It’s International Day of Yoga so what better day to share my experience of setting foot in the yoga realm?
First off, let me give you some background.
I like to set goals for myself and when it comes to personal goals I’m quite flexible with my approach. In other words, I like to switch things up every few weeks to keep it fun, but also so that I can try new things and learn from the experience.
That’s why I’ve started doing 28 day challenges. (No, not 30, because that means you finish the challenge in the middle of the week, and that just won’t do *frowns and shakes head*.)
A 28 day challenge gives you an opportunity to build a routine and test something new out. It’s usually long enough to hit a few barriers that need to be overcome and short enough that if initially the activity seems like a bad fit you don’t have to keep at it too long, or lose money if start up costs of a longer commitment are high, such as a gym membership.
In particular, 28 day challenges are good for health and fitness related goals and every year I have something that I want to achieve related to health and fitness. This year I have set a general goal to get leaner and have a number of ways that I wanted to do that.
One of them was to try some kind of lower impact exercise such as Pilates or yoga to compliment the weights workout that I do. I picked yoga.
Do at least 10 minutes of yoga every day for 28 days.
- No missing a day
Yep just that simple.
First off, I needed to be able to fit it in at a time of day that I could be consistent as, before lockdown, I may be away from home. Attending a class wasn’t going to be an option. I therefore committed to it being part of my morning routine – the first thing I did on getting out of bed (but after brushing my teeth, because, you know, morning breath).
I wasn’t sure where to start but saw an infographic on Instagram and started with that. It was just eleven moves to be followed in a sequence, repeating the move on each side where relevant. It only took 10 minutes to do and was easy to do when away from home, too. No equipment required.
After a week or so, I incorporated some other moves that I had seen Facebook friends doing, just to spice it up a bit and add a bit of energy on days when I felt like it.
After just a couple of weeks I noticed that there was definitely better movement in my hips and just starting my day that way was a nice way to wake up slowly. I also noticed that my posture is much better generally.
I enjoyed it so much that this is one 28 day challenge I have kept with since I first started it before Christmas. I don’t recall why I didn’t go to YouTube in the first place but after a couple of months of going it alone I started one of the 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne. This has included me doing longer sessions, time permitting and really had the benefit of a teacher.
Let’s be clear here: I am flexible in mind but certainly not in body! If you are thinking of giving yoga a go, then don’t let that lack of flexibility stop you. Sure, you (and I) might not be posting any gasp worthy photos on Instagram anytime soon but that isn’t the purpose here. Improvement in flexibility comes with time and certainly the younger you are the faster it will come. After doing daily yoga for six months I still have tightness in my hamstrings so I can’t grab my feet when in a seated forward fold, but I know there has been improvement. In summary, give it time if you enjoy taking part unless it actually causes pain and then you might need to do something else or consult your GP.
Some of the YouTube videos can be longer than you may have time for but Adrienne’s practice is slow enough that occasionally I have changed the playback speed to either 1.25 or 1.5 times the normal speed so that I can fit it in. That means that a 25 minute video can take as little as 16 minutes. Be warned though, it can make it a bit more challenging too!
You don’t have to invest in anything to start doing yoga. Down the line if you really enjoy it, then sure, buy a mat. But it ain’t compulsory, especially if you have carpeted floors. You don’t need pants called ‘yoga pants’ either, however cute they might look on.
Okay, so that’s my first 28 day challenge and I have some more to share with you in the future, so tell me
Do you like 28 (or maybe 30) day challenges? What have you tried out? Did you bin it or schedule it after the trial period? Share in the comments below.
Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.