Although everyone’s definition of “busy” may vary, it’s hard to argue that we as busy 21st century beings have a lot of s*** to do. It becomes the norm to allow life to happen to us, rather than setting clear parameters on how life should work for us. Oftentimes the things that are most important to us take a back seat. Obligations at work, duties at home, and the desire to be active in our communities all slowly siphon our time away. Have you ever felt that your well-being and yoga have suffered as a result of this?

We all have; however there are some clever hacks for busy people to find time for their yoga. Here’s how.

#1 Own Your Morning with Sacred Rituals

Put down the dreamcatchers and abalone shells. The ritual is insisting that those first quiet moments of the day belong to you, and you alone. This may be as simple as waking up and doing pranayama. I like to roll right out of bed and sit on the floor and meditate. If I wake up in the middle of the night, instead of laying around consumed by thoughts, I sit up, breathe and meditate. This alone I contribute to one of my greatest keys to success. If it’s available, do some gentle stretching or Sun A’s and B’s in your room. If I am waking up in the middle of the night, the pranayama is gentle, so hum pranayama, maybe alternate nostrils, or with gentle puraka kumbhaka (retention on the inhale). For more energizing up-n-at-‘em pranayama to start your morning, kapalabhati, sama vritti (box-breathing) or ujjayi can help. You can also take these breaths with you on the go (i.e. walking the dog or driving to work).

The key is your day begins with what you value for your own well-being: meditation, breath and intention setting. Before you fall on your sword, please note that you don’t need a lot of time: ten minutes, thirty minutes or one hour. You need to find what works best with your family. I am a single mother with dogs and multiple businesses and I can accomplish this task through setting expectations. Not to mention you will tackle the day like a boss to the benefit of all. Soon they will be wanting you to take MORE time for yourself.

#2 All Work & No Play, Makes for a Dull Yogi

I’ve led conference calls in headstand. I use my desk for supported down dogs, and constantly step away from the keyboard to stretch my wrists and shoulders. So much of yoga can be done not only on a chair, but in work clothes. Yes, this is possible. Instead of sitting in your chair, become the chair. I sit for long periods of time as a ghost-writer for clients. This means I am constantly pushing up into poses like bhuja pidasana and other strengthen and core based poses. I never use my stamina or energy and it helps stoke my creative fires. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is constantly gently jumping on a rebounder to stimulate his lymphatic system and to keep up his super human energy and uses several pranayama techniques to keep him focused, energized and “in state” during his 50-75 hour weekend workshops.

#3 Get Online with Your Yoga

With today’s technological advances and ubiquity of content, there is no reason to not be able to get in a practice, even if it’s an online one. When I opened my studio, I also was working on a large video production project to create a complementary offering called the sattvayogachannel.com so anyone, anywhere with an internet connection can take a class. Part of the format was to include a wide swath of yoga types with varying degrees of intensity with the consideration of time. Not everyone has time for a daily ninety minute practice. Sometimes 45 minutes to an hour is all we have. But if we have been doing hacks number one and two, we can have that longer practice, even if it is a bit more gerrymandered. Traveling on the road a lot for work? I find this is an ideal situation because you can try new teachers and studios while you have your evenings and mornings free from regular familial obligations. I would move all the ancillary furniture to one corner of the hotel room, crank up the heat, go for a :45 run in the morning and then practice Bikram yoga for years while working for Microsoft. It’s a great way to start a day full of meetings with yoga than a stale bagel and bad coffee.

#4 Recruit friends

The singular most effective way to make yoga matter more (or any fitness paradigm for that matter) is to include your social dynamics around wellness related activities. I am blessed with a cadre of friends who teach and practice yoga. My social life revolves around the yoga studio, yoga retreat, biking and long walks with the dogs. Make it a point to divorce your neighborhood Starbucks for your Tuesday morning meet up and make it a walk talk or yoga class followed up by imbibings. Similar activities not of the brawn but of the brains, book clubs and yoga philosophy meet ups can satisfy the social thirst as well as the soul.

Don’t wait until the weekends to live your ideal yoga life. Use the weekends to go deeply jumping off the firmament of the tapas cultivated in daily life. Weekends are excellent for attending intensives and workshops. Check the Seattle Yoga News for details on events and studios in your area.

Namaste!


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Ali Valdez

Ali Valdez is the owner of Sattva Yoga in Redmond, WA. She is a yoga studio owner and a long-time Seattle yoga teacher. Visit her website at www.sattvayogaonline.com.