True story: I broke a sweat, because certain yoga movements while you do housework are valid workouts, too.
Biggest truth of all: I felt more peaceful and happy as I did the chores and even better as I did something good for myself.
When I started practicing yoga 15 years ago, my work schedule kept me from getting to class as often as I wanted. So, I started threading pieces of poses I learned in class into the rest of my life – at work, on planes, waiting in line at the grocery store, and yes, even while I was doing housework!
Here are five ways you can transform ho-hum housework moments into mini, yogic bits of health.
While you’re scrubbing plates, incorporate an abdominal strength builder that also helps overall digestion.
- Stand at the kitchen sink with your belly touching the counter.
- Inhale through your nose and inflate your belly (feel it press against the counter).
- Exhale and shrink only your belly away from the sink (you should feel it move away from the counter).
- Still on your exhale, imagine lifting your belly button in and up, suspending your exhale for a beat or two.
- Inhale and repeat steps 2-5.
As you push the vacuum cleaner, build greater balance and leg strength while stretching your hamstrings and producing a clean carpet.
- Take a firm, wide stance with your feet.
- With the vacuum to one side, pull the vacuum toward you, shift backward, and bend your back knee, putting the weight on the leg furthest away from the vacuum.
- Push the vacuum away from you, bend your front knee, and shift your weight to the leg closest to the vacuum.
- Repeat steps 2-3 and find a rocking motion as you move the vacuum back and forth across the carpet.
Stretch your calf muscles and feet, improve your posture, and tone your arms, shoulders and upper back while bringing good vibes to your plants and flowers.
- Kneel on your shins in the grass or another soft surface.
- Keeping your shoulders dropped away from your ears, reach your arms above your head, interlace your fingers, and press your palms together.
- Release only your thumbs and index fingers from the interlace, and press them together. Point them up to the sky.
- Feel your tailbone lengthen into the earth, and reach higher with your arms and pointed fingers.
- Breathe deeply and hold for 10 breaths. Repeat if desired.
No need to hit the gym for squats. Strengthen your legs and support your back at the same time, then meditate while you match socks.
- Widen your leg stance, bend your knees, and come into a squat position, bringing your rear closer to the ground while keeping your chest and face lifted.
- Inhale, and grab your laundry basket.
- Exhale, then, press down into the ground to stand up, keeping your chest and face lifted.
- Repeat and keep breathing!
Look no further than your couch to “power nap” the yogi way, helping yourself let go and relieve your body of tension, which then restores your energy.
- Lengthwise, lie down on the couch with your rear close to the end.
- Toss your legs over the arm of the couch, bending your knees close to ninety degrees.
- Close your eyes; breathe deeply.
- Imagine you’re a dense potato, sinking deeper into the couch.
- Stay there for one to three minutes, maybe more (but try not to fall asleep right there).
Based on real yoga poses, these are just a few brief ideas of how to turn housework into bits of wellness!
More detailed versions are in my new book, Happy-Go-Yoga, simple poses to relieve pain, reduce stress, and add joy, in a chapter called “Chill Homies,” one of several chapters that bring yoga into real life situations – at home, on the job – wherever you are!