I used to not consider a yoga practice particularly worthwhile unless I got a full hour, MINIMUM. In my training we were doing around 5 hours a day, and when I lived and taught in India, I continued to practice for about 2 hours – plus time for meditation and breathwork etc.
So, I’m not gonna lie, 2 hours of yoga a day is bliss. But for 99% of people, myself very much included, it is completely untenable – whether because of time constraints, life commitments or physical capacity.
I don’t teach that much physical yoga anymore, and it’s been a while since I did a long class – I managed a few 90 min hot yoga sessions at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic set in (and also before I remembered, as I always do, that hot yoga is one of the easiest ways to injure yourself). I now teach a lot more meditation, breathwork and mindset coaching – which is far more in line with a) where my life is at right now as the mother of a toddler (and another one on the way) and b) where I’ve found the biggest life-impacting lessons, many of which started imperceptibly small.
In recent years I’ve become a devotee of the little and often approach. I love sitting for meditation 20/30 minutes twice a day, but with where I’m at right now, I just won’t keep that kind of practice up. And then when I ‘fail’, I – like everyone else – find I need even more energy to find the motivation to start again. However, what I can manage is 12 minutes of meditation most days. I generally incorporate a bit of breathwork into that, and start and end with a minute of stretching.
In the moment, it’s not life changing. It feels more like flossing and brushing my teeth – a very necessary act for my health, that can sometimes be a bit boring or tiresome. However, when I don’t do it for a few days, which is rare but does happen (and happened this week), I gradually start to feel the effects of that loss. I become a bit more irritable, I feel a bit more overwhelmed by work or life, I behave with a bit less compassion and understanding towards others. And then I get back on the wagon and I remember, that the very little things add up to something huge for me.
Ultimately, actual true life-long wellbeing isn’t about doing 2 hours of yoga a day. It’s about finding an approach that works for you, and then being flexible and adaptable as you’ll need to change it as your life changes too. Wellbeing is about the little things, that add up to something big. That add up to the sum of your days, your happiness, your contentment and your life.
So today I simply want to leave you with a question: What little things in your life make all the difference to your mental and physical health? And are you ACTUALLY doing them? It’s all very well and good identifying the small actions or behaviours that support us through life, but if we’re not doing them, annoyingly, they don’t work.
On that note, I’m off to meditate. What little thing are you going to do for yourself today? Knowing that, eventually, these small moments are the ones that will change your life.