Tap #yogaeverydamnday into Instagram and over 8 million posts pop up. Whoa. That’s a lot of yogis getting bendy every darn day. I add the hashtag to some of my own snaps and – I’ll level with you here – for a long time I did it without questioning what it means (apart from the extra likes 😉).
Should we really do yoga every day? Is it a good idea? Well, yes, but perhaps not quite in the way you imagine.
Committing to daily yoga doesn’t mean you have to strike an Instagram worthy pose every morning, sweat it out in an intense class or even get on your mat every day. Yoga-ing every day should be about feeling awesome. Here’s how to do it right.
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Before you go ahead and bust some moves, close your eyes for a moment and notice how you feel. Maybe you feel fabulous, or maybe you’re tired or stressed out like crazy. Maybe you’re poorly, achy or have an injury. If something’s not quite right it doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga (a high intensity class is often just what I need when I’m tired), but you might need to adjust your practice.
Ask your body what it needs and do what feels best. That might mean slowing down, resting more between poses or avoiding moves that stress an injury (ask a teacher if you’re not sure). Stay aware as you move through your session and adjust as much as necessary. If your body says ‘no asana today thanks’, that’s ok too.
The yoga we see on social media is dominated by gravity defying balances and gymnastic style poses like handstand and monkey pose. I love these poses and there is nothing wrong with practising them if it feels good. However, there are so many more way to practise yoga and so many diverse types of yogis out there for you to be inspired by.
Restorative yoga, for example, doesn’t tend to make for the most striking Instagram snaps, but a gentler, more meditative practice must be just what you need. Seek out different styles and try a class with a teacher first. If you find one that feels great you could start to incorporate it into your home practice – try a yoga app for inspiration.
I can’t remember a day in the last few years when I didn’t do yoga, but I certainly haven’t done a full class every day. My daily yoga fix might have been a few minutes of Ocean Breathing to get me through a stressful moment or a hip stretch after sitting at my desk too long. Yoga practice doesn’t have to happen in the studio and it doesn’t have to be an hour and a half long. Try little bites of yoga throughout the day, they count just as much.
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Aside from practising asana, try getting in the yogi mindset every single day. For me, the yoga mindset rests on two foundations: mindfulness and compassion. Set yourself times to practise mini mindful moments when you slow down and tune in to the world around you. Practise kindness, love, gratitude and compassion.
Most of us are particularly bad at practising self-compassion and if there’s one thing we should all be doing every damn day without question, it’s learning how to be kind to ourselves. Take charge of your wellbeing, mind and body, and be honest with yourself about what you need.
Do you #yogaeverydamnday? Share your stories in the comments below.