I’m a better escape artist than Houdini when it comes to getting out of yoga. Didn’t you know we should never practice yoga during particular lunar events and tidal anomalies that were described by the Essenes in one of their scrolls we have yet to translate? I know it’s in there!
I don’t escape my yoga practice any more; I’m all so learned and wise about it now. But I can’t boast that I was a fast learner. I fought with myself for years. Fortunately for many who still search for a sign in their tea leaves that today’s not a good yoga day, I can help. Today is a good yoga day. May I recommend that you make your yoga practice adaptable?
My voice just sounded like fingernails on a chalk board, didn't it. I nod compassionately. Yoga and adaptability were far, far apart from each other for me also, when I was an grade-A pure varietal idealist:
I need 2 hours for yoga, and abundant time for pranayama and meditation. Any less and I won’t practice yoga today.
Then began my yoga-less life. Followed by the difficult scramble back. Yet I continued to defend my idealism with my life:
Now that I haven’t practiced yoga in months, doing one random class is not going to do anything. I need a yoga retreat to get back on track - an intensive! I’ll have that much free time next December.
And you seriously can not underestimate the strength of my will. I spiralled even further into my doughy insanity:
You know I should cleanse before I return to yoga, or it won’t affect me like it potentially could. I require six weeks to cleanse before the yoga retreat. Otherwise the whole effort would amount to glorified stretching. I need to be yoga inside and out.
Rest assured, yoga and I are back together again. I want to show you what yoga looks like to busy people who actually do get down on the floor and practice in their spare fifteen minutes.
15 Minute Yoga
The hardest part of taking 5 or 15 minutes to practice yoga is to actually stop what you're doing and start yoga'ing. I recommend that you don't think too hard about what you are doing, and what it means to the dish washer or the facebook feed. Just get down on the ground and fold forward. Take in slower and deeper breaths, feel your spine, and the space between each vertebrae.
I don't recommend that you begin your fifteen minutes standing, with a sun salutation. That, for many people, feels daunting, and an excellent excuse not to start. A sun salutation will often be the third yoga thing I do.
I usually begin by connecting with my breath in a gentle Paschimottanasana - folding over straight legs (they can be bent a little), followed by a favourite sitting asana. When I'm feeling the breath deeper, with more energy, that's when I stand up and really (reeelly) enjoy a slow, deliberate Sun Salutation.
A powerful shift can happen in 15 minutes. After only 5 minutes, you will already feel connected, softer and healthier.
What moves you?
What is at the core of your love of yoga? Mine is the disconnect I get from the world. To re-center, and feel me. Yes I love the strength, the flexibility, the sweat and challenge. But at its core, it’s the spiritual aspect of yoga that makes the most profound change to my day. *
These qualities can be fast tapped into. In fact, you don’t even need to unroll your mat. In the next post, I will show you one of my favourite 15 minute yoga series.
Remember, yoga is about connecting with your Self. It happens fast, you only need to fold forward and deepen your breath.
* If you are moved by the strength challenge, it is admittedly difficult to attain in 15 minutes, but things can be done. Choose the most challenging asana or series of asanas that demand the most muscle groups. Go slowly and not so deep. I will suggest a brief series in the following posts.