With the holiday season now upon us, regular routines are often put on pause for a week or so – your local yoga class may have stopped for a couple of weeks for example. But, a holiday doesn’t have to mean you miss out on things that are beneficial for you, and instead you can use the potentially unstructured holiday time to establish a new habit, and perhaps one that you can keep going for the rest of the year.
Many people find it difficult to ‘do yoga’ at home. I think part of the trouble is that they may feel they have to do an hour or more, like in a class. This can be an unrealistic target to start with for a number of reasons. My advice is to set a more realistic intention, and once it has been established as a habit, it can be extended – if you have 15 minutes for Facebook or watching the TV, you have 15 minutes for yoga.
This holiday therefore, why not create an intention to set aside 15 minutes a day for your new yoga practice? I personally find it easier to do this in the morning and began my daily practice by setting the alarm five minutes earlier then usual. Once I was established with that, I added 5 minutes to it, then 5 more etc. Also, if you do it in the morning then you can feel good about it all day! However, if the mornings are very busy for you with children etc, then it may be easier to turn the computer or telly off 15 minutes earlier than usual, and do your yoga before going to bed.
Setting aside the time can be one issue with establishing a home practice. Another problem people say to me is that they don’t know what to do. If this applies to you, then you could download one of my mini routine handouts from Google Drive, do one of my short videos available in YouTube, or try some of the longer videos on yoga websites like the free ones from Do Yoga With Me or Ekhart Yoga.
You could also try the following as a very simple structure to start your holiday habit. Once you have your habit established you can begin to add to it as you wish.
Possible 15 minute daily routine:
- Seated breath awareness, as a transition from what you’ve been doing (1 minute)
- Simple joint mobility exercies, working from top to toe e.g. neck, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles; simple stretches to move the spine through its range of motion e.g. cat, cobra, bridge, seated twist; sun salutations and modifications or variations; tree balance (total 10 minutes)
- Seated breathing practice e.g. victory-surrender breath; golden breath (on the de-stress handout) (2 minutes)
- Meditiation (two examples on the de-stress handout) (2 minutes)
And there you have it! If you start with the intention of setting this as a holiday habit, it may carry you into the new year and beyond!