We all know how busy life can get. Managing our jobs, private lives, health and social connections can be a bit too much at times. But especially in times when our to-do list is bursting, we are climbing the career ladder and juggling family responsibilities all at the same time do we need more zen in our lives.
Slowing down can seem so hard in our day and age, where things are changing in the blink of an eye and it feels as if there are new technological advancements every month. Have you ever had a friend tell you that you should just “go to yoga“ as a solution to all of the stress in your life and the one hundred things you have to do at the same time? You probably said or thought in response something along the lines of: “Yes, you are right, but how the hell should I fit a yoga practice into a day that has only 24 hours when my days should already be at least 36 hours long?“.
And while it is absolutely plausible that many of us lack the time to practice yoga, there are many benefits of yoga that are especially linked to stress reduction, improving focus, slowing down and coping better with issues at hand. In general, a regular yoga practice can make us happier, and more content and peaceful human beings. But you probably know all of that already and ask yourself how you can incorporate all of these benefits into your busy day to day life.
In the following, we have combined some tips and tricks on how you can integrate a daily yoga practice into commuting on the train and lunch meetings with clients, taking your zen with you no matter where you go. All of this without having to sacrifice a lot of time, but getting the same benefits out of the practice.
1. Breathe, motherfucker!
This very direct exclamation from The Iceman, Wim Hof, sums it up pretty much: learn how to control your breath and how to breathe right, and the benefits will be amazing. Many of us are only panting through life, gasping for air, never really breathing deeply and consciously into our bellies. But this is where the real magic happens. The better we breathe, the more oxygen reaches our brain and organs, the more we can relax and focus clearly on the task at hand. It doesn’t have to be a fancy pranayama exercise, just slowly and consciously guiding the breath into your belly will help you a lot.
2. Change your attitude
Get that thought out of your head that yoga needs to happen on a mat in a candle-lit and aroma infused studio. Yoga is unity, it is being in the present moment. And this is something you can do wherever you are, consciously reminding yourself of being here, now and not in your head, thinking of all the tasks that are on your to-do-list.
3. Improve your posture
Sitting for long periods of time can be damaging for your body. Lower back pain, slower blood flow and decreased organ function are the result. Try standing as much as you can in your office and improve your posture. Tadasana or mountain pose is a great one for this. It helps you with a straight spine, an open chest and relaxed shoulders, plus engaging Mula Bandha also strengthens your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Stand in Tadasana for a few times each day, no matter where you’re at, and you will recognize a big improvement in your posture in no time.
4. Chair yoga
Try practicing yoga at your desk. Use your chair as your yoga prop and modify some of the known asanas. Chair yoga can be just as beneficial as regular yoga in stretching out your back, shoulders, neck and the side of your body. Just start with lifting your arms, opening your chest and rolling your shoulders back. Or do some chair cat cows. You can really get creative here. Yoga doesn’t always have to look fancy. Sometimes it’s these five minutes that make a difference.
5. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a common meditation practice that aims at bringing us back to the here and now. This doesn’t have to be practiced on a pillow with your eyes closed but can be taken anywhere.
Try to remind yourself of all the different sensations you feel in your body while sitting in the 10am meeting or watch your thoughts while standing next to the printer, waiting for the document to arrive.
6. Prioritize yourself
This should be a given, but unfortunately, a lot of times it is not. Only when we are happy and healthy are we able to perform our work in the best way possible. Hence, eliminating stress and worries should be part of our daily routine to be happy and to function optimally in all areas of your life. Still, a lot of people (especially women) put their needs behind those they love and often also behind the work they have to do. Often, the only way to make time for yoga, time for inner peace and consequently also time for yourself is to to consciously choose it. Your family and your career need you as your best possible self, and sometimes that means leaving work early to recharge in a yin class.
7. Plan ahead
With an effective planning and a clear schedule, you would be amazed of how much time you actually have. Often we only think we lack time, because we don’t efficiently manage it. Instead of clearly planning and then doing, we are stuck in our heads, thinking about all the things that have to get done but not actually doing it. Another big time killer is social media: set yourself a timer on apps like Instagram and Facebook to avoid mindlessly being distracted by scrolling through them.
8. You only need 10 minutes
It doesn’t need a full 90 minutes of a planned yoga sequence. Often, only 10 minutes in the morning or the evening or even during lunch time at work will do their magic. If you still struggle to incorporate a practice into your daily life, try getting up ten minutes earlier or use your newly acquired planning magic from step 7 to help you find time during your day to roll out the mat and get active.
If you integrate only some of the above mentioned tips into your daily life and try to be especially mindful and conscious about how you are spending your days and in which situations you start being stressed, you will soon recognize a change recognized not only in lowered stress levels and an improvement in your mood, but you will also have more focus at work, getting things done faster and leaving you more time for the really important things in life.
If you need some inspiration on how to practice yoga to reverse work-related stress, emotions and even burnout, join us for Yoga For Burnout once a month on A Sunday from 15:00-16:00 and let Alicia Ingruber take you on journey towards a more cantered, happy and fulfilled you.
Book your ticket here: https://theconsciousclub.com/book-now
Written by Clara Malzer