A common reason for failure to engage in self-care behaviors is a lack of time. This is true for sleep, eating well, exercising, etc. It’s also the case for maintaining a yoga practice. Unfortunately, the very same people who are too busy and stressed to find the moments needed to care for themselves are also those who really need to care for themselves. One issue that yogis face is the difficulty of finding courses that meet the individual’s own scheduling needs. Local yoga classes may occur during business hours, when after-school activities are happening, at dinner time, etc. One option for yoga is a home practice. It would seem that yoga at home would be an easy thing to fit into the schedule, but it isn’t always that simple.
As I’ve said in a previous post, there are challenges to developing a regular home practice. Distraction and other obligations are big issues. When you are home, where the dishes and the laundry also live, it’s easy to be distracted by other things that need to be done (or even things that don’t “need” to be done, but that are tempting me to focus on them). Of course this also relates to the issue of time. If you are too busy to attend a yoga class (or in the case of mothers of young children, even to take a shower), how do you find 60-90 minutes for a yoga practice?
I think the first key is the realization that yoga is not just asana. There are eight limbs of yoga, and many of them don’t require you to get on the floor or take tree pose. Living a life guided by the yamas and niyamas is yoga. Engaging in pranayama is yoga. Meditation is yoga. Perhaps that there is not enough time to engage in an asana practice, but it’s certainly possible to engage in a little breathing control while rocking the baby to sleep. Or, during that coffee break, perhaps rather than taking 15 minutes to review facebook during your lunch break, spend that time doing a brief meditation. And, on a daily basis, we can make efforts to treat ourselves and each other well. All of this is yoga and can be beneficial to self and others.
Even when asana is the focus, yoga doesn’t have to be done in one or two hour blocks in a Lululemon outfit. Yoga poses can be engaged in an office chair, in a suit. True, there are some limits to what can be done in a chair, but any yoga is better than no yoga. Yoga also does not need to be done in long blocks. Ten minutes of yoga at a time is fine. If there is room in your residence, it’s a great idea to place a mat on the floor somewhere and leave it there. When you walk by the mat, step on. If you can do two Surya Namaskara As at one time, five times a day, that’s a good amount of yoga, but it hasn’t taken up long periods of time. Yoga in little bites can be a wonderful give to give yourself.
It’s not always easy to find a way to fit your yoga practice into your life, but remember that yoga is about union. The practice of yoga can beunified with the other parts of our life in such a way that we can find the time and space for the practice while also getting everything else done.