This isn’t scientific but it is speaking from experience, for what it’s worth.
We all know we should squeeze in that workout, that walk, that quick yoga session but we also know (very well) how easily things can get in the way of that. It’s not as if our schedules are open and asking to have extra stuff piled on. Most of the time, we’re filled to the brim with busyness.
Between work, managing family schedules, and other exercises stacking on one more thing can feel impossible. Yoga too now? Oh come on. I don’t have time for this. Right?
Well, listen. It doesn’t have to be an hour. It doesn’t have to be thirty minutes. It doesn’t even have to be at a yoga studio. You can reap some amazing benefits and corrections there, sure, but it doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule that yoga must be done at a specialized workout studio. In fact, I think at home yoga practice has a charm that other places don’t because it’s just you all on your lonesome learning about your body, mind, and spirit.
So what am I getting at here?
Practice yoga even if it’s only 10 minutes.
Ten minutes of yoga sprinkled throughout your day will help you in any way you can think of. Sitting down to a chunk of yoga can be daunting, especially with the busy lives we tend to lead. Before we look at those amazing little benefits. Let’s spend a few moments examing why we won’t (and why we should) practice during the day.
Reason one why we don’t squeeze in ten minutes (and why we don’t squeeze it in with a smile on our faces) is because we are too busy with our schedules. Yep, I’ve already mentioned this several times but it’s worth mentioning again. We are too busy skipping lunch break. Too busy chauffeuring kids around. Too busy panicking about the next day. Too busy trimming the frazzled ends of our schedules. And a lot of this can get cut out when we start prioritizing our own health. Now, I’m not saying we aren’t actually busy. But I am saying that we can cut out some things from our schedule to make our lives less cluttered and more healthy. But that’s a different article.
For now, let’s focus on taking moment out of our crazy lives to actually put our plans on paper. When we keep it all stuck in our heads, it gets jumbled up and we can’t figure out where we actually have time or if we are being efficient. When I first wrote out my days, I was amazed by how much time I actually had left over.
Second reason? We don’t want to. In our heads, we know that it’s work. We know that taking a break from our jobs just to move around on a mat isn’t always the most thrilling thing…right? Squeezing in ten minutes of yoga before bed isn’t the most exciting thing. We just want to go to bed, not spend ten minutes stretching out and breathing on the mat.
Except we should.
The final (very unflattering) reason…because it’s easier to push our accountability over our physical and emotional health onto other things like work. If we have no control over our bodies then it’s okay that they aren’t perfect. It’s okay that we’re short-tempered or bitter. It’s okay that we are completely unhealthy since work causes it.
Except that it isn’t.
Nothing has control over your body besides illness and you. If you don’t exercise during the day, not even for ten minutes, that is your choice. You can sacrifice ten minutes of sleep, TV, partying, etc for ten minutes of yoga. Excusing ourselves for not working out, even quickly, is unflattering and reflects an unhealthy mindset.
Okay, okay. Enough insults. We want to be healthy right? So we’ll have to want to change and suffer a little from it. Also a different blog post for a different time. Now that we know we really should carve out some time for yoga, what are the benefits?
First off, keep in mind this is ten minutes once or twice or even more throughout the day so you won’t be seeing the heavy strengthening benefits you’ll have from longer classes. There isn’t too much pressure on the body, which is part of why this is amazing.
It wakes up the body.
This is a great one. When we sit all day at a desk our body gets stiff and unwilling to move. It gets tight, certain muscles start pulling on other things, and before you know it you have a sore back. By engaging in light yoga stretching and some vinyasas we get the blood pumping through the body while we stretch out those muscles. At first, we might notice our bodies are incredibly stiff and unwilling to compromise with us. But after some steady, consistent working we’ll see areas of ourselves begin to relax and give into our yoga, giving us more space and deeper breaths.
Oxygen, oxygen, oxygen.
It oxygenates our body! Especially if we’re practicing things like breath of fire, lion’s breath, or even ujjayi breathing there’ll be a conscious uptake in our oxygen. We’re taking deep breaths, consciously, and flooding our body with fresh oxygen. This helps our brain do its work. Not only will it help our focus, it’ll help our energy levels too. Several moments of deep breathing and conscious movement paired together will give you a nice boost! Of course, I have a practice for that too.
Well, aside from physically helping you focus by supplying oxygenated blood cells to the brain, ten minutes of yoga can help you focus in another way too. Doing any one thing for too long makes you lose productivity. Your brain wanders, you struggle to concentrate, you want to snack, or get up. And that’s okay! That’s natural. Your brain wants a break. It wants you to mix things up. A quick yoga flow will provide just that. It’ll actually help stay on top of your tasks rather than fall behind. A quick break energizes you. A quick shift of your focus keeps your projects fresh.
Mood and Relaxation.
This is purely a personal opinion but ten minutes of yoga throughout the day improves my mood and keeps my noticeably calmer. As someone who has struggled with anxiety issues, the ten minutes I dedicate to calmness on the mat every 45 minutes to an hour keeps all my jitters at bay. In fact, it does more than that. It even improves my mood! How about that?
So listen, we all know we should care about our health. But a lot of us don’t put in the effort. It’s easy not too, as we all know. When you’re breaking up long periods of sitting with movement not only is it good for you, but it lets you know what’s happening with your body. It’s like a little check in throughout the day. Maybe you get to downdog and your hand hurts, bringing to realize you’re sitting at your desk funny. Maybe you notice you’re extremely out of breath today and that you aren’t getting enough water.
This is the last thing I’ll mention today but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. We spend out days hunched over computers, phones, tablets, you name it. Opening up our back with a quick yoga flow will make us a little bit more mindful of our posture. It might even help us eventually have good posture all day long. But even if it is for those ten minutes, it’ll help us open up our breath and our back.
So try it out. It is only ten minutes after all and there’s a lot of time in the day, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.