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Yoga on the Fly
Fitting Yoga Into Ridiculously Small Pockets of Time

Wouldn't it be great to practice Yoga every day? Imagine having the opportunity to de-stress and work the kinks out of your body, to have time to totally relax, to have an uplifting pause in your busy schedule... and that's just the problem. You're busy. Who has an hour to an hour and a half every day to practice Yoga? Those who can find the time - or are able to make the time - are lucky. The rest of us have to be satisfied with squeezing a couple of sessions into our hectic week. If we manage to slip one of those 20-minute Rodney Yee videos into the VCR, we rejoice. If your life is as full as that, you really need Yoga every day - even if you don't have time for a full session. Yoga, as it was originally envisioned thousands of years ago, wasn't meant to be stuffed into an hour or a half-hour. It wasn't part of a schedule - it was a constant, ongoing way of life, and a path to enlightenment. But whether you're interested in reaching the spiritual heights, or just getting through the day, there are many ways to add Yoga to your life. If you can learn to practice Yoga on the fly, the added serenity will make nearly any situation easier to handle. Your body will feel a lot looser. You will be able to think more clearly. So let's get into the particulars - after all, you haven't got all day!

(Article continued below.)

Before we begin discussing actual Yoga positions, here are a couple of general tips:

1. Use awareness. Out of all the suggestions mentioned here, the utilization of awareness is not only the most Yogic, it is also something you can do any time. In fact, no matter what you are doing - driving a car, attending a meeting or yelling at the kids - awareness can bring about some amazing results. If you are mentally alert when you are driving, you have less of a chance of getting in an accident. Perhaps your suggestions at that meeting will be more inspired. Maybe you will suddenly understand that yelling at the kids won't get them to behave, that maybe there's a better way (and if it does happen to be the right thing to do at the moment, awareness will help you come from a place of power, and there's a better chance the youngsters will actually listen to you). How do you practice awareness? By paying attention to your surroundings, being in the moment, and being aware of what is going on with you internally - both mentally and physically. It is important to realize, by the way, that caffeine and sugar do not make you more aware. If you need them to get through the day, you need to either get more sleep, or adjust your diet - or both.

2. Breathe. You may think you are breathing right now, but what most people do is a very, very poor excuse for breathing. Improper breathing is another reason why people often have a hard time remaining alert and aware. The oxygen you breathe in is responsible for distributing nutrients throughout your system. If you aren't really filling your lungs when you inhale, those nutrients won't get very far. Take time for slow, deep breaths throughout the day - the kind of inhalations that pull air deeply into your diaphragm, and exhalations that really empty your lungs and help release toxins from your system. Everyone knows how a baby breathes, and that's the right way to do it. Your body automatically relaxes when you breathe properly - your shoulders drop and your neck starts to release. You mind relaxes, too - that's why we're often told to take deep breaths when we are angry.

You can improve your breathing at any time - you just have to remember. Eventually, if you keep practicing at it, it will come more naturally. When you've got a couple of minutes and want to take a little break, you can also try this little breathing exercise: inhale deeply from your diaphragm to the count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale fully for four counts. Count to four before inhaling again. Do this for a minute or two, and it will refresh you. Four, by the way, isn't a magic number - you can do this to a count of five or six, if you like - whatever feels good. Becoming more breath-aware will increase your energy.

Awareness and proper breathing will set you in the right direction immediately. But you're probably really wondering about actual Asana practice - what you can do for your body when you don't have time for a Yoga class. So read on!

Next page >> Sneaking Yoga Poses Into Your Everyday Life >> Page 1, 2

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