Time Poor? There's Micro Yoga For That
Some days it can feel like there’s barely enough time to catch your breath, let alone fit in some exercise. We know how tough it is – life feels more hectic than ever, and exercise and yoga are often the first things to get canceled when our schedules are just too busy to handle.
However, yoga is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health, so it’s hugely beneficial to try to make time for it daily, even if you only have a few minutes. Wait, minutes? Yep – we’re here to tell you about micro yoga and how it can change your exercise routine.
What is micro yoga? Essentially, it’s the act of doing yoga in bite-sized bits throughout your day, fitting it in whenever you can. Even if you can’t get in a solid hour of yoga, most people can find a spare ten minutes a few times per day. Think of micro yoga as yoga for busy people! The benefits are that you still get that mental clarity that yoga is known for – plus, some of the more invigorating poses can give you a boost of energy. That’s something everyone needs on a busy day and is a much healthier alternative than reaching for the office vending machine for an afternoon sugar hit.
How can a yoga micro-practice work for me?
If you’re keen to try micro yoga, it couldn’t be easier! It was literally designed for busy people, so you can really squeeze it in whenever you have time.
To get started, think about times during your day when you sometimes have a few spare minutes. For example, do you have five minutes to kill when waiting for your morning coffee to brew? Or can you cut back on your lunchtime social media scrolling and dedicate that time to your micro yoga practice? Even waking up a tiny bit earlier each day can give you more time to focus on yourself and start the day with energy and purpose. Once you start thinking about small changes you can make each day, it can make a big difference!
Which micro yoga exercises are best?
If bite-sized yoga sounds right up your alley, you’re probably wondering what exercises constitute micro yoga. Here’s the thing: literally any yoga pose that you love can be micro yoga, as micro refers to the amount of time, not the actual pose itself. So feel free to incorporate your fave poses and make up your own micro yoga flows that can be done when you’re short on time.
To get the wheels turning, here are a few yoga poses that work great for micro yoga.
1. Mindful breathing
You’ve got a million emails in your inbox and it’s not even 9 am. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to do mindful breathing. This means focusing on your breathing, in through your nose and out via your mouth. Mindfulness is all about letting the worries of the world slip away and concentrating on the sound, feel, and experience of your breathing.
2. Legs up against the wall
We love legs up against the wall because it’s simple. All you need to do is lie on your back next to a wall and put your legs up against it, creating a 90-degree angle with your body. This pose is relaxing, helps to release back tension, and can increase lymphatic circulation.
Few yoga poses feel better than the beautiful cat-cow stretch! On all fours, pull your tummy in and arch your back and shoulders up, then reverse it and feel the stretch through your back and neck. This pose is great for relieving stress and tension in your back, something many of us deal with when sitting at a desk all day.
If you want to relax and feel a deep stretch through your pelvis and spine, spare a few minutes for sphinx pose. Lie on your stomach and then lift your upper body up by placing your elbows on the ground – or, go all the way up by placing your palms on the ground. Over time, this pose can strengthen your back, which is awesome if you’re looking to improve your posture.
5. Child’s pose
If the world is all becoming too much, chill out for a little while in child’s pose. It stretches out your lower back and is also super relaxing, so try out your mindful breathing while in this pose for some extra zen. Kneeling with your shins on the floor, bring your thighs down to meet them and sit back on your heels. Then, fold your body downwards with your arms out in front of you, taking your forehead as close to the mat as you can go.
6. Downward dog
Any micro yoga can benefit from the classic downward dog. Start on your hands and knees and then stretch your arm and legs straight, with your head tucked between your arms. Aim to create an inverted V shape, feeling the stretch throughout your body.
Downward dog is ideal for micro yoga because it can be done just about anywhere, even on carpet if you don’t have a mat. It’s an invigorating pose that provides an instant boost of energy, but it also helps with calmness, since the position increases blood flow to the brain, which benefits your nervous system.
If micro yoga is calling your name, why not try it out this week? It can help to set yourself small goals, like aiming for 20 minutes total per day, broken up into small chunks. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you make daily yoga a priority – even on busy days when it feels impossible!