I'm a firm believer that a yoga practice doesn't have to last 90 minutes to be effective. I suppose I fall into the quality over quantity category. Sometimes I think that people bit off more than they can chew -- if they can't fit a 60- or 90-minute yoga practice into their day, then they throw in the yoga towel (or mat, so to speak). What would happen if you practiced yoga like so:
- Start the day with 10 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of pranayama.
- Do 5-12 Sun Salutations before jumping in the shower.
- Take a 10-minute yoga break at lunch time to do a few Sun Salutations, chair yoga, perhaps some pranayama.
- Spend 5 minutes doing pranayama around the 3:00PM mark -- just when you start hitting the proverbial wall.
- Sit for 10 minutes of meditation after dinner.
- Do 10 minutes of yoga right before bed.
Does this sound more manageable than a full yoga class? I notice that when I suggest this to my clients, they seem a lot less intimidated by the thought of maintaining a regular yoga practice.
Personally, I enjoy interspersing my day with little yoga breaks. Last night before bed, I did a quick, 5-minute Kundalini practice that involved simple postures. I slept like a baby. Earlier this afternoon when I needed a little pick-me-up, I did some pranayama. After I finish this post, I'm going to squeeze in a short yoga sequence before having dinner.
Sometimes a brief yoga practice can be a great way to transition during the day -- before work, after work, after dinner, before bed, etc. You get the idea. This is not to say that having a longer practice isn't nice either. It's all good -- long or short. As long as it's consistent.
If you're looking for some bite-sized yoga to fit into your day, I highly recommend The Yoga Toolbox: An Everyday Guide for Shaping Your Future. This ebook -- which costs less than price of one yoga class at $10 -- offers 14 different "sessions" that will change your body and your mind for the better. Each practice has a different objective and many common issues are addressed:
- gaining access to unlimited power
- purifying the five bodies or sheaths
- developing concentration through controlled breathing
- becoming flexible in life, starting with the spine
- connecting to “the inner sun” for self healing
- bending forward into stress and change
- removing tension and blockages in the joints
- developing a strong nervous system
- learning to bend backwards, digest and let go
- reversing depression or sadness
- stand up, be centered and act dynamically
- developing deep, restful sleep
- overcoming negative conditioning
- mastering the art of meditation
- using the power of mudras (psycho-physical gestures) to change your life
- using Yoga-Nidra (deep relaxation)
All of the practices in the book are simple and practiced separately or strung together to create a longer practice. Click here for a sample chapter in PDF form and click here for more information about The Yoga Toolbox.
Well, I'm off to do my 10-minute transition from work to play yoga practice. Remember -- you don't have to bit off more than you can chew in regards to practicing yoga. Think bite-sized.