Yoga is an activity that many of us would love to fit into our schedules, but realistically however many expensive leggings or plush mats we own, it can be difficult to find the time to attend a class regularly enough to feel the benefits. Whether you’re new to yoga and meditation, or familiar with it and just feel that you’re losing your hold on your practice, there are ways to build it into any day; whenever, wherever, and whoever may need it.
The definition of the word yoga doesn’t just cover the physical practice of the stretching, bending and twisting poses (known as asanas) but also mental and spiritual practices, the most common of which is meditation. Practising meditation, be this sitting cross-legged surrounded by scented candles and crystals, or just lying back and letting your mind clear, can be hugely beneficial. There’s no set one ‘right’ way to do it and no set ritual or rules you should follow – meditation just means ‘contemplation’ or ‘thinking’.
“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury
Taking time to meditate regularly has been proven to reduce stress levels, improve concentration, increase happiness and boost self-awareness. These benefits can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their level of practice – as long as you’re making space for meaning in your life and allowing yourself some kind of sustainable self-care practice, you will feel a change.
“Our bodies tell stories, and they always tell the truth when we listen.” – Ana Forrest
Practising yoga (physical, mental and/or spiritual) need not involve attending a 90-minute class twice or week or visiting a ‘guru’ or teacher of any form. You instead must do what you can with what you have. Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning for a gentle stretch with a guided video (narrated and sequenced as such that you shouldn’t have to look at the screen, just concentrate on yourself), or sit comfortably in bed for 15 minutes and breath through a guided meditation. If you have the time for an hour or so a week, looking up a yoga studio near you is the ideal first step to seeking help in finding a regular practice that suits you. There’s also a whole range of apps available for your Apple or Android phone to guide you through yoga and meditation on the go.
“Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.” – Sri Pattabhi Jois
If you don’t have time for any of these things, that’s fine too. Your practice is what you make it; and if that’s 10 deep breaths in the car before you walk into the office or sitting down with a cup of tea to curl up and close your eyes before picking up the kids for 2 minutes, that still works. Taking 1 minute will be always be better than taking no time at all. As long as you can breathe, clear your head and feel some kind of relaxation from it, then your meditation practice is working.
Seek solace in the few minutes, even if it really is just a few, and treat it like a little gift to yourself.
“Be easy. Take your time. You are coming home to yourself.” - Nayyirah Waheed