“I was too busy to practice yoga today.” Hmm. There seems to be this preconceived notion that taking time to practice yoga every day is luxurious, selfish even. It’s not!
Depending on how early we’re prepared to wake, we have a certain number of hours in our day. And we can choose how we fill many of those hours.
Why We Need to Stop Putting Ourselves Last
If you’re the type of person who races around all day burning multiple candles at both ends, and then collapsing into bed at the end of the day, thoroughly exhausted, it’s highly likely that you prioritise your own wellbeing last, after every one else has been taken care of.
If that resonates with you, you’re not alone. Many of us put ourselves at the bottom of the pile, and while that might seem like the most unselfish thing to do, it totally backfires when we burn out (she says from experience!).
If you’ve practiced yoga before, you’ll know that it can make you feel amazing, and that’s why we keep coming back for more, right?
And let’s forget the idea that we need to find 90 minutes for a yoga practice to be effective. 10 minutes is ample time to reap the benefits, particularly if you practice regularly. Here are six reasons your yoga practice should be right up there at the top of your to-do list.
1. Be more relaxed.
A regular yoga and/or meditation practice helps us release tension, both from the physical body and the mind. This point is HUGE. Some of us have got years of pent up tension lurking around, and often that tension is behind our unreasonable outbursts, ineffective decisions, and negative emotions.
When we’re relaxed, we free up precious energy (it takes a lot of energy to keep muscles tense) to use for positive, inspiring activities that help us feel light, happy, and creative. When we’re relaxed, we feel as if we have more time for things like yoga (ironically), as well as for taking care of others.
When we’re relaxed, we can approach life with patience, which helps us go with the flow. When we’re relaxed, we can respond in a calm and connected way when faced with a challenging situation or person. Who doesn't want that?
2. Live from the heart.
We’ve all got that internal chatter that has the potential to drive us nuts. And the more we listen and react to it, the louder it gets, right?!
Learning to still the mind—which is an awesome side effect of a regular yoga practice—gives us the opportunity to listen to the wisdom of our hearts.
Yep, the mind tends to shout the loudest, but when we regularly encourage it to rest, we can hear the whispering of the heart, and in my experience, these are the messages that are most profound and that lead to amazing things.
Living this way means more compassion, more trust, less ego, and less fear.
3. Be a better parent, friend, and partner.
While we might think we’re being selfish to take—God forbid—one hour out of 24 each day to take care of ourselves, it actually enables us to be a better person, which has a positive effect on those we love.
I know that when I’ve practiced in the morning, I can deflect other people’s negative emotions more easily, I rely on coffee less because I feel more energized, and I see the light side of situations, even if they’re potentially challenging. That just helps me be a better person to be around.
4. Live with less ego, and more clarity and insight.
It is our ego that reacts to others, creating drama, indecision, and confusion in our lives. Learning to detach from the ego (as yoga teaches us to) helps us create a pathway to our true nature.
Our true nature is that inner wisdom that we can’t and don’t want to ignore. When we connect to it regularly, i.e. when we make the time to practice every day, even for 10 minutes, we find ourselves making clear, insightful decisions that just make sense.
5. Maintain balanced energy levels.
Phrenetic energy—you know, that kind we get from coffee, sugar, or manic stress—is not high quality energy, even though we feel like we’re on fast forward. A regular yoga practice, particularly in the morning, helps us feel energised in a calm and sustainable way.
6. You do have the time.
We commonly associate yoga with a 90-minute chunk of time, but you can make a profound difference to your life with as little as 10 minutes of yoga a day.
Simply sitting still and watching your breath, or practicing one or two poses in the morning will help create a more relaxed, balanced, and energised you—and everyone can benefit from that.
I hope that soon, “I was too busy to practice yoga today” becomes “I care about myself enough to make time for my yoga practice today.”
Image Credit: Anna Coventry