"The time we take is the only time we have"
When we can begin to understand that we do not have to take hours to accomplish a self care goal, taking time gets a whole lot easier.
Time is a luxury.
One we abuse with a "have it right now" mentality while simultaneously complaining that we do not have enough of it. Living in an on-demand world means that when we have to take time to get dressed, find someone to watch the kids, drive 30 minutes to a yoga class, take the class, drive home and all the while feel relaxed about the 2 hours that we just took to ourselves... we struggle to take the time. We then use "I am just so busy" as an excuse to why we do not do more of the "right" things, AKA things we want to do. Essentially many of us are frozen in this state.
Let's take a moment and be serious... look at your daily screen time usage and tell me that you didn't have time to carve out last week. It doesn't have to be an hour or two, it can just be 30 minutes.. or even 15, but I want you to look at the time you spent on your phone and consider the time you could've spent doing something better for yourself than the continuous scroll.
Now, all that said, I do not have time to insert regular yoga class attendance into my weeks. BUT, I do have time to insert 10-15 minute practices that can accomplish more than most hour-long yoga sessions.
And this is what I want to talk to you about today... optimizing your time to give yourself what you need and maximize your results. Read that again.
For starters, a good yoga practice is not defined by a generalized time stamp of 1 hour. A good breath work practice, however, is more likely to be defined / successful when done for certain periods of time.But rarely does that need to be an hour. Now when we pair yoga and breath work into a shorter session we are "killing two birds with one stone" and doing something for the symmetry of our nervous system.
HERE IS HOW:Asana, (the physical practice of postures), is excellent for flexibility, strength, decreasing restlessness, improving posture, decreasing chronic pain, improving cognition, increasing energy, and overall creating balance in the body. When I say balance I mean between right and left, top and bottom, front and back of the body. Through a variety of movements, physical goals especially can be reached.
Pranayama, (the practice of breathing), is good for creating a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system. This will decrease stress, improve sleep, improve your body's response to chronic pain, increase energy, and help bring awareness and eventually balance to your emotional landscape.
Knowing those two simple things I think you can begin to understand why they are both very important and how moving the body in time to the breath during a shorter practice could offer you a better alternative to an hour-long class.
This is not a "do more to get more" approach. But rather a compounding of practices to help you target your daily needs while also managing your time.
Next topic... Goals
We all know that when we put larger goals like 3 - 1 hour yoga classes a week or daily breath work practices into our schedule, we are less likely to actually do that as opposed to saying "I will do a single 15-minute practice this week".
It is a rare few that can set such lofty goals and achieve them without first building up a deeper desire to reach the goal. Scale back your goals to what is truly doable for you. After all, you are much more likely to hit that 3 hours of yoga per week goal if you are looking at slowly building up the time you take to dedicate to practice.
In addition, I find it very helpful to understand why what I am doing is going to matter and make a difference as opposed to going through the motions blindly. Knowledge can help with intention and intention will help the efficacy of the practice. So the next time that you have a desire to do a practice, I suggest hitting some short yoga practices that have ratio'd breath work built in.
I know that the details can often seem boring or redundant, and nerding out on them is not everyones favorite thing to do. That is why I am here. To help you understand the details of how your practice can become better and better over time.
We will chat more next week on setting goals to achieve more regular and targeted practices.
I have no doubt that yoga changes peoples lives...you just gotta know how to use it right.I would largely blame the westernized yoga world for the birth of the influencer age. Taking 20-30yr olds and pumping them into teacher training that has pretty basic requirements (a mere 20hrs of 200hrs dedicated to anatomy and physiology), and placing them at the head of classes encouraging them with the social standard of addressing the room with their reflections on life and how it relates to the art of yoga while leading them through a purely physical practice sums up social media pretty well.
Yikes. Because of this, I think it is essential to understand some of the primary uses of physical practice and how the breath can further facilitate mental and physical changes for us.
Recognizing our "main" problem is what often drags us into yoga in the first place. Usually, it is one of two things...
WHERE DO YOU HOLD STRESS & HOW TIGHT ARE YOUR MUSCLES
Yoga and the search for flexibility is an exploration of how we feel inside our bodies.
Tight muscles are weak muscles, yet we often decide to try and stretch them before we work on strengthening them. Yoga is appealing for that because there is a ton of emphasis on creating length and movement in the muscles in various ways.
