If you saw my last post, you’ll know that one of my January goals is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge.
I’d always thought yoga wasn’t really for me. My mind moves fast – I like to be busy, can find it hard to really switch off, and struggle a little bit with feeling the pressure to be totally zen and wear hemp trousers that I used to associate with yoga.
I’m also not what you’d call bendy – I’m more the kind of woman known to grown when I have to pick my keys up off the floor. I did do an amazing Ashtanga Yoga session at Shambala festival a couple of years ago, which I found relatively straightforward, but I’m quite sure that was because I was possibly (read definitely) still a teeny, tiny bit shitfaced from the night before and feeling a bit gung ho about it all.
So fast forward to 2015.
I had come across Yoga with Adriene last September when I decided to find a beginners yoga video to do in our fabulous apartment in beautiful Nocelle, on the Amalfi Coast (I think I was going for the Eat, Pray, Love vibe…?). I liked her friendly, easy style and the adaptations for beginners. Most importantly, what I have really come to love about Adriene’s videos is that there’s no pretence that it’s easy to wrap your legs around your head and prop yourself up on one wrist.
TAKE NOTE YOGIS OF INSTAGRAM.
So when I saw that she was putting out a 30 Day Yoga Challenge in January, I thought I’d give it a go. And I am SO glad I did.
What’s it all about?
Adriene very generously puts out a new free video every day over on her YouTube channel, each with a difference practice and a new focus – everything from yoga to aid digestion, a moving meditation, yoga for endurance or to strengthen your spine. The videos are all 30 minutes or less and there are always variations of the moves depending how confident or how far along in your practice you are.
How’s it all going?
AWESOME – I can already do a handstand on one wrist in upside down tree-pose.
I’m totally taking the piss, of course.
Seriously though, I’m actually enjoying it a lot. And I’ve already noticed a real difference in my strength, tone and endurance. I’m definitely more flexible than I was a couple of weeks ago – when I’m having a good day, at least. Some days my hamstrings and hip flexors are incredibly tight and hold me back. Any recommendations for improving this are very welcome!
What’s the best bit?
Like lots of others I see commenting on the videos and Facebook feed, I actually find myself looking forward to getting on my yoga mat everyday and missing it if I don’t. This is so unlike me, I can’t tell you! I really thought it would be incredibly difficult to make time to exercise every day, and it’s something I’ve never managed before. But it has felt pretty easy – in fact, the only days I’ve really missed have been when I’ve attended a Nike Training Club session and have worked so hard my arms and legs have turned to rubber and the only planking I could manage was face down in bed.
I got a very timely newsletter from Adriene this morning, which said that it’s totally fine to be a little behind and catch up when you can – that rather than thinking about developing a new ‘habit’, think of it as adding a new ‘healthy ritual’ to your life. And I think that’s much more friendly, don’t you?
Without a doubt, the best bit has been taking that quiet, peaceful time for myself. And although I do struggle to switch my brain off, I’ve definitely had some super calming sessions where my focus has been on my breathing and little else. What I’ve found surprising is how your breath can really energise your body – when Adriene says ‘breath into the stretch’, my brain wants to pick holes in the logic, but it actually works! There’s always a little more give in there than you think.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Learning to switch off. It’s ongoing, that one. Sometimes my mind will wander sometimes and I’ll remember I haven’t done my laundry or think about something I have to do at work, but that’s usually if I’m a little more tired or my focus just isn’t there. I’m trying hard to focus on giving myself that time – just for me, and just for channelling strong, powerful and peaceful energy. Definitely a step in the right direction on my journey to wellbeing!
Oh shit, this is getting a little too tie-dye isn’t it?
DISCLAIMER: I have never bought incense, nor will I ever. So there.
Next week – getting pulverised by Nike Training Club.