There's no doubt that a 90-minute yoga session can do wonders for your aching body and foggy mind. But when life's demands get in the way, you don't need to give up the benefits of yoga. Instead, get creative about incorporating asana into your day. "Let go of the concept that a yoga practice has to be an hour and a half or it is not a "real practice," says San Francisco yoga teacher Jane Austin.
"I always tell my students that one Downward-Facing Dog a day is a daily practice." Austin says that any amount of time spent focusing on the breath and going inward can energize the body and calm the mind. "Yoga is potent," she says. A little goes a long way." Look for opportunities to practice poses like these throughout your day.
Take a few moments before the day begins to center yourself and stretch out your hips. Before getting out of bed, lie on your back and bend your knees, letting them drop toward your stomach. Take hold of the outsides of your flexed feet as you draw your knees apart. With each breath, draw your knees closer to the bed, releasing the groins and hips. Stay for 5 breaths.
Virabhadrasana III (Warrior Pose III)
While setting or clearing the table, take Warrior III. Standing an arm's distance away from the table, lower your torso so that it's parallel to the floor. Take hold of the edge of the table (walk your feet back as needed to keep torso parallel to the floor), and lift your right leg behind you. Keep your head between your arms and your gaze straight ahead. If you feel steady, let go of the table and reach your arms forward. Stay for 3 breaths, and then lower your leg. On your next trip to the table, lift the opposite leg.
Piriformis stretch with forward fold
This discreet stretch will give your body a boost during any business meeting by energizing your hips and spine. From a seated position, cross your right ankle above your left knee so that your right shin is parallel to the edge of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair with your hands and engage your leg by flexing your right foot. On the exhalation, draw your right knee toward the floor as you fold slightly forward, keeping your back straight. After 5 breaths, switch legs and repeat on the other side.
Ardha Adho Mukha Svanasana (Half Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Stand facing your desk or a table with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale, bringing your palms together at the chest. Exhale, reaching your arms overhead and then extending your arms in front of you to grasp the edge of the desk (walk your feet back as needed to keep torso parallel to the floor). Press your hips up and back, and firm your shoulder blades down your back as you bring your chest toward your thighs. Look toward your belly button and stay for 10 breaths.