I’m so honored to feature a guest post today by the lovely Hien Hong. I met Hien online and fell in love with her drive to succeed and her passions for both yoga and helping others. I love following her inspiring Instagram account & she has a wonderful new Facebook group too! Today she’s sharing sage advice for those of us who want to do yoga, but feel like life is just too busy! Enjoy! -Erin
Busy? You Can Still Do Yoga if You Know What it Means to You
In an ideal world, everybody would be exercising 3-4 times a week, making love with their partners twice a week, prepping meals for the whole week, and making the 6 a.m. yoga class every morning.
But let’s be real, it’s nothing like that.
Although it’d be cool to make it to a full yoga class at least once a week, sometimes that’s not feasible. It doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up or give up on your practice completely. It just means your practice has to be different.
Why Do You Even Practice Yoga?
Whether it’s simply for health or there’s a deeper spiritual element to your practice, it’s important to remember the essence of your individual yoga practice.
What is yoga anyway? According to the ancient teachings from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is the quieting of the mind; the ceasing of ruminations.
At it’s essence, yoga is about turning off “thinking” and turning on “being.”
So by keeping this essence of yoga and your personal reason for practicing in mind, you can think up ways to make yoga work for you.
5 Ways to Practice Yoga While You’re Busy
Do the poses you like the most, or are the simplest to you.
Throughout college, my go to poses were legs up the wall and supported fish pose. These were my personal favorites because 1) I was always slouching over a desk or laptop, thus requiring a chest opener like supported fish pose and 2) I was anxious and found that legs up the wall helped calm my nerves.
So ask yourself, what poses do you enjoy doing the most? Or which parts of your body or mind feel out of balance?
Know the cool down poses: forward folds, legs up the wall, reclined twists, child’s pose, etc.
I’m referring to the poses that are typically taught at the end of a class before final resting pose, savasana. If you’re somebody who is stressed and just want to know how to do yoga in order to ground, the cool down poses will help the most.
Know where you hold tension on your body and do something about it.
Some common, overlooked spots and what to do:
Shoulders – Roll your shoulders backwards and forwards
Neck – Draw circles with your chin, take one ear to shoulder to stretch the side of your neck
Jaw – Open and close your mouth, massage the sides of your face
Hip – Lie on your back and do figure four, or happy baby
I encourage you to take a moment and check right now, where in your body you feel tight. If it’s shoulders or neck, do the stretches suggested above right now!
Notice your breath.
If you’re a meditator, you probably know how breathing can affect your body and mind.
The basic idea behind breathing is that when you’re stressed, your breath might be short and shallow. It’s optimal to breathe deeply, but don’t force it. Just notice it. You can count the length of your breaths for a couple rounds. Naturally, your breath will begin to slow and deepen. Doing this allows your nervous system to go from the sympathetic (fight/flight) to parasympathetic (rest/digest).
Do one thing mindfully.
If the essence of yoga is to quiet the mind, it may be helpful to find ONE thing in your busy day to do mindfully. This means only focusing on that one thing, and catching the distractions that may come up.
For instance, I may choose to eat one meal mindfully and not watch TV while doing it. Or I may choose to bathe mindfully, and pay special attention to my body while taking a shower. Or I will drive without the radio on.
There you have it folks! Here’s to practicing yoga in a way that’s meaningful for us and practical for our busy lifestyles. For more yoga and lifestyle tips, join me in my Facebook group Samadhi Living: For Empowered and Exceptional Folks.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to go do legs up the wall pose! 🙂 Yoga for me is all about stress release, relaxation, and calming my mind. I hope Hien inspired you to fit a little more yoga into your busy life. If you want to learn even more about yoga, please consider joining her Facebook group. It’s a place for anyone interested in loving life through yoga, meditation and spirituality.
What does yoga mean to you?