"Starting my day with gratitude is like
taking a daily positive energy vitamin."
David Waring, Publisher and Co-Founder of Fit Small Business
I do yoga every morning. I got into it when I hurt my back - it's the only thing that has helped keep me out of pain. It's also a great stress reliever. While I would love to go to a yoga class, I only have about 20 minutes a day for this, so I do a 20 minute routine that I found on YouTube. There are lots of great videos there — of various lengths -- with routines for all skill levels.My advice to others with hectic schedules (I run my own business and have two young children) is to start the day out with a quick routine, that way it doesn't get pushed to the side during the day. It's also a great way to get your day off to an awesome start.
Diane Elizabeth, Founder of Skincare Ox
I read an old zen proverb one day and it changed how I thought about yoga: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” - Zen Proverb Whenever I managed to fit in a 30 minute yoga session, my day feels less hectic. I am less anxious about meetings, less worried about being late, and more present and objective about the real risk/rewards of key business decisions. When I'm too busy for yoga, consequently...I tend to be in a rushed mood and can't effectively prioritize. In short, yoga is the antidote for my busy lifestyle. My advice to anyone looking to add yoga into their daily schedule is twofold: 1) Fitting yoga into my schedule was difficult---mainly because of my own habits and thoughts about not having time to do yoga. Tell yourself Yoga makes me more effective at my job and in my relationships. I have time for yoga everyday. It may sound silly, but research is clear: we are what we think. If you literally think thoughts that say you don't have time--you won't. 2) Stop looking for perfect opportunities. My schedule (and stubbornness) didn't really allow me to set a specific time each day to do yoga. So, I just start a 30 minute yoga tape whenever the thought occurs to me and I have 30 minutes available. Yes... I've done yoga in an airport.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day —
unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
- Zen Proverb
Tony Mariotti, Owner of RubyHome
I learned yoga as a part of my recovery from a bike vs. car accident a few years ago that required shoulder surgery. After picking up the fundamentals at the Hollywood YMCA - which were 90 minute classes – it was easy to come up with a 30-minute yoga routine to do at home each morning. My short sessions stay focused on the asanas that I know will get my day started in the right frame of mind. I might find time in the evening for cardio or resistance work, but I’ve set a daily minimum of doing yoga first thing in the morning. Doing yoga at home saves time by not having to drive and park at a studio. And I still feel great from just a short, 30-minute session. Starting my day with a brief routine creates much better focus and more energy than I'd have otherwise. As a business person with an ROI mindset, it’s very easy tell how much benefit comes from a simple, short yoga session in the morning. The payoff is huge. It’s a no brainer at this point.
Ann Marie Johnston, Founding Director of YogaMate.org
Yoga is not just the postural practice that much of the west assumes it to be. In addition to the postural practice, Yoga includes breath control, meditation/mindfulness and relaxation techniques. It includes the philosophical way that we engage with life. So whilst my daily practice hopefully includes starting the day with a little bit of movement (perhaps a round or two of sun salutation) and hopefully some seated meditation, if I don't manage the time, I'll still be mindful as I eat my food and as I take my shower. I extend my exhalation to slow down my nervous system and counteract the high levels of cortisol that flood me as a busy single mom and entrepreneur. Yoga has entirely changed the way I'm present in life, the way I engage in all of my relationships - with friends, family and strangers. Yoga - particularly mindfulness of breath - makes life better and more manageable and has improved my health in immeasurable ways.
I always thought yoga had to be done in a class and that it required at least 60 minutes of time to do right. I just don't have the time to do this due to a hectic work schedule. Turns out though, you can do yoga at home for just 10-20 minutes and still experience many of the benefits. Vinyasa yoga in particular, focuses heavily on controlled breathing. Slowing down your breathing and working on what I often hear referred to as mind-body connection, you're priming yourself for some serious relaxation. In fact, I find that it often has the same effect as meditation. I'd encourage everyone to try doing some brief yoga at home. You can use YouTube videos as your guide if you don't know any of the movements, positions or techniques. Do it before work to dial in your focus for the day, or try it before bed to get a deeper and better sleep!
"...you can do yoga at home for just 10-20 minutes
and still experience many of the benefits."
Kristin Hull, PhD, Founder & CEO of Nia Global Solutions
Finding time for yoga around a hectic schedule is essential. The busier things get, the more essential I find it as a CEO to slow down to both stretch (body and mind), to take deep breaths, to connect with our intentions. I attend class at a nearby studio twice a week, and practice daily in small micro ways while at work. The benefits of making yoga part of my lifestyle are many. I first began practicing as a method to de-stress, and found that soon after starting, my lower back pain had all but disappeared, that I was sleeping better. I also began to use the first few minutes of mat time before class to meditate, to clear my head, to set intentions for the day (and on Mondays for the week). I then began to practice off the mat in the workplace. We set a chime to go off every 30 minutes where I stop, take a deep breath (or 3), stretch into at least one yoga pose and use the moment to re-focus, making sure I am aligned with my intentions. I encourage all of my employees to join in. My advice for anyone looking to incorporate yoga into their daily routine who might not think they have the time for it would be to emphasize the sleep benefits. For each time I use to practice yoga, I gain back that time in better quality sleep. I also find that I save time when I am focused and working on purpose. Finally, the physical benefits of building strength and flexibility far outweigh any time issues. A focused state of mind, physical fitness and pain relief, and increased philosophical mindfulness are just a few of the benefits that a daily yoga practice has to offer. Each of these eight busy, successful people have found the time to work yoga into their day, everyday. Let this be your motivation to change your mindset. Instead of brushing off the thought of daily yoga with the excuse “I don’t have time”, try your best to make the time. Train yourself to know that even 10 minutes of meditation or a 20 minute flow can do a world of good for your body, mind, and spirit.