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Too Busy for Yoga?

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I’m just too busy for yoga.” And I have to admit that I’ve often been the one to say it! But, recently, after several months of feeling like I’d fallen off the yoga wagon, I started thinking about how I could ease my way back into a regular practice.

Even when I didn’t have time to get to an actual class, I found other ways to squeeze yoga into a few blissful moments. I found ways to incorporate yoga here and there, throughout my day. And eventually, I did find my way back to the yoga mat . . .

Here are 5 ways to practice yoga even when you feel too busy:

1. Uttanasana break

Whether we spend most of our day seated or on our feet, we can all use a little stretch, a little release of the lower back, and a lengthening of our hamstrings. Take a few short breaks each day to stretch and release physical tension.

Standing up with your feet flat on the ground, just fold forward as far as you can, bringing your hands down to the ground, to your shins, or to a block. Allow some bend in your knees if needed. Hold for 5 rounds of breath. Over time, even this short little practice sprinkled throughout your day can improve your flexibility.

2. Savasana in bed

On the days I skip going to my mat, I always say, “Well, at least I practiced Savasana in bed.” If you want to try this, it’s easy.

When you go to bed, instead of just getting into your usual position for sleeping, get into Savasana. Lying flat on your back, allow your arms and legs to extend and relax. Breathe deeply at first, and then forget about your breathing.

Surrender. Feel as if you are melting into your bed. Dissolving. Merging into the universe. You might fall asleep. If not, give yourself a few minutes here before switching your brain to sleep mode.

3. Pranayama anywhere

Now, the type of pranayama practice is a big factor here. Although breath of fire or alternate nostril breathing are always welcome, the easiest method to use in any situation is simply learning to slow down your breath.

Here’s what you do: Inhale to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, inhale to the count of 4, repeat.

Easy peasy. And over time, you can play around with increasing the count. Practicing controlling your breath will help calm your nervous system, relax your body, and quiet your mind.

4. Hip opener in the a.m.

Before you get out of bed, take a few moments to find a Happy Baby or a Reclined Butterfly pose. You can even combine the above Pranayama practice with one of these poses.

I especially love Happy Baby to start the day. It’s a good reminder to go out into the world feeling playful, happy, and in touch with your inner child. And that leads us to the final suggestion suggestion . . .

5. Into the world

Yoga isn’t just about the movements or breath. It’s what we learn on the mat . . . lessons of strength, focus, perseverance, awareness, self-acceptance . . . and ultimately take with us into our lives.

When you feel too busy to hit the mat, consider one lesson you’ve learned on the mat (maybe compassion, self-love, presence . . .) and challenge yourself to carry what you learned off the mat and into your day.

Regardless of how busy you are, you can always choose to live your life in a way that reflects the principles and purpose of yoga, and in that way, you are weaving yoga into your daily life. May these tips help you connect with and feel inspired in your yoga practice. Namaste.