For some reason that I don’t entirely understand, I decided to challenge myself to doing yoga every day in the month of June. I guess I tend to find myself lazy and fall out of commitments rather easily, so I need to make it a big one. You know what they say “GO BIG OR GO HOME!” Ideally I wanted to do an actual class everyday but I’m not entirely insane so I decided doing it at home on occasion was perfectly acceptable; it is my challenge after all. While I’ve been practicing yoga since I was in high school, my longest consistent practice was last year when I went weekly for 5 months, then dropped off as soon as life craziness started up again, which, to be honest, is most of the time for me. I’m not great at motivating myself to do it on my own, aside from a few child poses and downward dogs each day, and for a long time I didn’t want to or didn’t think I could spend the money on classes. Additionally, I’ve had some severe lower back issues over the past 6-7 years, to the extent that at one point Todd had to pull me out of bed because I couldn’t sit up on my own. Even though I know that strengthening my core would then help strengthen my lower back, I was very cautious with all the poses, skipping anything that put pressure on it (which is, like, at least half of yoga). Before June, I went 4 times total in 2018.
So this month was rather a bit of FUCK IT, I’M DOING THIS SHIT. The first two weeks pretty much kicked my ass. The only thing that saved me was that I was in Germany doing a lot of walking and NOT sitting at a desk for a week at the end of May, so I was a little looser than usual. The question I’ve been asked the most (aside from the “you’re doing what??”) has been how I make time for it. It’s just been a priority, much like you would make cooking dinner a priority. I’ve been going to a bunch of different studios which has helped when I need to work around the rest of my schedule that changes day to day and week to week. My gym has 2-3 classes a week and there are a few free classes around the area in the summer which helps alleviate the cost of going to my regular studio all the time – though I did buy a 20 class pack on sale last year that I’ve been hoarding, so I haven’t actually had to purchase a class in a while. One of the best unexpected things is that I found a Groupon I bought TWO YEARS AGO for a studio near my office and when I took it to validate for the face value, they honored the whole damn thing, so now I have a month of unlimited yoga there too!
How am I feeling 19 days into this challenge? Pretty damn good, though that really just started happening yesterday. After 7-10 days I started to notice some changes – I could do chaturanga for the first time, with the halfway lower on my knees, rather than just holding plank to downward dog, and my shoulders were definitely getting some definition. I tried the advanced class at my studio for the first time and even though I thought I was going to die I made it through and conveniently found a different Thursday class the following week. With 2 weeks of yoga every day, my muscles desperately needed a rest day so Friday and Saturday I did some restorative yoga at home rather than head to another class. It seems to have been the right decision since Monday was my best day yet, where I actually felt like I knew what I was doing and could hold the proper alignment. I also made it into crow pose for the first time in like 7 years, including falling on my face and having the class applaud my effort. WOO! Everything in my arms, shoulders, back, butt and legs feels toned and when the teacher says “engage your core” it actually feels like something more than just sucking in my gut is happening.
A bucket list consideration of mine is to someday pursue teacher yoga teacher training and certification, but it’s hard to know if that’s a realistic goal if you aren’t consistent with the practice. Now that I am getting into consistency and building strength and flexibility this feels like it might be a real option one day. Even more than that is the knowledge that I put my mind to something and against what is easy or expected made it happen. I don’t think I want to continue with a class a day once this month is over – 2-3 days a week seems much more reasonable since I’d like to work on other areas of my life again too – but it’s been really rewarding to see a physical change that I honestly wasn’t expecting.
So far I’m really proud of myself and excited to finish the next 11 days and see how my body feels then. I’ll give another update at the end of the month!