slow down quote

And just like that, the holiday season is upon us!

Making time for a yoga practice can be challenging when things get busy and there are so many distractions begging for our attention. Even though an hour-long yoga class with the guidance of a teacher can do wonders for us, sometimes that’s just not possible.

The great thing about yoga is that we can practice anywhere and anytime. Here are six things you can do when your schedule gets a little out of control and you need to take a step back:

  1. Sit up tall and roll your shoulders back and down. Creating a habit of checking our posture helps create more space in the lungs, enabling us to receive more air. Sitting tall also strengthens our core, and rolling the shoulders back and down a few times can relieve tension in the neck and upper back.
  2. Take a deep breath on purpose and with purpose. Checking in with how you are breathing is another great habit to create. I wanted to make this item number one, but it’s best to sit up nice and tall first, making more room in your lungs for an even deeper inhale.
  3. Put your phone down. I realize you may be reading this blog post on your phone, so when you’re done I invite you to step away for a bit. But while you’re here reading, notice your posture right now. Is there room for improvement? Too much time on our phones means an awful lot of time hunched over. Take some time to stretch your hands, wrists, shoulders and neck, and then refer to items #1 and #2.
  4. Cultivate a mindfulness practice. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just take time to really notice what you are doing at any given moment. While washing dishes, I focus on the way the warm water and soap bubbles feel on my hands. During my morning walk, I notice when each foot hits the ground and the way sunlight streams through the leaves of trees. Simply be present and notice what’s going on around you because while you’re busy being present, your mind won’t be so preoccupied with busy noise.
  5. Find an activity you love and schedule it into your day. I realize this may be tricky if your schedule is already too busy for a yoga class, but if you can choose something to escape to for a few minutes you’ll feel refreshed and better for it. For me it’s drawing and coloring mandalas. I have a friend who loves to knit, and another friend who loves to read fiction. Choose an activity that helps take you out of your head for a few minutes.
  6. Establish a peace practice by setting a timer. I have an alarm on my phone that chimes every hour, reminding me to check in with myself. I notice my posture, my breathing, and my thoughts. Checking in on a regular basis helps establish healthy habits that can help us manage stress in a conscious way.

When we’re busy-busy-busy it’s hard to remember to take a step back, but the best time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. May you find some time during the holidays to attend a yoga class. And if you can’t, be sure to practice yoga off your mat. Check your posture, breathe with intention, and simply be mindful! Your feet don’t always have to be on your mat in order to enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Peace, love and good vibes, yoga friends!