Time for Yoga is time for you

'I don't have time for Yoga'. This is the most common reason people give for not going to a Yoga class. I understand it, we’ve all been there. I have more than 9 years of corporate life behind me and I know the struggle is real. 8am meetings, heels, skinny jeans, long commutes, lunches at the desk, sugar-packed seducing snacks, work drinks, dinners with clients, e v e r y t h i n g.

Everything seems to get in the way. Work, life, ourselves. And this will always be life this. Time is the scarcest resource on the Planet. Not water, food or oxygen. Obviously without these three, we don't live and time wouldn't matter that much. Nevertheless, we're human beings and unless you believe in reincarnation, we're only here once, meaning we all have limited time.

Amazingly, we're seeing a shift in society, where people start valuing experiences over things, real friends over likes on FB, time over money. Surely we all need money to survive in this modern jungle. We have rents to pay, a family to feed, feet to protect. A lot of us have an expensive taste and appetite for consumption that develops step by step, year by year, fed by the Media and Advertising industry. And our egos – oh, don’t they love shinny things? #notetoself

The good news is that we don't need to quit everything and go live in a cave to implement small and powerful tools that helps us to go through our day to day in a more mindful way. If you can't make it to a Yoga class, that is fine. Make Yoga come to you and let it fit within your daily life. Starting today.

Here are my top tips if you want to have a bit more of Yoga in your life, and live it a bit better. I mean, much better.

1. Wake up your digestive system

Drink a glass of lukewarm water with lemon. You don't like lemon? Drink tea or a tisane. Or tap water. Our bodies dehydrate during the night and you also need to keep your intestines cool (oh yeah) so your digestion wakes up with you. I promise if you do this for one week you will feel - and be- less bloated.

2. Stretch first thing in the morning

Wake up and stretch. If you're familiar with Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), 10 rounds are great but 5 are definitely better than none. Don't let the day start without stretching as from here it will get harder and harder to find time to do it. Love your body, respect yourself.

3. Have breakfast

Preferably at home or take it with you. Wholegrain Cereal with your favourite plant-based mylk ( try brands with less ingredients over gluten free' or 'fat free'. This tends to be a good criteria), yogurt and granola, porridge with bananas, a yellow smoothie bowl, a green smoothie. Whatever your taste buds fancy, your body will fancy too. Keep it simple, nutritious and beautiful.

4. Breathe

Whilst cycling, on the tube, driving. Please don't close your eyes if you are on the later one but keep bringing a gentle awareness to your breathe. Don't judge it. Inhale deeply, exhale completely. Inhale through the nose, exhale thought the nose. Repeat. Count till 10. If you get lost get back to the number you remember. Stressed out before a meeting? Your boss is so lovely you can't concentrate to finish your presentation? Go to the toilette and breathe. Yes, go.

5. Snack

We're all different but I like to snack. It gives me energy, helps pausing and ultimately makes me feel comfortable. 'Oh, I will get fat if I snack'. Let me tell you 'You will be sad if you don't'. Go for the good ones, nutritious snacks without any hidden agendas: nuts (no salt or extra fat please), bananas, apples, cereal bars (not too sure about this one, it really depends on the brand), peanut butter (no palm oil), yogurt (dairy or coconut, depending on how sensitive you are to fats or lactose), carrots. Yes, I carry carrots with me at all times. Just remember to plan your snacks so you have them when you need it.

6. Stretch (again)

Try to make it to that Yoga class or follow a tutorial at home - I don’t have a favourite right now but I’ve been told Yoga with Adrian is quite nice. You have everything from 10 minutes to 1 hours, beginners’ sessions, advanced asanas, Yin, Power, inversions, hip openers. If you are not sure what does this mean choose a beginners class – or a yummy yoga nidra. All you need is a Yoga mat and an open mind. I could also tell you to meditate in the evening but I guess the interest needs to come from yourself – go and get Headspace app today.

7. Hydrate

Keep drinking water and tisanes (like tea but with no caffeine) throughout the day. My personal rule? Tea and coffee in the morning, one juice in the afternoon as a post-lunch treat. You would be surprised to know that that headache means you're dehydrated. Same goes for those double-chocolate-salted-caramel-bomb craves.

8. Have dinner

A soup, a salad, vegetables with wild rice, a savoury porridge, proper toast with eggs, avocado and watercress with smoked salmon. Don't skip dinner, even if you're on a low carbs diet. You may not lose that extra kilo but the impact in your mood and energy levels in medium to long term is much more damaging than your waist line on the beach - remember high-rise bikinis are very trendy these days.

9. Switch off your phone

And all screen at least 30 minutes before going to bed. A no-brainer that is a note to self...

10. Smile

Smile. Smile throughout the day, specially to people that annoy you (cry if you need but smile again, we can't take ourselves too seriously. We have other to do that for us). Smiling is free, increases your energy levels, reduces your heart rate, boosts your immune system and it is contagious. Practice consciously searching for happiness in the small things in life. Your coffee, your flatmate, the bus driver, the canal. This is also Yoga.

Last but not least, don't procrastinate. Start today. Not next year. Namaste.

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© 2020 words and design by Sara Vale

Photos by Vera Sepulveda and Sonia Davies