Wouldn’t you love to find a little extra time this summer to enjoy some yoga? Do you feel like everything in your life is way too busy to even consider a 5-minute meditation, let alone a full 90-minute class?
If you're like me, you probably wake up first thing in the morning with the "intention" to hop on to your mat. But then life immediately gets in the way and you've found yourself busy replying to emails and searching under your bathroom sink for another tube of toothpaste.
So you tell yourself you’ll catch a class later in the day or try rolling out your mat before bed, but the next thing you know you're at home watching the news and logging into Facebook, sending an RSVP to a barbecue for the coming weekend.
This is what the first part of my summer looked like — a million ways distracted from my self-care rituals, especially my yoga practice. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine, suggested that I could find more freedom in my free-flowing summertime lifestyle by having a little more structure.
So I decided to set a regular schedule to include my yoga practice and rituals, because I knew I would feel more at ease have ultimately have more freedom. I became totally recommitted to making time for yoga.
And just two weeks into my renewed summer yoga bliss, I found it hard to believe that I had ever stopped practicing! So now it's your turn to rediscover your yoga by making time for yourself, if only for a few minutes each day. Here are some ways you can try to make space in your busy summer schedule for more yoga. If these tips worked for me then maybe they can for you, too!
1. Step away from the screen.
Try making Facebook less of a priority and unplug yourself from your smartphone. We're often a little too reliant on our electronic devices for a sense of connection and belonging. A simple method that works for me is to set a “bliss time” from 9pm to 9am in which you DO NOT touch your computer or phone and charge it in another room until the next day. You may be surprised by how the seemingly innocuous email checks are cutting into your personal time and yoga practice.
2. Wake up with the sun.
The key to starting a morning yoga practice is getting enough sleep. Figure out how much sleep you need to feel energized and then go to bed in time to wake up for 20 to 30 minutes of meditation and yoga. While the house is still blissfully quiet, the only one you'll have to please is yourself — not your family, your pets or your clients.
3. Make a date with yourself.
This is often an easy one to say you'll do, but then somehow it gets removed from your schedule when something else comes up. Especially in the summertime when it seems that there are endless fun things to do!
But here's the thing we yogis seem to forget — when we take time to center ourselves and reconnect with our source we have WAY more energy and clarity to accomplish all the things we need to get done. Moreover we'll have the confidence to say no to the things that don't ultimately serve us.
4. Let nature be your teacher.
I really love a great yoga class with sweaty Sun Salutations, enhanced by the energy of a room full of dedicated students. But where I live, I'm the only certified yoga teacher in town and am two hours away from the nearest big city. So I totally get it if you can't make it to class or don't have access to a teacher.
That's why I love being outside in nature. You can settle into Child's Pose in the middle of a grassy field with the sun radiating down your spine. You're reminded to breathe by the sound of the wind softly whispering through the trees. So use the summer weather as an opportunity to get outside in nature, if only for just a walking meditation. Your body will thank you.
5. Forget about being "perfect".
So you've made the time and penciled it in. You bought a brand new mat and some bright summer yoga clothes. But you still can't find it in you to start. Why is that? Well, I often feel like my yoga practice has to be PERFECT in order to have any real benefit. Either I believe I HAVE to sweat it out or I think to myself, What if I'm doing it wrong? which subsequently pushes yoga further down the to-do list.
Here's the thing: I truly believe in the importance in practicing safely, within your limits and with the guidance of a qualified teacher. But I also know that yoga can be just as safe and beneficial on your own, especially when you take the time to move in ways that just FEEL GOOD for your body. So if all that means is a few deep breaths and a 15-minute Savasana, then that’s just as perfect, too.