The many wondrous benefits of yoga are well studied and documented.
Yoga builds muscle strength, to help prevent falls and injuries. It improves your bone health. It naturally boosts your immune system. It lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It helps you sleep better and eases symptoms of depression.
Best of all, yoga is completely free.
So why don’t we all do yoga regularly, if it brings such an amazing wealth of health improvements?
For many people, the simple answer is time.
We all only have a mere 24 hours in a day. Some of that gets used by sleep. Then, between family, friends, and other necessary tasks, just how much is left to do yoga?
We might know, theoretically, that yoga will help improve everything else we do. It helps us sleep more deeply and thoroughly, so our entire day has more energy. Yoga keeps us healthy so we don’t waste time with colds, allergies, and other issues. It prevents the more serious injuries or aches or pains which can waylay us for days or weeks.
But, somehow, we don’t make time for yoga. As a result, we slog through our day at half-pace because our energy levels are low. We toss and turn instead of sleeping. The lack of health makes itself shown in a thousand small ways.
So the key is to find time. Some time. Any time.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started!
Wake Up Earlier
This might sound painful, but it actually works itself out after a few days.
A key benefit of yoga is that you sleep much more soundly. You fall asleep more quickly and your sleep is more restorative.
Once you get into the yoga rhythm, your better sleep will mean your overall sleep experience will improve. Plus you’ll receive all the other additional benefits that yoga brings.
Just Do Ten Minutes
When we think of yoga as a long, time-intensive process, we’re likely to put it off.
But we often spend ten minutes on mundane tasks without thinking twice.
Create a yoga routine that’s just ten minutes long. Include the main muscle groups so every section gets its chance.
Gently swing your arms as if you were a maypole. Gently bend left, then right, to form half-moons. Gently forward bend, then back bend. Even those small motions, for ten minutes total, can be enough to chug the lymphatic system into motion and flex the joints.
Brushing Your Teeth
Most people brush their teeth twice a day.
The American Dental Association recommends each session be two minutes long.
That’s four minutes right there.
Simply add a gentle movement into the teeth brushing. Some people do their half-moon bends during this point, gently curving first to the left, then to the right. Other people balance in tree pose, a minute on each side.
It might feel odd the first few times, but it quickly just becomes a part of that routine.
When you shower, you’re trying to get all parts of you clean anyway. The average length of time a person showers is 8.2 minutes.
When you’re showering, gently forward-bend to get to your knees and legs. Gently back-bend as you clean your back. If you do this a little each day, you’ll notice your flexibility improving with each passing day.
Waiting for a Microwave … Dryer …
There are so many times when we have to wait for something to finish up.
Twenty more seconds on the microwave.
A last minute on the dryer cycle. Instead of standing there tense because time isn’t spinning by more quickly, do just one short thing with that time. Do a gentle lunge. Do a standing twist. Tree pose is great if you have to be stationary.
If you’re somewhere public, and want to be subtle, even just lifting one foot off the floor and putting it over your other ankle can work on your balance.
A typical half-hour TV show has 8 minutes of commercials in it.
It’s probably unlikely, when you’re hunkered down on the couch or bed, that you’re going to stand up during each commercial. However, there are other ways to use the time to gently restore your body.
Imagine there’s a halo floating over your head. Gently trace that halo with your crown, first one way five loops, then the other. Next, imagine an orange is floating right in front of your nose. Trace your nose around the orange, first five times clockwise, then five times counter-clockwise.
You can do other types of flexes while seated or lying down. Arch your toes forward, then back. Stretch your arms high over your head. Gently lower them down in front of you.
If you’re actually operating a motor vehicle, your entire attention should be on the road ahead. Both hands should be on the wheel and all focus should be on the environment.
That being said, there are often a variety of times which can provide opportunities for yoga.
- If you’re stopped at a red light, do gentle shoulder shrugs. Rotate the shoulders around. Flex your fingers.
- If you’re a passenger, the possibilities are far wider. Stretch your toes. Turn your head first to the right, then to the left. Press your shoulder blades back. Draw in your belly button back toward your spine.
Watch for Moments
There are so many moments during a day when there are pauses.
Maybe it’s five minutes while you wait for a bus. Maybe it’s eight minutes while dinner cooks in the oven. Maybe it’s nine minutes while you wait for the shower to be free.
Think of each moment as an opportunity.
This is a time that can better your sleep. It can ease the aches. It can renew your energy. You might not notice the results after day one, or day two, but over time those little moments will add up. You’ll move through life more quickly.
You’ll tackle tasks with more focus. That will then build up more free time in between tasks, which makes everything go more smoothly.
End of the Day
By the time the end of the day comes around, many of us are exhausted. We just want to sleep.
It’s important to consider that just a few minutes of yoga can help sleep come quickly and fully.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to perform with peak energy. That is assuming that the sleep is full and deep. If you’re getting fractured sleep, that can cause a number of health issues. On the other hand, if you get solid, deep sleep, it benefits every waking moment of the next day.
Create a wind-down routine for the end of your day.
Lay down in a room which is cool and dark. Breathe slowly and deeply. If troubling thoughts come up, write them down as something to address tomorrow. Start from your toes. Tense and then relax them. Work your way up to your ankles. Knees. And all the way up to the head.
Release all your issues for the night.
Your only task now is to sleep as well as you can. That will give you the best chance of tackling whatever tomorrow brings.
Yoga benefits your entire health – body, mind, and soul. It makes sense that the action of yoga can infuse every part of your day.
From brushing your teeth to waiting for the coffee to brew, from waiting in line at the supermarket to waiting for a commercial to end, there are countless moments throughout a day for yoga.
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