"Purposeful living calls for elegant efficiency and economy of effort—expending the minimum time and energy necessary to achieve desired goals." Dan Millman
A regular yoga practice has the potential to make you stronger, fitter, more supple, to prevent and heal injury, to enhance your physical performance and to sharpen your mental focus. However, as a busy, high-achiever, I'm guessing you don’t have time to find a 90-minute yoga for athletic recovery class to attend every week. And that is why I have designed this series—to distill and simplify this crucial aspect of your training.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
- Mat. The only equipment you need is a mat to stop your hands and feet from slipping. Mats vary considerably in quality and type so find one that looks and feels good to you. I have a heavy mat that I love but if you travel often or plan to do your yoga workouts away from home, you might prefer a lightweight option that is easier to carry around. Don't be tempted to go too cheap here as it will be frustrating in the long-term. And if you are tall, make sure your mat is long enough.
- Clothing. Wear comfortable, stretchy workout clothes that allow you to move freely. Baggy clothes don't really work.
- Footwear. One of the most beneficial and unique aspects of yoga is that you practice barefoot. This strengthens the muscles in your feet, ankles, legs and core as well as improving your balance.
I try to keep equipment to a minimum but unfortunately, the tighter you are, the more props are going to help you out. Here are some additional bits and pieces that you might find helpful:
- Cushions and pillows to prop you up.
- A towel or blanket to put under your knees if they give you gyp.
- 2 blocks and a strap.
"Do as little as needed not as much as possible." Henk Kraaijenhof, International Performance Consultant
In designing this series, I was inspired by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body, to find the minimum effective dose for yoga. He defines this as, "the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome, anything beyond which is wasteful." The MED for yoga is 15 minutes. This gives you time to warm up, workout, focus your mind and cool down.
I have designed the series so that you cycle through different styles of yoga that achieve your 6 key objectives—flexibility, balance, strength, mobility, relaxation and mental training.
"The way physiology works is that it adapts to what you do most frequently, not to what you do with the best of intentions." Katy Bowman, biomechanist
It is consistency not intensity or duration that is key to your success. Practicing yoga is a slow and systematic process of gradually unlocking areas of tightness and tension throughout your body, correcting muscular imbalances and training the mind for greater concentration. There is a compound effect. One long session is unlikely to have significant benefits. Little and often is the most effective approach.
Create A Routine
"Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going." Jim Rohn
Making decisions is more mentally draining than you might imagine, which is why Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck and jeans every single day. By creating routines, you save valuable time and energy for what is most important to you.
- Time. You can roll out of bed and start your day with yoga, practice in the middle of the day to give you a natural energy boost, stretch out after your workout to relieve muscle soreness or do a sequence in the evening to wind down and prepare your body for sleep. Pick the best time for you (be as specific as possible), tweak as necessary and then stick to it.
- Place. These sequences are designed so that you can practice yoga wherever you have enough room for you and your mat, but a quiet place without distractions is ideal. Try to find somewhere that puts you in the best frame of mind.
Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear what's working for you and what's not, in terms of clothing, equipment and scheduling. I'm here for support!