How do we change our perspective? By doubling down on practices that ground us, calm us, and clear our heads.
I am a yoga teacher, and my daily yoga and meditation practices save me at this time of year. I make my living teaching students about these subjects, so I know a thing or two about what it takes to integrate these practices into your life and how much it can benefit you. I want to share some tips about how to get started.
Here’s what I do on a busy day...
In the morning, I remind myself by making a list of the practices I would like to do. I carry the list with me throughout the day and check them off as I complete them. (I use the app ToDoist for this, but there are lots of other great apps out there, and there is always a pad of paper and pen!). Then I execute:
I often start with meditation in the morning. I will look and see how much time I have before I need to be out the door, and I will meditate for that length of time. If I have 20 minutes, I will meditate for 20 minutes. If I have 10 minutes, I will meditate for 10 minutes. If I have 5 minutes...you get the idea. If I don’t meditate before I am out the door, I don’t beat myself up. Instead, I find a way to fit in at least one minute of meditation later in the day.
I use the same strategy when it comes to yoga. Of course, I love it when I have time to practice for 60 or 90 minutes at home or when I can go to a class in person. However, I don’t always have the time or energy to do this. On days I have less time or energy, I will carve out 5 to 10 minutes to do a few sun salutations and poses that ground me – in the morning, between classes, whenever I can fit it in.
Another daily practice of mine is mindful walking. I usually do my mindful walk outside, but on days it is too cold or raining or too hot, I do my walk inside. On these walks I connect to all my senses and slow down so I become very aware of how I am feeling and of my surroundings. It doesn’t have to take a long time. When I am really short on time, I walk mindfully from my car to the yoga studio to teach class. And it doesn’t have to be walking – the point is to be more mindful with one thing of your choice every day. This can be done with literally ANYTHING – you can make it your aim to mindfully cook, to mindfully wash the dishes, to mindfully drive the car. Pick something that you already do on a daily basis and make it more intentional and mindful. Over time you might find, without even trying, this trickles into other activities as well. These practices are all about encouraging ourselves to slow down enough to disentangle from the stress that comes from obsessing over what we haven’t yet accomplished and incessantly planning for the future.
Slowing down helps us to reduce our inner chatter and live in the present moment. Only in the present moment can we see things clearly and calmly make a plan to move forward. These practices are simple, but they work. Give it a try. Stay connected with Nichol Chase on Instagram (@nicholchase)
Written by Nichol Chase