Yoga Every Damn Day is one of the biggest hashtags in the yoga social media world. Often, yogis will post a picture of themselves on the mat for a set number of days or will talk about the fact that they make sure to always, no matter what, fit yoga into their day.
Now as a newbie yogi, this can feel really quite daunting.
Every day? But what if I'm tired, or I've eaten too much chocolate to want to move, or I just want to chill or I've already done loads of exercise?
Even those days?!
And the answer is, yes. Even on those days.
But that's because we're not really talking about the idea of yoga often perpetuated in the West. You see, often we think yoga every day means down dogs and sun salutations. Being active on the mat, working on our asana, improving our alignment.
But yoga is so much more than that.
In fact yoga is made up of eight limbs in accordance with Pantanjali's Yoga Sutra I'll go into those eight limbs in more detail on another day, but for now just know that yoga is a mind, body, spirit, breath connection.
After all, yoga means to yoke - to combine, to come together.
Creating a daily yoga practice doesn't have to mean doing sun salutations each day - although you will feel amazing if you do this most days.
Instead, it means incorporating mindful breathing, meditation, mindfulness, balance, time to think, into your day.
If you'd like to commit to taking your yoga practice from the mat or class and into your every day life, I have some tips to help you get started...
1) Start and end the day with ten good breaths
In class I often prompt 'take the deepest breath you've taken all day'. Now, if you've been in any yoga class and had your attention drawn to your breath, how often have you thought - this is the first time all day that I've paid attention to my breath? Well, the breath is an amazing place to start. Start creating a daily practice by paying attention to the breath.
- follow the inhale all the way in
- follow the exhale all the way out
- repeat until you feel really good!
2) Cat Cows
Who doesn't love a good cat cow? If you can't remember this posture, it's actually two. Coming to all fours, inhale drop the belly look up, exhale curve the spine, drop the head and look towards your tummy. Repeat s l o w l y until your spine feels loose, the breath feels fluid and you're ready for anything!
I love to do a few cat cows before bed as I have usually been sat for an hour or two and need to loosen up my spine.
3) Walk mindfully
As well as yoga on the mat, a mindful walk can really help to drop into the body and out of an anxious mind.
Go for a walk at lunchtime or on an evening and try to leave your phone at home. Pay attention to your surroundings, breathe in the fresh air, appreciate the present moment just as it is.
4) Practice the asana regularly
Those postures on the mat that we think of automatically when we think of yoga are important. They can help us to feel more comfortable in our own bodies, they can help us to become stronger and improve our balance and help us to love our bodies for what they can do.
If you can practice the asana every day then do, but otherwise why not commit to getting on the mat twice a week? Start there with a class or free flow and build up until one day you'll automatically find yourself in down dog each day.
I hope these tips and tricks help you with your yoga journey, whether you're new to the practice or look add more yoga to your life. Whatever feels good in your practice, is valuable and every yoga experience is different.
If you would like to take a yoga class with me then I teach Yoga For All three times a week and would love to have you join.