You want to practice yoga every day, but you just don’t have the time right?
Guess what, you don’t have to practice for an hour
or more to get all the benefits that yoga has to offer.
For sure, the more you practice the more you will learn about yoga, but more practice doesn’t necessarily mean better practice.
So what do you need to know for a successful practice?
You need to know this: How to sit for a little while (just a few minutes, not hours) and tune in to your natural breath, and you need to know a few good asana (yoga postures) that will move your body, and take your spine through it’s full range of movement.
You don’t need a fancy mat, or a mat at all really, you don’t need fancy yoga clothes, or complex yoga pose sequences. You just need 5 to 10 minutes, a space a bit bigger than your own body, comfortable clothes you can move in, pyjamas are great, and a willing attitude. That’s it.
I am going to share with you the very same set sequence of asana that I do, so that you can follow along. Or, you can do your personal favorites. You have permission to do the same delicious practice that you love every day if you want to. Just make sure to include, forward bends, backbends, core strengthening exercises, vinyasa, pranayama, mudra, bandha………. just kidding. Follow the KISS rule – Keep It Super Simple.
Ten minutes of conscious breathing and movement is way better than an hour of throwing your limbs around in the air like you just don’t care, and not really being that enthused.
When we’re in class it’s great right? The teacher is there, all we have to do is listen to their voice, and follow the instructions. That in itself is soothing to the mind, it allows us to let go; to the voice, to the process, to the moment. Because we don’t have to think about what comes next. We know we are there for that hour or hour and a half, and we can allow ourselves to be held within the space and just let go into the practice, the outside world seems to miraculously melt away once the studio doors are closed and we are on our mats. And that is how it should be.
It’s often not so easy at home though, there are distractions, the phone, the cat, the dog, the kids, the husband, email (yes I know you check your email while you’re practicing) the mail in the mail box (I just want to check it now, while I remember). What’s going to happen later, what happened just before you got on your mat, what might happen tomorrow, next year, next century!
I’m giggling as I write this, but only because I know. I know the distractions, and I know how hard it can be to get on your mat, and STAY THERE. I think we are just a bunch of wrigglers really, for some reason getting on our mats at home makes us almost instantaneously want to get off it.
Maybe it’s because of the mental association, home is for doing and family stuff, for creating, making, organizing, cooking, cleaning. When we are at class, it’s a being place, we go, we sit, we be. There are no distractions, except your gorgeous yoga teacher. (Cue fluttering eyelashes).
But there is hope for a home practice and I have great news. You don’t have to practice for hours every day, 5-10 minutes is enough. And if that feels good and you have time, make it longer, as long as you like. Kids, phones, pets, spouses, mail, washing and work not withstanding.
And if you need convincing that 5-10 minutes of yoga a day is enough to bring real benefits to your body, mind and spirit, you should definitely read this. You should read the article either way, it’s fantastic news, especially for women.
Here is the short practice I promised you, and your ten steps to a practice in under ten minutes.
Numero Uno Get on your mat – it doesn’t have to be a quiet place, that’s nice, but not always possible. Just find a place, put your mat down, and sit on it. Sit on a cushion or bolster if you have one handy.
Step Two Sit comfortably, if that’s lotus position for you, absolutely, cross legged, legs straight out in front, and kneeling are all good. If you can’t sit on the floor, sit on a chair, you can do all of what follows from or with the support of a chair too. The first rule of sitting is, be comfortable.
Step Three Relax your hands on your thighs or in your lap and close your eyes.
Step Four Bring awareness to your breath, just watch it, the inhalation and the exhalation. No need to change it, this is simply the practice of observing the breath. Do this for about a minute.
Step Five Bring your arms down alongside you, breathe in, and as you do, raise your arms up above your head, palms touch, then turn your hands so the backs of your hands are touching, as you exhale take your arms back down alongside you – do this 3 to 5 times.
Step Six Move your body. You can follow the postures in the pictures below, or create your own sequence from memory or do what feels good today. Maybe you want to do some rounds of Sun Salutations, maybe you want to do balancing poses, twists, forward bends, back bends, or maybe you just want to roll around on the floor, which is incredibly good for us by the way. Just move, slowly, mindfully, and with the breath.
Step Seven Rest for a minute or so in Savasana, that’s lying down on your back with your eyes closed. It’s also a wonderful pose for taking selfies, it gives you an instant facelift. Check me out in the Savasana photo below. I call this “post yoga bliss”, and that is what you will get too. When you practice every day, or most days, your life really will change for the better in so many wonderful and unexpected ways.
Step Eight Get off your mat, roll it up, put it away.
Step Nine Congratulate yourself for doing your practice, for honouring your mind, body and spirit by spending time in connection with yourself.
Step Ten Have a beautiful day.
I’ve made the print out for a five minute practice, a ten to fifteen minute practce or longer, do the poses top to bottom left column, centre column, righ hand side column. Start with easy cross legged pose and end with savasana. If you have practiced with me, these are all regular poses we do in class. The pose that says Surya Namaskar is just a representation of this practice, (one pose of twelve in the full practice) if you don’t know the practice of Surya Namaskara, research it, it’s a wonderful practice and a good every day practice. Hold each pose for 5-10 breaths each side, be sure to practice each pose on both sides of the body. Except for Sukhasana and Tadasana of course, though it is good to get in the habit of changing the cross of the legs in Sukhasana. You could do 3 breaths with upward and downward arms with the right shin in front, then change the cross of the legs and do another 3 deep beautiful breaths.
If you haven’t done yoga before, go along to a beginners class to learn all the basics before you start your practice.
If are already practicing and know all of the above asana, go right ahead and practice away, right now, this moment, only ten minutes, promise. ♡
Always check with your GP or doctor to ensure that yoga is ok for you to practice, and before beginning this or any other exercise programme.
Hope you enjoy, much love, Jo x
All information, content, and material of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. If you are experiencing any form of health problem, always consult a doctor before attempting any treatment on your own, and before beginning yoga or any exercise programme.
If you google “Kirtan” (Keer-tahn) and watch some of the You tube clips, it may look a bit hippie dippy yahoo man, especially when everyone’s got their eyes closed, arms waving in the air, looking like they are under some sort of trance or...
About me & Yoga Six years ago I was introduced to yoga, I’m not sure if I found yoga or yoga found me, but it has become a huge part of my life journey. It was inevitable that our paths would eventually cross, as I was always aware of something more meaningful and...
The whole aim of yoga is this - to achieve Dhyana or meditation, and then from perfection in meditation, arises Samadhi, union with the divine. Make no mistake, yoga is not designed to give you a yoga butt, to make you into a gymnastic acrobat, yoga is not stretching,...
Colds and flues seem to have been particularly virulent these past few years, but there are some great ways to help us build and keep our immunity strong, and to ward off the dreaded seasonal lurgies. Today is the first day of Autumn and winter is once again on her...
Yoga Nidra is such a beneficial practice, and we all need more rest, more relaxation, rejuvenation and regeneration for our precious bodies and minds. And just like your physical yoga practice, it doesn't have to take hours for you to receive the wonderful effects of...
Something really cool we do every year is keep a “The Happiness Jar. ” We have made our own happiness jar, (that's it up top) and every day we pop in a wee note of something that made us happy that day. You can have a happiness jar, bowl, box, barrel, wall, tree! ...
Ewww, do you? Really? Just kidding, and I know, it's a bit of an icky subject, but fungal toenail infection (onychomycosis or tinea unguium) is a really common problem, and if left to fester and fungalise ( yes that's a made up word) can cause serious health...