How do you practice yoga every day

How you can incorporate a regular yoga practice into everyday life

People keep asking me how often to do yoga. It depends, I answer, how much you want to do for your body and mind. How much yoga do you want to let into your life? The Indian philosophy of life yoga works best if you practice it daily and anchor the values ​​of yoga firmly in your life.

Our stressful everyday life lets us quickly forget the pleasant feeling of relaxation that we feel after a yoga class. However, a busy schedule prevents us from going to the yoga studio several times a week. A reason to integrate various yoga techniques into everyday life. 5 - 20 minutes spread over the day are enough to find your way back to inner peace. This is time again that we don't think we have, but if we take this time, our quality of life improves enormously:

  • Better body awareness - we notice faster when we are under stress and can take countermeasures.
  • Strong, flexible muscle corset - we keep ourselves more upright, which also has a positive effect on our mood.
  • Body and mind relax faster - we become more stress-resistant.

And experience shows: more yoga usually comes automatically because you can't get enough of the phenomenal effects of yoga. I think these are good reasons to practice one or more of the following exercises on a daily basis.

Good morning routine
A fixed morning routine is something special, because in the morning the mind is still relaxed and the world is calm. If possible, get up in front of the others, not or only the most necessary talking.

Two Ayurvedic cleansing practices
Immediately after getting up, clean the tongue from the white coating - the nocturnal slag - with a tongue cleaner. Drink a cup of warm lemon water to purify the organism and to stimulate digestion and elimination. At the same time, the body is supplied with vitamins and secondary plant substances.

Five minutes of meditation
Get into a comfortable sitting position on a chair or pillow. The hands lie relaxed on the thighs. Close your eyes. The spine is straightened, the sternum gently raised, the shoulders automatically relax backwards, downwards and outwards. The top of the skull strives upwards, the skin of the face is soft. Connect with your breath. Observe inhalations and exhalations for a few breaths. Take stock. Ask yourself: how do I feel today? Active and full of action? Or do I take it easy for the day? What am I looking forward to today? What could be difficult? And then just take things as they are. Perceiving that all is well as it is, sit still for a few minutes.

Four (or more) rounds of sun salutation

AA = exhale, EA = inhale

Ultimate energy kick for the experienced
One or two handstands (wakes you up faster than a double espresso!)
Four rounds of kapalabhati (breathing exercise) at your own pace or under the guidance of Sukadev.

Five rounds of Nadi Shodana (alternating breathing)
Get an upright and comfortable seat on a chair or pillow. Close your eyes. The left hand lies loosely on the left thigh. Bend your index and middle fingers on your right hand. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale on the left. Close the left nostril with the right ring finger and open the right nostril, exhale on the right. Inhale on the right and close the right nostril with the right thumb. Open your left nostril and exhale on the left. Repeat this sequence as relaxed as possible. Let the breath flow calmly and rhythmically. Breathe in for twice as long as you breathe out. End the exercise by exhaling on the left.

End your morning practice with Viparita Karani (supported shoulder stand). Hold the position for 5-10 breaths.

Yoga in between
If you have a lot of stress during the day or mainly sit at your desk, you should take a short break several times. This gets the circulation going again, muscles and brain are supplied with better blood again, so that tension is released and mental work is then easier.

Practice mindfulness
Today there are an infinite number of distractions - especially media - that distract the mind and lead to distraction. Mindfulness in everyday life means doing the activity you are doing with increased attention. Watch what you are doing with absolute care. Consciously feel your movements and your breath with all your senses. Come to deep abdominal breathing. Find details that are interesting. Observe your thoughts and feelings. Without evaluating, stay as neutral as possible. The best way to stretch the time and escape the constant feeling of time pressure is to practice mindfulness in everyday life. Instead of getting into a hectic rush due to multitasking, only perform one activity very carefully. In this way you train your concentration and your mind stays calm.

No matter what you're doing. Stop for a minute or two, feel and watch your breath. Consciously breathe in and out into your stomach.

Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation)
If you have the opportunity or time, do 10-15 minutes of yoga nidra before lunch. There are free announcements on YouTube.

Or you can buy a CD, for example Ralph Skuban Yoga Nidra - deep relaxation and mental clarity (book and CD).

Asanas for in between
5 x small sun salutations (EA = inhale, AA = exhale)

5 x Tiryaka Tadasana (torso bend on each side)

5 x Kati Chakraasana (torso rotation to each side - while standing or on the chair)

If possible, go for a walk for 15-30 minutes. Walks stimulate the metabolism and let your thoughts calm down. Whether in quiet streets, in the park or by the water - what counts is movement and few stimuli. So better not to take your cell phone with you.

Evening routine
After a stressful day you can relax with a yoga exercise as soon as you come home and thus regain energy for the rest of the evening. So that the body can adjust to sleep, you should turn off your TV, computer and cell phone one to two hours before going to bed (between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.).

Deep relaxation
Savasana: Lie on a rug, blanket, or yoga mat. The legs are stretched out on the floor, the feet are a little more than hip-width apart. The arms are stretched out next to the body, palms facing up. The head is in the middle (if necessary only with a flat pillow), eyes and lips are gently closed. Without moving your body, stay in this position for 10 minutes and watch your breath. You can set the alarm clock, a mediation timer, or turn on relaxation music.

Bodyscan: wander through the body with your perception. Consciously feel the individual body parts. Inwardly tell yourself the name of the respective body part. The body then relaxes on its own. Start at the feet and go step by step through the whole body to the top of the skull.

Yoga Nidra: 20-30 minutes after announcement.

Five rounds of alternating breathing (Nadi Shodana)
The alternating breathing has a balancing effect. It wakes you up when you are tired. It is relaxing and calming when you are stressed and nervous.

Spiritual reading
It is especially nice to read spiritual, inspiring and motivating words just before going to sleep, which will make you fall asleep with a good and hopeful feeling. E.g. "Ajahn Brahm - The cow that cried".

Daily review
In bed, after turning off the light, look back on a day and choose three things that made you particularly happy today. Linger a few minutes with the images and feelings that arise.

I hope there was something for you. Take time for yourself. No matter how much yoga you practice, after every short practice, well-being and serenity will increase. Yoga means getting away from the mat, getting involved in everyday life, becoming calmer, friendlier and more compassionate. Yoga also means an inner posture that you adopt through constant practice in your life.

“Our everyday actions determine whether we are happy or not.” Dalai Lama


(Claudia Dahnelt - Lotusblume Yoga & Ayurveda, Frankfurt, September 2016)