Ask friends or family how things are going and the answer you’re likely to get will invariably be “busy”. In our hyper-connected modern world, it’s increasingly hard to switch off, disconnect fully from work and find time to dedicate to ourselves in the moment without interruption.
While being busy can be a sign that we’re in demand and things are going well, it can also indicate that we’re not giving ourselves a fair work-life balance. In an age of always being on the go and the constant flow of texts, instant messages and email comms, it’s important to dedicate time to relaxation and self-inquiry. This is where yoga can have a huge part to play, giving you the ability to relax after a long day at work – and it needn’t be too difficult to fit into your busy schedule either.
Meditation. Image taken by Phillip Suddick
Why try yoga?
When people think of yoga, many will automatically think of the stereotypical yogi leading a class full of dedicated experts, which can make them think yoga isn’t for them. But I can assure you this isn’t the case. These days you’ll find people of all abilities and from all walks of life enjoying the benefits of the practice, from lawyers to teachers, students to the retired.
It’s not just the people where you’ll find variety either. No matter what you want to achieve, from improving your strength to boosting your mindfulness, there’s a type of yoga to suit every need, including:
- Vinyasa yoga - flowing classes, where movement is tied closely to breathing. No two vinyasa classes are the same, with this type of yoga heavily influenced by the teacher’s own experiences and learnings.
- Restorative yoga - the perfect way to slow down the week, restorative yoga is all about calmness, where the heart rate is slowed down though relaxing poses on comfy, yoga props.
- Hot yoga – it’s all about sweating out the stresses of daily life here. Hot yoga is a set of defined poses and movements carried out in a heated room.
- Iyengar yoga - more static classes, with detailed focus into the alignment of each pose rather than moving through a wide variety.
- Mysore Ashtanga – for the dedicated yogis, this class sees practitioners turn up before the sun rises and complete a vigorous set-sequence, at their own pace, under the eyes of a supervising teacher.
There are many fantastic physical benefits to yoga, from strengthening your body to improving balance and flexibility, but this is just one piece of the yoga toolkit. Try yoga and you’ll soon find your mind will appreciate the practice just as much as your body does. Some classes even use meditation, chanting and guided relaxation techniques to help you find balance in a world that is work heavy.
How yoga can help you find your balance
Warrior 2 Pose. Image taken by Phillip Suddick
There are a wide range of benefits to trying yoga. At its core, it can be seen as a practice of exploring yourself - feeling and watching your breath, observing the narratives inside your head and experiencing sensations in your body through the vehicle of yoga. On a physical level, you may find yourself getting stronger, fitter and more flexible in your tight spots too - the perfect antidote to a life sitting at a desk!
As an added bonus, practicing yoga can also give you time in your day to finally feel free of notifications and work, where no one should be able to contact you and disrupt that all-important work-life balance. On a mental level too, spending time getting your mind and body aligned can help you feel calmer, less reactive and might even help with your mood and day to day productivity when you are in the office.
There’s a reason millions of people from so many walks of life swear by the positive effects of yoga and why companies, sports teams, universities and more, are increasingly encouraging their people to participate.
As well as all the physical and mental benefits of yoga, there’s also the community element to revel in. You’ll meet all types of people at yoga who you might never meet in your working life, learning all about each of them and their stories. The benefits of this community aspect of yoga are immeasurable.
How to fit yoga into your busy schedule
Adam teaching a yoga class. Image taken by Cecilia Cristolovean
One of the biggest barriers to getting into yoga is that people don’t know what is available and where. Thankfully, the popularity of the practice means there are dedicated studios popping up all over the country along with classes in gyms, workplaces and a wide range of other places. Its increasing availability means fitting it into your schedule needn’t be a chore. Just find a class near you and you can book a session before you go into the office in the morning, over lunchtime or before you head home for the evening, giving your wellness and work-life balance a welcome boost without impacting too much on your schedule.
Yoga isn’t the only way to redress the balance in your life, but it’s a wonderful tool that has offered assistance to so many already and can have a real impact on how good you feel.
Adam Husler is a London based yoga teacher, regularly teaching conferences, trainees and retreats all over the world. He brings a unique perspective to those who seek more from yoga than making pretty shapes. He offers creative, effective and clearly-sequenced teachings that focus on balancing flexibility and strength; physically and mentally, Adam specialises in a signature style of Alignment-Based Vinyasa— fuelled by a fascination with anatomy and a desire to ask ‘why?’ With a robust home schedule in London and leading workshops, trainings and festivals continuously around the world, Adam has thousands of teaching hours under his belt.