We have several new mothers in my current teacher mentoring program. For these women, like many of us, finding even 30 minutes for uninterrupted practice is a challenge.
How do we make yoga happen given the reality of our lives?
One way is to expand our ideas of what practice looks like. While we continue to commit to carving out time for regular, formal practice as best we can, we can also remember that yoga is adaptable, and it can and should be used to work for us. It's empowering and enriching to find ways to experience the essence of the practices throughout our day. Here are just a few ideas:
BODY: A few minutes of stretching can bring your focus back to your sitting or standing posture. This not only helps you to remember to release unconscious holding, but also alerts you to subtle shifts in alignment that can restore ease and freedom in your body.
BREATH: Even a moment or two of conscious breathing can be tremendously nourishing, powerful and even transcendent. Focus your awareness on your breathing anytime during the day, and often! While walking, waiting, completing everyday tasks or even listening, simple attention to your breathing connects you back to your self and brings you into the present moment.
MIND: Take a teaching that inspires you, whether from a book or your Facebook feed. Usually it will be something that is alive for you, sparks an inner “yes” and feels like it came to you at the perfect moment. Make it your focus of study and practice for the day or the week. Let it roll over in your awareness. Consider what you can learn about it from two angles: both what you learn from applying it as a way of seeing and acting in the world, and how the events of your day help inform your understanding and experience of its wisdom.
HEART: Practicing any of the yamas or niyamas, or one of the great virtues of the heart (like enthusiasm, compassion or patience for starters) will infuse the spirit of yogic living into your relationships, communications and your general way of being. You can incorporate any or all of the above practices too, to enrich this.
Remember that asana practice is only a small part of what yoga practice can be about. Being flexible and creative practitioners, we can find many ways to weave the thread of yoga into the fabric of our everyday lives.