As a wife, mother of four, and someone who works full time, I can totally understand the feeling of not having enough hours in the day! We are all leading super busy lives, and with so much to do, it can often feel impossible to find the time that we need to focus on ourselves. However, I'm here to tell you that making time for yoga can go a long way to helping you strike a balance and combat the stress that goes hand in hand with modern day living.
When life gets extra busy, we often try to cut out the things that don't seem as important as the rest. And, unfortunately, that tends to mean taking less time to recharge, less time for self-care, and less time to simply have fun!
A Daily Dose of Yoga
As a yoga teacher, I of course understand and appreciate the endless benefits that yoga brings into my life. That doesn't mean that I have always had time for yoga, but that I have learnt from experience that when I miss it out from my daily routine, that I feel less energised, less grounded, and less able to focus on the important things in my life.
I have also come to realise that it is during my busiest days that I need yoga the most! When I am going full speed from meeting to meeting and appointment to appointment, my mind is also of course going full speed trying to keep up. This can sometimes lead to my emotional energy being drained, which then has a knock-on effect on my physical energy.
On these days when I have a lot to keep on top of, I have found that taking just ten minutes between obligations to flow through a simple yoga routine helps to refresh my mindset and recharge me physically.
A daily dose of yoga is a practical way to enjoy a moment of peace. Additionally, following your yoga session with a short period of meditative practice can go a long way to enhancing these feelings, and allow you to truly reflect on the events of each day. Doing so will help you to process and release any negativity that has taken place, leaving you ready to face the next day with a fresh attitude and clear mind.
If you are a yoga teacher who is losing their motivation to develop their own yoga practice, then check out my article on How to Avoid Yoga Teacher Burnout!
The Science of Relaxation
The parasympathetic nervous system is largely responsible for how calm and relaxed we feel. This is just one part of the autonomic nervous system, and works opposite to the fight or flight response we get from the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
When you active your parasympathetic nervous system, then your heart rate will start to decrease and your breathing becomes calmer. Also, blood is sent to the organs to aid with their function, and the body enters a state of relaxation.
Yoga helps us to slow down, create a sense of peace, and activates this rest and digest nervous system. This puts your body and your mind in a much better state to maintain calm, and to deal with any stresses that we have to navigate later during that day.
Relaxed Vs Chaotic
I don't know about you, but those around me can certainly tell the difference between ‘relaxed me' and ‘chaotic me'. And the latter of these two states is most likely to manifest when I haven't made time for myself during each day – such as with a yoga session, regardless of how long or short this session is.
Not only can others clearly tell the difference, but I am also aware of the change in myself when I make the time to practice yoga daily. I feel happier, healthier, and also as though I've done something just for myself – which is a simple but effective form of self-care!
The way in which we live our lives often means that we are simply not living in the moment. We are worried about the past and stressed out about the future – when really what we should be doing is finding ways to live in the present moment.
When we stop to focus on what is happening in the here and now, instead of situations and circumstances beyond our control, then we are better able to stay present and to live a life that isn't ruled by stress!
Benefits to the Body
Studies have shown us that practicing yoga regularly can really help to give your digestion a boost. When we are stressed out and struggling to relax, our digestive system takes a hit, and this can leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, and without the energy to be your best self.
Some great yoga poses for soothing your digestion and beating the bloat are Downward Facing Dog, Bow Pose, Bridge Pose, and Cobra Pose.
I generally wouldn't recommend doing yoga immediately after a meal, but if you are still feeling bloated an hour or so after eating, then take a short break from your day to do one or more of these poses for between one and two minutes. You'll soon feel the benefit!
Embracing a regular yoga practice is also a great way to enjoy better sleep, as your mind is more relaxed and your body has spent some time being physically active and challenged. Furthermore, yoga provides a way for your mind and body to feel balanced and grounded, which in turn can help you to let go of the small things and concentrate on all that is good in your life.
Being able to prioritise positivity will do wonders for your sleep cycle as you will feel much more calmer and worry-free as you climb into bed each night.
Making Time for Yoga
I can tell you from lived experience that even five minutes of yoga practice each day is enough to feel some benefit. And let's face it, even the busiest amongst us have just five spare minutes to devote to feeling better each day!
Tips and Tricks
Still think that you don't have time to practice yoga every day? Give my following tips and tricks some thought to see if you really can't squeeze in some yoga every day!
- There are some super fun yoga poses that you can do in bed first thing in the morning! Spend five minutes flowing through some basics, such as Child's Pose, Fish Pose, and Legs Up The Wall Pose.
- Set your alarm ten minutes early and hit the mat for those ten minutes before you start your day.
- Take out your diary right now and schedule in at least three ten minute slots over the next week when you will take time for yoga. Aim to increase this time and the number of times a week that you schedule it in as you move forwards.
- Get a membership to an online yoga class, so that even if you don't have time to get to a class you can still learn at home.
- Create a space in your home that is purely for practicing yoga. This will remind you to practice and means you never have waste time setting up a space each day.