The hashtag #YogaEveryDamnDay has garnered plenty of attention since its emergence a few years ago. Scroll through Twitter and Instagram and you’ll see post after post of ambitious yogis twisting themselves into Garudasana in the kitchen or Pashcimottanasana on a park bench. But in between a career, social life, family time, side hustles, and drinking enough water, is yoga every day actually possible?
We’re here to tell you ‘yes’—we can absolutely do yoga every damn day! It may require some creative thinking, but doing so will expand your practice in ways you never imagined.
Go beyond asana.
When yoga teacher Rachel Brathen started the #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag, she wanted to remind people to look beyond an intense asana practice. Often we get caught up in believing yoga to be a 90-minute workout, but what about the seven limbs of yoga beyond asana? If 90-minutes a day of a physical practice seems like an unattainable commitment (or is too hard on your body), then there are plenty of other ways to practice yoga. For example, you could work with yoga’s yamas or niyamas. Perhaps you practice satya, honesty, or santosha, contentment.
Instead of a daily asana practice, you could also choose to do 20 minutes of pranayama, or a 30-minute meditation. Perhaps today is more of a yoga nidra day. Thinking outside of the “asana box” puts us in touch with the essence of our yoga, relieves a bit of pressure, and puts us more in tune with what our body, mind, and spirit needs.
Shorten your practice.
Who says an asana practice has to be 90 minutes, or even an hour? Too often we push ourselves to see change immediately, and then we berate ourselves or feel disheartened when we can’t meet our own unrealistic goals.
A 15 to 30-minute asana practice, or sun salutations every day may work best for your schedule, and yes, it totally counts—just be mindful of wanting to squeeze an hour’s worth of postures into that shorter period. Verse 11.46 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras can be a helpful reminder in this case: sthira-sukham asanam. It calls on us to approach our practice with ease, steadiness, and a kind of “effortless effort.”
The added bonus of a shorter practice is that it inevitably leaves you wanting more. Perhaps next time you’ll extend your practice by 15 minutes, or be more inclined to return to the mat the next day.
Pick one to three asanas.
Working with just a handful of asanas a week probably should be on every yogi’s to-do list. Instead of a long vinyasa flow every day, how about interspersing your yoga routine by picking a few asanas to work with a week and spending a shortened practice getting to know them intimately?
Explore which warm-ups work best to support those postures, or how the breath can be used to deepen into a particular asana. Playing with asana on this level of intimacy allows us to better understand the subtle energies of the posture. Take note and record the developments to use as motivation for later. What does the posture feel like in your body? Is there a sensation of energy moving? Does emotion arise? How do you feel after holding the posture for five minutes?
Selecting which postures to focus on can be a fun experiment. If you have an interview coming up and need some manipura chakra courage, you could work with a few warrior poses. Need a week of self-care? Pick your favorite nurturing postures, like forward folds or gentle twists. There are 84 basic postures in yoga, so it’s easy to stay busy!
Short on time because you’re in a relationship, or visiting family? How about some partner yoga? If you have to work late and feel exhausted, could you pick a seated posture to rest in while zoning out to TV later? What kind of postures can you get away without looking like a crazy fool while you wait in line at the checkout? (Side stretches are a great option.)
Could this be a time to practice ahimsa? Ask your boss if you can use a conference room at lunchtime to meditate and take colleagues with you. Or share breathwork and savasana with your kids before bedtime. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to do yoga every day, it’s absolutely damn possible, you just need to get a little creative. And above all, remember you’re doing this because you love yoga. Embrace all parts of your practice—big, little, and everything in between.
Helen Avery is a contributing writer for Wanderlust. She is also a journalist, writer, yoga teacher, minister, and full-time dog walker of Millie, residing in Brooklyn, New York. You can find out more about her on her website, Life as Love.