Friday, June 1, 2018

Yoga Everyday: A One Month Journey


I've started to mindfully attempt to build routines in my life. This past year, I have been through a lot of really positive changes. However, there comes a point when even someone who enjoys change will need some sort of routine. One area that I have been focusing on is my physical routine.

There is something about yoga that is different than other physical exercises. Yoga is a workout for the mind and the body.  Yoga is a great way to balance the physical exertion from running. A common misconception is that yoga is not strenuous, when in fact it can be quite difficult.

I am an avid home-practice yogi. I found a yoga DVDs as a kid and since then I have been practicing yoga on and off, at home and in the group setting, since middle school. I tend to do a lot of YouTube yoga.

My home practice space includes my well-worn, frugal yoga mat and my iPad. 
Home practice essentials: All you really need is an area to practice. You don't actually need a yoga mat and you can even practice with a book that lists poses, but it's helpful to have a device to follow a yoga teacher.

I stumbled upon Yoga with Adriene a couple years ago. Adriene records absolutely free 30-day sequences along with other videos. I promise Adriene does not pay me to put in this plug for her YouTube channel nor does she even know who I am. Yet, I have been doing yoga with this goofy, fun-loving, Texas yoga teacher for a couple years now. O, the power of the internet!

Prior to my one-month yoga journey, I had completed 3 rounds of 30 days of yoga with Adriene prior to True, but each took me about 3 months to complete. I was practicing about 3-4 times per week. This time, I wanted to try to complete all 30 days within a month. I started the True sequence on May 1st.

The first couple weeks, I was on point. I got up each morning and completed my practice before heading off to work or starting my day. Then, I started to procrastinate. I would complete some sessions at 8pm. I am an early bird and I have learned that if I want to commit to doing something, I have to get it done first thing in the morning. In the morning, I am full of willpower. In the evening, I fight to stay awake until my 9pm bedtime.

Over halfway through, I did something that I've never been able to do-- I successfully nailed a chaturanga. A chaturanga is basically a slow push-up into a belly toward the ground backbend. Basically, hell for anyone with a lack of upper body strength. I had been doing half-ass chaturangas for years! Clearly, I was starting to build some sort of upper body strength.

On day 20, I did a half marathon. I still practiced yoga that day. Yes, I was still running during my one-month yoga journey. That's me doing my thing though. If you're thinking about trying a routine, I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to do a routine that isn't true to their own thing. Anyways, on day 21, the day after the half marathon, I was spent. I did about 5 minutes of the video and decided that May has 31 so it would be okay to complete the yoga journey in 31 days instead of 30 days. Set goals, yet still be flexible-- which is a good lesson that I've also learned from practicing yoga.

On the last day of every 30-day sequence with Adriene, you have the opportunity to practice your own yoga routine. It's always a really fun day, but in the past 3 times that I had done it, I mostly watched the video and followed Adriene's movements. This time, I mostly did my own thing this time and looked at the video only to get ideas for poses I might enjoy. I feel like I'm getting more confident in my ability to choose yoga poses that feel right to my own body. Win!

I enjoyed doing a month of yoga. The physical benefits were great. I will probably do it again in the future, but I'm learning that commanding myself to do something every single day may not be the route that I'd like to take. I can benefit from routines, but I also want to learn to take it easy. Life is a journey, and I don't want to miss all the fun getting to the next checkpoint.

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