How, exactly, you can add yoga and meditation to your life? If you’re a beginner or someone who just adds these activities in when you have time, you may find it seems like a big task to incorporate yoga and meditation into your life. It doesn’t have to be! Here are five ways you can try to incorporate these practices and reap the benefits of yoga and meditation.
Guided Meditation: If you are just starting out, meditating on your own may seem intimidating. Your mind may wander or you may just decide it’s not worth it to carve out the time. But you don’t have to go at it alone. You can find free, short meditations on YouTube or download a meditation app that have short guided meditations.
If you do want to try meditating on your own, go for it! Start by sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind. Focus on your breathing, count your breaths, look at a candle flickering, or close your eyes and focus on nothing at all.
Attend Yoga Classes: Find a place to practice close to home will help you make it a consistent part of your life. See if there’s a group that meets at a local park or check with your local community center or gym. If you don’t have access to a convenient yoga studio or other space to practice, you can find live online classes so you can still practice with other people. Scheduling a class and paying in advance makes it more likely that you will follow through and practice.
Breathing Exercises: There are many breathing exercises, known as pranayama in yoga, that can be used on their own. If you take a yoga class that starts with alternate nostril breathing, dragon breathing, or other breathwork, remember that you can also take five minutes on a busy day to do that breathing exercise. One of the most common pranayama that can help reduce stress is alternate nostril breathing. You can learn how to do this in this video.
Mindfulness: Aside from meditation, there are many ways you can add more mindfulness to your life. You can take a mindfulness walk each afternoon, practice mindful breathing while doing the dishes, do a body scan while mindfully considering each part of your body to find tense spots and release the tension.
At Home Yoga Practice: If you don’t have the time or money to invest in a yoga studio membership or you just prefer to practice on your own, set up your mat in your bedroom, patio, or other space. You can use an app or YouTube video or just move through your favorite poses in a way that feels good. An at home yoga practice can take as little as 15 or 20 minutes but can be as long as you want, too. Dedicating a short amount of time each day to your yoga practice will help you see the long term benefits in your physical, mental and emotional health.