I have always been the type of person who intended to workout. But for one reason or another (mainly procrastination) I have never really found a workout routine that I could keep to. Determined to change this, I was excited when I stumbled across Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day challenge. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try and develop a routine. So, armed with a shiny new yoga mat for the last month I have been following the videos on YouTube. Here’s what I learned from 30 days of yoga…
We Make Time for The Things That Matter
Before I started the 30 days of yoga challenge I was the kind of person who always complained about not having time to go to the gym. But what I gradually started to realise was: we prioritise the things that are important.
What does that mean, really? Well, for me it was about acknowledging that I don’t enjoy the gym but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting fit. I found that I really started looking forward to my ‘yoga class’ every day. I tried to keep to a routine; at 8.00 every evening I unrolled my yoga mat, fired up YouTube and got started.
On days when I knew that I would be out in the evening, I got up earlier in the morning to start the day with a little yoga. When I made yoga a priority everything else fell into shape.
I Am Not a Flexible Person: But That’s Ok
I think it was day three of my yoga challenge when I messaged a friend and said ‘I think I just created a new yoga move: the pretzel’. After tying myself into knots, I had basically ended up in a kind of upside down fly position. It looked nothing like the video, I was frustrated and my hamstrings hurt like hell. Total. Yoga. Fail
But the best thing about Yoga With Adriene is that she always gives graduated moves. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t ready to take on the crane pose but I got a quarter of the way there, and that’s still an achievement. I started the 30 days of yoga challenge with the goal of being able to (easily) touch my toes…something I have never been able to do, and, I’m nearly there!
The Light in Me Honours the Light in You
Somewhere in the depths of the yoga challenge I heard this. Whether I was having a bad day or not, it struck me as something incredibly important to remember. Too often we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to notice how special the people around us are.
I’m incredibly lucky to have some wonderful friends and a really close family, I knew that before the yoga challenge. But there was something about the phrasing that made me look at all the special people in my life with new appreciation. It also reminded me of this quote from Marianne Williamson:
“as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Related: The Lies We Tell Strangers: Autism, Haircuts and Playing With Identity
Breathe through the pain
To start with I didn’t really take the whole breathing stuff seriously. Like, uh I get it, remember to breathe! It wasn’t until Adrienne was telling me to try and stay in a plank for a minute that I was like…wait, what? I felt like shouting ‘I can’t even touch my toes and you want me to do that! Girl you crazy!’
Ten seconds in I knew that it wasn’t going to work. Then, as if she could tell what I was thinking, Adrienne said, just breathe through it. And so I did. I copied the way she inhaled slowly and then exhaled loudly. It felt silly, but I noticed that it really did help. I got through that plank, with a sense of huge achievement, and never ignored her instructions to breathe again!
Set Yourself Realistic Goals
As someone who previously describer herself as allergic to exercise, I knew it was important to set myself realistic goals. And, as time went on I found that being realistic about what I wanted to achieve from 30 days of yoga helped me succeed. There’s nothing like biting of more than you can chew to put you off doing something is there?
So, before setting out I decided I had two goals: one, to do yoga every day for 30 days and two, to be able to touch my toes. It might sound crazy but the second goal is a really big achievement for me. I have never been able to touch my toes and have even had to go to physiotherapy to try and loosen my back a bit. In fact, it was my physiotherapist who recommended yoga. At the end of my 30 days, I haven’t quite managed to touch my toes without bent knees but I’m almost there, and it feels great!
Overall I am so pleased I decided to try out 30 days of yoga. Taking time out every day to workout is really important and (surprisingly) easier than I expected. I have already decided to take Adriene’s other yoga challenge: Yoga Camp! Partly because I’m not quite confident enough to try it out on my own, and partly because it’s nice to have a structure to follow along with.
Thinking of Taking The 30 Days of Yoga Challenge?
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