More than ever before, women are putting an intense amount of pressure on themselves to “do it all.” We try very hard to look amazing, make money, be a perfect mom and a rockstar wife. It’s absolutely exhausting. I look at my friend who doesn’t work, my friend with six pack abs, or my friend about to go on an amazing vacation and think hmmmm, how could I switch places with them for a few months? If it came down to it though – would I really switch with any of them? No way. I love my husband, I love my work, I love my son and I love my little apartment by the beach. There is always someone who has more and there will always be someone who looks better.
No matter how perfect someone’s life may seem from the outside, we all have moments of self doubt and insecurity. Integrating an awareness-based practice such as yoga into your everyday routine can be a lifeline for women who are either “doing it all” or just feeling overwhelmed with whatever it is they have on their plate. The movement, breath-work and meditation that comprises yoga are a fool-proof set of tools that bring a profound sense of balance and contentment. We have to give ourselves time every single day that is just for us and no one else. The feeling of exhaustion often comes from giving so much energy out to other people and not enough to ourselves.
It may not be a realistic goal to make it to the yoga studio everyday for a 75 or 90 minute yoga class. Developing a daily home practice is key to access the many benefits that yoga has to offer. Just twenty minutes a day will make you less reactive to the people and things that illicit anger, fear and self-doubt. Yes, yoga makes us strong and flexible. But more importantly, it creates a mental and emotional state that is conducive to letting go of the little things and makes us better able to appreciate all the joy and beauty around us. It teaches us to stop comparing ourselves to others and to be thankful for what we already have. You have the power to manage your mood, your body and your behavior. A daily yoga practice is an important component of staying anchored to a state of balance, grace and peace.
Often times the things we need the most are the things we don’t make time for. No one ever says “I wish I hadn’t done that yoga class,” or “I shouldn’t have meditated for so long.” Here are a few simple tips on creating the time and space for your home yoga practice:
- Decide on the best time of day to schedule your “me” time and stick to it as if it were an appointment that you can’t miss. If it’s in the morning, skip that second glass of wine at night so it’s easier to wake up twenty minutes before the kids. If it’s during naptime or in the evening, make sure you’ll have a fairly empty stomach when that time comes.
- Create a space in your home that is large enough to accommodate your yoga mat. This space only needs to be quiet during the time you are practicing.
- Create your own ritual. Add simple elements that personalize this time. Make a playlist with your favorite songs (no need to use “yoga music” unless you like it) or light a candle.
- Sit for just a minute at the end of your session. Take this time to observe the way you feel compared to when you began. Be aware of the subtle but powerful shift in the way you perceive your own thoughts and your surroundings.
20 minutes is all you need. Here a few classes to get you started:
This gentle stretch class targets your whole body. Create mobility in the hips, shoulders, hamstring and back. Leaves you feeling relaxed and peaceful.
For more of a workout, try this intermediate level class to create mobility and develop strength in the core and low back muscles.
Photo at top by SAO Photography