Tag Archives: Yoga Challenge

What I learned on the 26th day of my yoga challenge…

I set out this month eager to become the most physically active I have ever been in my life. While I have gone through stints of running a few times a week or doing yoga daily for a couple weeks straight, I have never been someone who exercises every day. Then, my work started this challenge where we had to log our exercise for 2013 and I found myself exercising almost daily, including the two mile walk we take with our dogs.

Suddenly, I felt ready to tackle daily exercise and yoga seemed like the best option. I imagined myself ready to embrace summer vacation with an exercise routine in the books, no longer waiting for summer to get fit but already fit when summer started. Not only that, but I imagined the relaxing high of post-yoga meditation bliss as the trials of teaching faded from my brain each evening. While these expectations were definitely met, I also discovered something I never expected.

Daily yoga is too much for me, even when I listen to my body with seemingly gentle days of slow movement and meditation mixed in. By days 24 and 25, my body had gradually become a mess. I had a low-level migraine, my neck ached, the top of my right thigh muscle felt like it was going to abandon me. Disappointed, I shared the wall I hit with an instructor whose class I love and her advice helped to shift my perspective. She reminded me that yoga is not a competition or about ego. It’s alright to listen to your body instead of listening to your goals. She also made me realize that sometimes even meditation is an exertion of energy that may be too much.

So, last night, I took the night off. Unlike the Friday before where I shunned social interaction to practice yoga and keep with my routine, I came home, did nothing, then went to dinner with friends. Oh. How. Glorious. Today I woke up ready to go to one of my favorite yin classes. My body no longer feels like it’s falling apart. I’m excited to practice again. The 26th day of yoga taught me that yoga isn’t about every day, it’s about listening to your body and accepting the days where practice means doing something else.

I'm grateful for the reminder that the purpose of life is to live, not to keep up with our arbitrary must-do list in our brain. Everyday Guru put the same idea nicely in his post today too.

I’m grateful for the reminder that the purpose of life is to live, not to keep up with our arbitrary must-do lists. Everyday Gurus put the same idea nicely in his post today too.

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Did someone say yoga?

I’m sitting on the couch, watching the rain. Spring rain, brief and warm, my favorite. The windows are open and the smell of wet earth and concrete makes me happy. I just finished home yoga and a meditation. I feel relaxed. It has been one week of yoga every day. The evenings last longer. I am more patient, at home and at work. Everything is less urgent. So far, so good.

A few quick thoughts:

1. Kundalini yoga is weird. Please feel free to correct me on that statement. I did a program on Hulu that involved lifting and dropping my body on the ground. Oh yes, and lots of chanting and breath of fire. Not my thing, but I’d try it again to be proven wrong. Still not going to buy an all-white outfit, however.

2. Yoga with a View is a better Hulu alternative. Gets straight to the point and pairs nicely with other workouts, (like walking the dogs to the park).

3. Yoga instructors make all the difference. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve discovered some really wonderful yoga instructors who actually make me want to go to class. I had been going to a yoga class that was convenient for my schedule, but with an instructor I dreaded. Now I’ve befriended a couple instructors (one who is moving to Germany, boo!) and feel much more encouraged/likely to maintain a regular studio routine.

4. Yoga buddies also make a difference. Knowing that others have joined me for daily yoga in May is keeping me true, (ahem, Friday night was definitely a challenge, but I did it!). Likewise, having people who expect you to show up to class also helps to stop the urge to just stay home and practice from the comfort of my living room.

5. Restorative yoga is amazing. I attended a free class for teacher appreciation week on Saturday that not only left me feeling deeply relaxed but also prompted me to take the most restful nap of my life. Thanks Tami! (You can check out Tami’s awesome blog here…)

6. Daily yoga is life-changing. Okay, I know I’m only a week in, but I dabbled with it in December, and I’m getting back into that groove. Not only does a daily practice inspire me to eat cleaner, but it also leaves me feeling much more centered, especially while I teach. And, speaking of teaching, I think I might want to take classes to become a yoga instructor. Not right this moment, but if I can sustain a regular practice, I would love to be able to integrate it into my work with kids (and maybe eventually adults too).

Alright, I think that’s enough thoughts on yoga for tonight, but I promise there are more to come. Perhaps you’ll join me for a daily practice and share your thoughts too?

My current obsession-- whether or not to volunteer to work at Wanderlust this summer for a free pass... Any yoga besties want in?

My current obsession– whether or not to volunteer to work at Wanderlust this summer for a free pass… Any yoga besties want in?

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Thankfulness Thursday: Yoga & Healing

Life is choices. This week I chose yoga and reading over writing.

I finally ordered Anatomy of the Spirit and devoured as much as I could after work. I highly recommend this book. For years I have heard people talk about not wanting to give their energy to this or that… I finally get it. We can learn to control the flow of energy in and out of our bodies. Our health depends on it. This book is a blessing.

So much good stuff in life, so few hours in the day...

So much good stuff in life, so few hours in the day…

I also am grateful for yoga and dusk walks with my husband and dogs. My focus on healing is monopolizing my evenings, but there is a peace and calm that comes with this. I want to write more, but I need balance. Just thirty minutes on the computer a day is liberating. Summer will come soon enough.

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Yoga Challenge Prep: Focus Poses

Nicole over at My Yoga Discoveries inspired me to pick a few poses to really focus on for improvement this month. Here are three I love because they offer a great challenge:

1. Crow: Upper body strength does not come easily for me. However, it is an amazing feeling to hold this pose. I have never been able to do it for more than a few seconds, which I hope to change in May.

2. Standing Bow: This pose is my nemesis. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can’t balance worth a darn. However, it feel amazing because it stretches so much of the body at once.

3. Garland: Most of the world squats all the time for daily activities, which contributes to fewer back problems. I want to improve my balance and ability to hold this pose longer to help relieve the tension I carry in my lower back.

What are your favorites? Any focus poses to share?

I’m excited for a month of daily yoga practice. Hope you’ll join me!

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