yoga challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink, and this time it’s going to stick.
We’re all busy. There are only so many hours in the day, and between work, school, children, spouses, housework, preparing meals, and, you know, sleep, it can be difficult to find time for fitness. The key is to make it a priority in your life, so that fitness becomes as important as all the other stuff. Then you will find the time. Running has always been my priority. Now I’m adding yoga to the top of the “must do” list. Here are some ideas to help you do the same.
5 Ways to Make Yoga a Part of Your Busy Life
1. Start your day with meditation.
Take a few minutes when you first get up to clear your mind, breathe, and prepare for the day. Meditation is not the same as daydreaming or quietly planning your daily agenda, it is a technique for resting the mind and achieving a different stage of consciousness. Here are tips to help you learn to meditate. Yes, meditation is yoga. And yoga is meditation.
2. Warm up for your run or workout with Sun Salutations.
Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation is a great way to warm your body and prepare for your workout. The sun salutation is a series of poses or asanas that are done in the direction of the sun. The video below has step by step instruction for beginners.
3. Replace your post-workout stretching routine with yoga poses.
If you’re a runner, you probably finish your run with several stretches to stretch your quads, calves, and hamstrings. Replace that boring routine with yoga poses. Particularly effective poses for runners include Pigeon, Downward Facing Dog, Low Lunge, Double Pigeon, and Forward Fold. Click here for several posts by Christine of Love Life Surf, with instruction for these poses and others that are great for runners.
4. End your day with restorative yoga.
Instead of picking up a book or watching television to settle down for the night, try 30 minutes of resorative yoga to calm and relax you before bed. Restorative yoga uses props like blankets, pillows, straps, and blocks that help support your body so that you can be comfortable and relaxed while you hold a pose for up to five or 10 minutes.
5. The Buddy System.
As with any type of fitness endeavor, having a yoga buddy helps hold you accountable, gives you a built in cheerleader, and increases the chances for long term success. When someone is waiting for you, you’re much more likely to get to the studio.
While heading to the yoga studio is a wonderful way to practice yoga, it is not always an option. Their schedule may not match yours, it may be financially out of reach, or you may not have a studio close to home. Here are a few alternatives to practicing yoga in a studio.
1. Gym or Fitness Center: Yoga classes are usually included in the membership fee at your gym. The downside is that these classes are usually very large and the instructors frequently aren’t as experienced or hands-on as in a yoga studio.
2. Yoga at home: There are many ways to get your yoga on in the comfort and privacy of your own home. For a small fee, or even free of charge, you can have a variety of yoga classes for all levels streamed, downloaded, or available on DVD. My favorites:
- Any video by Rodney Yee: I have a collection of his DVDs, and now you can even stream his classes through GaiamTV.
- YogaDownload.com: For a fee you can stream or download either video or audio classes directly to your computer or mobile device. I’ve been using the audios for years, and I love being able to focus on my practice without looking at a screen. I truly can take yoga anywhere. The instruction is excellent, and there are so many choices of types of yoga and length of classes that there really is something for everyone. They also have some free classes available. Note: This is an affiliate link, but I was a member (and I still am) before I was an affiliate.
- Yoga30: Honestly, what I really love about Yoga30 is that I can access videos by April, my friend and favorite instructor at Yoga Central. I haven’t tried any other instructors, but I love April’s classes.
- Grokker Yoga: I found Grokker Yoga through a contest on the Fitfluential blog (which I won by the way, so I really love them). They have both free and paid options, and offer a variety of full length yoga classes.
- YouTube: A general search for Yoga on YouTube brings up almost six million links, so you can certainly find something that will work for you, from a 10 minute sun salutation, to a 30 minute beginner class, to a 60 minute power vinyasa video. Note: I didn’t screen any of the linked classes. I just found them via a search.
The downside to yoga at home is interruptions. It may be hard to find a quiet space where your children or your dogs aren’t sharing your yoga mat with you. There is also no one to correct your form or give you precise instruction, so beginners might have a harder time getting into a pose. Beginners should take extra time to watch a class so that they can really understand each position. Taking a class or two at a studio is a good idea too.
Remember that yoga doesn’t have to be a structured 60-90 minute class in a studio (unless you want it to be). A quick series of sun salutations, 10 minutes practicing your favorite pose, or a 30 minute relaxing restorative session are all great ways to incorporate more yoga into your busy life.
Come on. Take the leap with me and join the Take the Leap 30 days of yoga challenge. You know you want to.
How do you incorporate yoga into your life?