The most important currency we have in life is time, and yet we often don’t feel the impact of its value until we notice we aren’t using time as an asset to our health and well-being. Many people will complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise or take a break for self-care but I invite you to reframe this challenge and recognize that taking time for yourself, especially while moving the body, will build compound interest in the currency of time. You will amp up your energy and your perception of time will actually shift! More energy means more focused attention and decreased periods of time-dwindling autopilot states of being.
If you are not in the habit of a regular movement practice and/or think that yoga is too challenging for you ( eg. you feel too inflexible), it will feel more challenging to find time for a committed yoga practice. Yoga has a bit of a learning curve since some of the poses have names that people might not be familiar with or moves that are different from other movement practices, and this novelty can prove to be a hindrance in developing a regular practice. Also, the typical yoga class is 45-75 minutes which might be more time than people want to spend practicing.
My younger self would assume that I have to move for at least an hour a day to acquire the benefits that exercise imparts. But I have changed my mind as I have aged, based on my own experience but also in witnessing countless others reap the benefits of movement in smaller doses.
I always say that some movement is better than no movement and 20 to 30 minutes can plant the necessary seed for growing a longer practice over time. It only takes 2-3 minutes of movement and breathing to start to impact the nervous system so a lot can happen in 20-30 minutes! Research has shown that the way you stand and take up space ( standing more upright and lifting your arms overhead) can change the body’s neurophysiological responses affecting hormones, such as cortisol and testosterone, in just 2-3 minutes. When we take five full breaths, we can sense a shift in our nervous system as well, bringing more oxygen to the brain and helping to regulate any imbalanced state of stress. Mobilizing the joints can quickly lead to synovial joint replenishment, and the synovial joints are the big movers of our bodies, found in places like our hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders. In a well-constructed 20 to 30-minute yoga practice, you can mobilize the joints to move more fluidly, increase blood flow to the tissues of the musculoskeletal system to feel less restricted, increase oxygen uptake to feel more awake, and create more balance in the nervous system. Breathing and movement with focus (the key ingredients in a yoga practice) will rebalance the nervous system and improve mental clarity. Our body is made to move and it’s the easiest vehicle to change the way we feel as well. Movement is medicine and even a smaller dose can have a huge impact on every system in the body! I advise people to move more regularly for a shorter duration versus less regularly for a longer duration. One reason is that consistency is key for creating the movement habit, which needs to become more hardwired so that your mind and body choose to practice because the positive feedback loop has been encoded in the brain. While I love practicing for much longer than 20-30 minutes, I also live this life as a teacher and entrepreneur so it’s part of the recipe for my own well-being, personally and professionally. I recognize that other people have varying obligations and time management might lead to a shorter practice. The concept is to practice regularly for whatever duration that feels successful and helpful for you.
Let’s take back the concept of time limitation and begin forming solid movement habits for today and for your future. Check out our LYT DAILY platform and use the filters to choose a duration and level that works for you. Starting small can lead to bigger shifts, both in the body and the brain. Choose to move and invest in yourself because you deserve it!