Hello fellow yogis!
This post is dedicated to all those too busy to fit in a weekly yoga class! I’m a big believer in yoga classes – the instructor is usually a fountain of knowledge on all things technique such as breathing and bending. Without regular classes, especially as a beginner, you may find yourself less confident in your poses, and confidence really can make the difference between holding a pose for 2 breaths or 5!
Sometime however, classes just aren’t practical. No matter how guilty we feel that the single mum down the road with 4 kids, her own business to run, and an elderly father to look after still has time to go to the gym every night, not all of us have such superpowers. Myself included. In the last couple of months I’ve been sleeping when tired, eating when hungry and in all other spare time writing my dissertation; the only way I could view yoga classes during that time were as an hour when I wouldn’t be able to work on my final deadlines and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to relax. If I’d allowed myself more time to prepare, I would have meditated on this. I suggest those of you who know you have a busy schedule coming should reflect on the time spent in yoga class so that instead of associating it with time lost, you can associate it with energy gained, and time spent profitably as opposed to wasted on nonprofitable procrastination (which is often the case with revision or deadlines!).
During this time however I began to appreciate the value of short yoga breaks… or yoga bursts as I like to call them!
I realised that instead of going to class I would need to incorporate at least an hour and a half in to my week. It turns out I ended up doing almost twice as much as this without feeling like any time had been wasted! The wonder of yoga bursts is that they are flexible, you can do them whenever you feel the need or whenever you have the time.
I began by setting my morning alarm half an hour early; instead of waking at 8am I would get up at 7.30am and do 15 minutes of sun salutation, slowly increasing the pace as my body warmed up so that I finished energised. One of the most daunting prospects of home practice is that often we think that we need to force ourselves through a full-length yoga class without the help of an instructor. I don’t think this is necessary, especially not at the start of your home practice routine. It is enough that you have dedicated 15 minutes of your day just to get started. If you find that you need or want to spend more time practising then you can – that is the wonderful flexible nature of home practice!
This is exactly what I found. I was getting to the middle of the day, after 5 or so hours sat hunched over my laptop, and already my back was starting to ache and my energy dwindling. The thought of spending the rest of the day in the same position writing on the same subject did nothing to motivate me and so I looked up a short motivating yoga sequence to incorporate in to the middle of my day. The one I used most days can be found here, but I suggest scrawling youtube or your favourite yoga websites for one that suits you (just don’t spend too long on this part if you have revision to be getting on with!).
There are also loads of great websites out there that offer support for home, or even office(!) yoga practice! I’ve linked a few below just to get you started:
- 8 Tips for a Successful Home Yoga Practice – Mind Body Green
- Think Outside the Studio: Guide to Starting a Home Yoga Practice – Gaiam Life
- 6 Essential Tools for a Successful Home Yoga Practice – My Yoga Online
- 21 Day Yoga Challenge – Yoga Journal
- Office Yoga – Yoga Journal
- 14 Steps to Build a Ladder to Your Own Home Yoga Practice – Elephant Journal
Below I have listed some of my favourite energising yoga videos, which can all be found on youtube and are less than 15 minutes long:
- Yoga For Energy – Better Than Coffee – Yoga Today
- Weight Loss Yoga: Strong Arms, Back, and Shoulders – Tara Stiles
- Morning Yoga for Flexibility – Tara Stiles
- Energising Sequence: All Levels Yoga – Yogatic
I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to start incorporating yoga practice into your daily home life instead of just waiting until your weekly class!