We have all heard that yoga can help you destress, feel fitter and healthier, right?
So why are so many of us not doing it? If it really will improve your life, your body and your mind. Well, I have heard all the reasons:
- I’m not flexible enough
- I’m not fit enough
- I can’t get to a class
- It’s too slow for me
- I don’t have time
These are all excuses. Yoga helps you get flexible and fitter. It can be done online in the comfort of your home and there are different types of yoga from calm and restorative where you completely relax for 10 minutes at a time in a pose to power yoga where you break a sweat in the first 2 minutes.
The last reason is time and that is what I want to talk to you about today. Did you know that you can do yoga in 5 minutes or less? I am going to let you know why you should and give you some practices below. You will not regret it!
So, how can yoga change your life? First a little story about how it changed it mine (don’t worry ill keep it short). I’m sure some of you can relate.
I started yoga around 11 years ago, when I was extremely unfit and inflexible. I started for the physical benefits like most people do. Who doesn’t want to be bendy and feel healthy? Especially when Instagram started becoming popular and there were so many ‘Insta yogis’ looking great on there. But I wasn’t consistent and practiced for about 30 minutes once a week, if that.
After around 8 years I didn’t really see much improvement, why? Because I practiced on and off…mostly off! I was lazy! It wasn’t really until I had my daughter that I realised how much yoga was doing for my body AND my mind. I started using yoga not only to help with the pains of carrying a baby all day but also as a place to just be me and not just mum.
That is how I ended up practicing regularly and becoming a yoga teacher. I found yoga so therapeutic and wondered why so many people were not practicing. Now after 11 years of practice I can see just how much it has helped my mental state (especially during a pandemic). How easily I can calm myself down when things get too much and how much more considerate I am of other people. That is how it can change your life!
Did you know ‘what we find on the mat is what is often happening in our lives as well’. If we are trying to push through and rush through our practice, where else in your life are you doing this? Do you rush through the day, have about 5 to-do lists? Can you slow it down, feel each movement, feel each task, each breath, one at a time?
Are you really taking your time, wanting to perfect each move and then missing the point or the focus of the class? Do you find that you take your time with everything in life as well because you need everything to be perfect?
It is difficult for a lot of us to get on the mat. I’m writing this now when I should be doing yoga (I’ve already inspired myself to jump on, after this). It can be daunting when we don’t have an hour every day to practice and that is exactly why these next tips will help you to fit in 5 minutes of yoga every single day!
Let’s get to the tips!
- Did you know there are classes on YouTube that are only 5 minutes long? Take a look at this playlist below and save them so you can practice for just 5 minutes. The great thing about these is if you get inspired you can add another one on and do a 10 minute practice but if not 5 minutes is great!
2. You can do some breathing exercises. If you find you are short on time but need a little relaxation and calming, there are different breathing exercises you can do. One of my favourites is just inhaling and exhaling for a count of 6 (inhale for 6 counts, exhale for 6 counts). Again you can find different breathing exercises on YouTube. I have linked 1 that is similar below.
3. Be present in the moment. The physical part of yoga is just 1 part of yoga. Being fully present in the moment is one and is a form of meditation. How can you practice this? Try to focus your mind on one thing at a time. If you are talking to someone, turn off your phone, look them in the eye and really give them your full attention. Turning off your phone is a great thing to practice as this can be a very big distraction throughout most peoples whole day.
4. Meditation. Now typically you don’t go into a full meditative state until after 11 minutes, however, like above being fully present is a form of meditation so listen to a guided meditation or sit in silence and focus on your breathe for 5 minutes. Tune out everything and just sit with your mind. If you struggle to turn your mind off then bring all you attention to your breath and every time your mind wonders, keep pulling it back to the breath. Focus on the sound of the inhale and exhale, your belly rising, your shoulders moving.
5. The 5th thing I am going to mention is to add all of these together. Make a quick 5 minute practice adding all these together, I will give you an example below. (I will make a YouTube video soon, if you prefer to watch along, let me know in the comments if this is something you would like).
- 1 minute – sit, notice how you feel and breathe for a count of 6 in and out.
- 2-3 minutes – from seated head onto all 4’s and do a couple cat/cows then move into Sun Salutations (I would do 1 or 2).
- 1 minute – Come back down to seated and focus back in on your breath and how you feel.
I hope that this shows you just how easy it can be to add in 5 minutes of daily yoga practice into your life. If you are unsure, Head on over to the YouTube link above and below and follow along with a 5 minute practice.
Let’s change your life and create a happier one, 5 minutes at a time!