As much as I love yoga, I’m not just a ‘yogi’. I love so many forms of fitness and in a general week I like to do at least three different types. As an ex-gymnast and dancer, yoga lends itself well to my love of being upside-down and bendy, so on top of doing calm, slow flow yoga sessions, I really enjoy a power yoga class or just a session working on my inversions and stretching. As you can imagine, wanting to fit all of this into my schedule around running and sweaty gym workouts can be a bit tough at times, so here are my top tips for squeezing it all in.
1. Plan Ahead
I plan my health and fitness schedule in the same way I’m sure many schedule their social life. That may be because I don’t go out much, so like to have something to put in my diary, but it really does help when you look at the week ahead on a Sunday evening. I like being able to see that by the end of the week I’ll have completed two yoga classes, two runs and a gym session or two.
I find that if I’ve already blocked out that time in my diary, I’m less likely to let something else get in the way of it. If for any reason I do find that something important has come up, it’s not a case of ignoring that the yoga class was ever in the diary, it’s just a case of moving it to a different time.
2. Set Yourself A Challenge Or Goal
This is one of my favourite ways to make sure I fit all the things I want to do into my weekly routine. I love setting myself goals and challenges of all sizes. One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to master the scorpion forearm-stand and I managed it within a couple of months. Sometimes they’ll be smaller goals like just saying to myself I want to set a yoga intention for the month and compare my progress at the beginning and end.
Recently I decided to challenge myself to find a few minutes of pure silence every day. This meant having to write it down and having a little tick box for when I completed it each day, which is a great feeling. I managed 25 of 31 days, so even though I didn’t do every day, it wasn’t bad going at all. Give it a try, set a goal with and end date and you’ll find yourself on your mat with every spare minute you have!
3. Just The Two Of Us
Sometimes all it takes is the motivation of having another person by my side that makes everything seem a million times easier. I totally understand that it might not be easy to get your closest friends involved in yoga if it’s not their ‘thing’ — trust me, I’ve had this problem myself! Instead, I’ve met so many like-minded people through the powers of social media. I know the thought of meeting a random stranger can be a little creepy, but agreeing to meet up with someone in a full fitness class can’t really do much harm and the outcome is that I’ve met some genuine friends.
If actually doing yoga with someone is out of the question, the other thing I used to do to motivate myself was to tell someone I’m doing a yoga class on a particular day. That way, when they ask how my class was, I don’t feel annoyed about having to say I didn’t go and I can actually feel great when I talk about the class.
4. Minutes, Not Hours
When I first started yoga I thought that it only counted as as class when I went to my local studio and did an hour-long session. Now my thinking is totally different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome feeling to have the time to do that, but sometimes a full hour is just not possible. In the mornings if I’ve got a lot on that day, I’ll hop out of bed 15-20 minutes earlier than planned and will start the day with a few sun salutations or maybe I’ll just do 10 minutes of breathing exercises.
Just because you only have time for a short session doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Taking even a minute or two each day to let your yoga mind come into play is more than most people manage in this hectic world. If you work a 9-to-5 office job, then why not make the most of your lunch hour? I know many of you reading this don’t even take a lunch hour, but it’s so important, not only to your productivity at work, but to your mental wellbeing. Sitting in front of a computer with no break all day isn’t good for anyone.
Many yoga studios now do express classes, especially in London, for those of you who need to have time to eat and get back to work. And if you haven’t got one of those nearby, then why not rope someone else at the office into it and take your yoga mats to the park… or an empty meeting room!
5. Something For Everyone
There are so many variations of yoga out there these days, so whether your feeling tired or hyper there’s a class for you. Why not explore a class you’ve never done before when you’ve had a stressful day like restorative yoga? Or if you’re an annoying early bird like me, how about one of those crazy yoga raves like Morning Glory Ville? I think my partner would love it if I went to more classes like that rather than pestering him to wake up!
It took me a good year or so of hopping from class to class to find the teacher I felt was right for me. I honestly think that the right teacher can have the best effect on your practice, but it just depends what you want from your class. Some are just looking for yoga as an exercises class, others want to explore the deeper meaning of yoga throughout their practice, so it’s a case of shopping around until you find the right one.
Don’t Take No For An Answer
From my experience these few tips really do work. I’ve been in the 9-to-5 desk job (which is always actually 8-6!), so I do appreciate that it can be hard. I’ve now realised that if I want something enough, I’ll make it happen no matter what is getting in my way.
Do you use any of these techniques to add yoga, meditation or maybe another kind of fitness? Or have you come up with some tricks of your own? I could use a few more so I’d love to hear anything that you’ve found works for you!