It’s important to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. One of the simplest ways to protect all three is to begin a daily yoga practice. When practiced regularly, yoga can help to encourage mindfulness, strengthen your muscles, and give you a confidence boost to carry you through your days.
As someone who could never commit to a regular exercise routine, I’m offering advice for how I developed a quick and easy yoga routine that works for me and is simple enough that I feel encouraged to do it at least once a day, if not more.
Over the course of a week or two, sample a few yoga videos.
It may be intimidating to even search for yoga videos given how much is available online. There’s a lot of technical terminology and intimidating poses out there as well. I recommend using search queries along the lines of “daily vinyasa” or “20-minute yoga.” These searches tend to yield beginner-friendly practices whose guides are friendly and just explanatory enough to walk you through each pose.
The aforementioned “vinyasa” simply refers to flow, but using “vinyasa” in your search is more likely to serve you videos with guides who talk through the mindfulness of the practice and the importance of centering yourself and setting intentions for each practice.
I also recommend considering your individual physical needs in your yoga video search. If you run or do strength training, it would be a good idea to search for “runner’s yoga,” or “yoga to stretch and relax,” referring to the specific muscles you’re training. If you spend a lot of the day sitting, search for “yoga for people who work office jobs.” Depending on your skill level, I also recommend searching for “wrist-free” yoga videos, because it’s easy to accidentally sprain your wrist going into poses like downward dog for the first time without proper form or strength.
From the yoga videos you like, pick one to repeat three to six days in a row.
Hopefully, you’ll find one video that serves enough of your needs and teaches the poses in an approachable enough way that you enjoy following along. It helps if this video is shorter, between 20 and 30 minutes long, max. It’s important to start small and nurture the habit to grow rather than diving into the deep end right away with a 45 minute or 60-minute video.
If you find that you’re sick of this video by day two or three, that’s OK. Go back and sample more videos, or try to repeat a video from before that you also enjoyed. The key is to latently build a repertoire of poses that you’re familiar with.
As you repeat the videos through the week, you’ll start to understand the intrinsic flow in the movements you’re practicing. Over time, your body will remember the general sequence. You’ll also learn more about your body: how many breaths it takes for you to hold a pose and still feel good, how deep to stretch your body one way or the other, and how long you spend laying on the mat afterwards in savasana. Savasana is the resting pose you take at the end of a practice to relax your body after the exertion you put it through, as well as to be mindful of how your body feels and think on your practice intention.
One day, roll out your mat and see what you can come up with.
Eventually, you won’t need a video to guide your practice. Before you know it, you’ll have around six to eight moves memorized. The biggest benefit of this is that you already know what poses you enjoy and which serve you best, so you can pick and choose from what you’ve learned to curate your own 10-20-minute, simple routine. At this point, it’s as easy as rolling out your mat and stretching once a day.