Yoga can become a home to the body by creating an environment in which you are free to explore the areas you hold tension, how it feels to release those areas, and how practical the breath can be as you work through them. On a more subtle note, you are developing a different kind of strength than you may be used to. But it is in regular and consistent practice that we begin to endure our bodies and learn about the subtlety of movement and its effects on us.
This is one of the paths to the mastery of yourself.
POSTURES HAVE DIFFERENT EFFECTS
There are 5 types of posture in yoga:
(anytime the front side of the body moves closer in direction to the top/bottom front side you have a forward bend)
(anytime the back side of the body moves closer in direction to the top/bottom back side you have a backward bend)
(anytime the right/left side of the body moves closer to the its respective side in a bending fashion you have a lateral bend)
(anytime that you have rotation in the spine where the right and left side of the body moves further away from each other)
(anytime that the arms and legs are extending away from the torso, ie downward dog)
Each of these postures has varying effects on the body, and though there are some pretty good rules, it doesn't mean that they are hard and fast. Depending on the state of your nervous system, each posture may affect you differently. But let's chat about what you will probably expect in different poses.
FORWARD BENDS - Calming
BACKWARD BENDS - Energizing
LATERAL BENDS - Balancing
TWISTS - Calming
AXIAL EXTENSION - Balancing
An extension of these would also be:
SUPINE - Calming
PRONE - Energizing
STANDING - Energizing
It is essential to remember that these are general rules to pay attention to. Still, it is insightful for you to recognize how the postures affect you personally.
TIMES OF DAY HAVE DIFFERENT EFFECTS
Yoga practices can be described in three ways:
BRAHMANA - These are the early stages of life or the sunrise years. This also gives you a good indicator of what time of day these practices are best used. Brahmana practices include standing poses, backbends, axial extensions, and prone positions with less twisting and forward folds.
SAMANA - This is known as middle stage of the life, think 30-60 years old. These practices would be excellent for lunchtime yoga sessions. Still emphasized on building energy in the body while simultaneously creating balance with more calming postures towards the end.
LANGHANA - This is known as the sunset years of life or of the day. A Langhana practice is there to calm the body from the day and provide routine maintenance, if you will, in preparation for sleep or often in the yoga world, they talk about it as use for end-of-life preparation. These practices nurture the body.
I was many years into my yoga practice before I learned these basic principles of how practices affect the body and mind. When I take the time to reflect and look at the journey of yoga, I can see that the challenges I ran into along the lines of anxiety, sleep, and injuries could have largely been prevented if I had known these things.
We do not always walk out of yoga feeling at peace and blissed-out; sometimes, that is ok. However, it is likely a more significant issue if you consistently find yourself uncomfortable inside of yoga practice. Therefore, I would encourage you always to reach out, and we can chat about what might and might not be working for you or even discuss what beginning a practice can look like.
There are many options, and yoga is accessible to everyone. So whether you want a fifteen-minute calming practice or one that burns some fire for an hour, we can find what works for you. Remember that there are many tools out there to live your best life. Let's educate ourselves and find the ones that work for us.
Nervous System Review Why breath work is in your best interest...Have you ever noticed how noisy the world is with all the feelings, judgements, and opinions of the influencer culture. I am not the youth of today but I feel the stress and confusion of the youth these days. It is like time is speeding up and there are all these "hacks" to be a happier version of ourselves, when what is really important is that we take the time to learn about OURSELVES and what the SELF needs.
Coaches have begun to that breath work like it is a simple hack, when in truth it is highly nuanced. It is not like going keto or doing fancy work outs.... but some of the techniques out there are making it seem that way. Breathing is required for survival and we cannot really go too long with out air before we expire. It runs our nervous system or perhaps our nervous system runs our breath, or better yet they are symbiotic.
The breath is intricately tied to our emotions, sleep, performance, food cravings, and an array of other daily things it is important to understands the basics. Now I know that I have been over this before in some of my webinars but I would like to chat about it here a bit.
There are 4 parts of the breath:
Making the inhale longer than the exhale is a fast way to accelerate your sympathetic state.
Making the exhale longer than the inhale is a fast way to down regulate your nervous system.
The retention and suspension vary their effect depending on length of all parts of the breath.
I personally do not recommend fckin with the longer, faster inhale..... in majority of cases. There is a better way and it is also dependent on the context of your life.
If you are looking to start a breath work practice, the most effective, and basic, is a 6 count inhale and a 6 count exhale.