Sunday, May 31, 2015

Committing to a Yoga Practice: Making Time

yoga practice time
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

Many of the most profound benefits of Yoga come with a committed, regular practice. The reason for this is that many of the postures, breathing exercises and meditative relaxation techniques are cumulative and synergistic with each other. A regular practice of Yoga postures several times a week allows the body to relax and open up, as the muscles and ligaments begin to release deeply held tension and stress, which may have been lodged in the body for quite some time, possibly even for years. 

When the physical practice of Yoga postures is combined with pranayama techniques, the benefits of both the breathing exercises and the physical poses are enhanced. For example, when the Sun Salutations are performed while practicing Ujjayi Pranayama, not only is the body toned and strengthened, but the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are also brought into balance. This synergistic effect leaves a Yogi or Yogini feeling both calm and energized, after flowing through a series of classical Sun Salutations. 

One of the primary obstacles to truly experiencing the physical, psychological and energetic benefits of Yoga, is the time crunch that most of us experience on a daily basis. Balancing our work, family and professional obligations, with a regular routine of self-care in the form of daily exercise, is quite tricky for most of us, to say the least. This is why so many of us try to multi-task while we are exercising.  For example, many people in health clubs work out on an exercise bicycle, while reading the paper or answering their emails. 

Recently, I even saw a television ad that showcased a Yoga student contacting her auto insurance company about a claim she filed on her iPhone, while she was trying to hold Downward Facing Dog! This created a situation where she was holding the one-armed version of the posture, hence creating an unstable base and almost toppling over. I have to wonder if it would have made much of a difference in the processing of her claim if she had waited to contact her insurance company until after the class was over. Irregardless, this anxiously driven need to constantly multi-task is familiar to many of us. 

The first step to really committing to a Yoga practice is to experience the profound and transformational effects of a daily practice of asanas, pranayama exercises and meditative relaxation techniques for yourself. In this way, you won’t just be taking somebody else’s word for it; you will experience the increased level of strength, flexibility and well-being in your own body and mind. When you feel better in your body and your mind is more at ease, you will naturally seek out time to spend “on the mat.” 

If you find it difficult to practice Yoga every day, rest assured that you will also experience a substantial number of the same benefits by practicing every other day. By committing to a regular practice at least several times a week, for one week, you can experience the comprehensive benefits of this ancient practice for yourself. If you are pressed for time, and you find it difficult or even impossible to practice for an hour at a time, don’t feel demoralized. Practicing for 20-30 minutes, several times a week, will increase your overall strength, flexibility and peace of mind more effectively than a longer practice of an hour or two only once a week. 

By practicing with other Yoga practitioners at a local studio or health club, you can also combine socializing with taking classes. This will allow you to make and maintain friendships while practicing Yoga; back to multi-tasking!  

If it is difficult for you to find the time to go to a studio or health club to take Yoga classes, there are also a number of websites that offer a wide variety of classes for a nominal monthly fee. As you experience the benefits of a regular practice of Yoga, finding a daily slot of time to spend on the mat will feel like coming home and the obstacles will simply fade into the background, as your Yoga practice naturally becomes an integral part of your day or evening. 

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at:

© Copyright 2015 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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parvezbdjsr said...

The time crunch that most of us experience on a daily basis and it is one of the the primary obstacles to truly experiencing the physical, psychological and energetic benefits of Yoga. Thanks for posting this valuable article.

Mary Wilson said...

Daily practice of asanas, pranayama exercises and meditative relaxation techniques for yourself is the first step to really committing to a Yoga practice.