Practicing healthy habits year round is key; keep reading for a FREE Habit Forming Template to kick-start your stress free lifestyle!
Are you a yoga junkie? Have you practiced before at home or in a studio? Why did you start?
These are the questions I think about when talking yoga with others. Yoga is one of those “trends” that became so mainstream over the past few years, but has been such a building block for many because of their culture or lifestyles. It’s relatively affordable, easy to take with no matter where you are, and incredibly beneficial for mind, body, and spirit. Everyone I knew was a yogi and they looked fab doing it. I wanted in. Okay, I’ll admit, I wanted to start doing yoga so I could do a cool headstand pose to post on Instagram ( what…you were thinking it too! ) instead of finding the true spiritual or mind-body connection, but I had to start somewhere.
I belonged to a gym at the time that offered yoga classes a few times a week, so decided to try it one Saturday morning when I was feeling especially lost. Hello, quarter life crisis! I walked into the studio, determined to fake it until I made it, and rolled out my mat near the back middle of the room. The teacher was very welcoming and soon I was in sukhasana trying to breathe my way to peace. Fifty minutes later, after a pretty serious Vinyasa flow, I was equal parts exhausted, confused, energized, and craving more. I continued practicing 1-2 times per week at the same studio and eventually tried a few different types of yoga including Bikram, Kundalini, and Restorative practices.
This continued for a few years, but it was hard for me to fully commit and practice multiple times a week allowing me to become stagnant in my growth and strength. I still felt rushed, and although I was learning, I couldn’t do a HIIT workout class and yoga every day. Time just wasn’t on my side. I stopped practicing for a few months and figured my yoga journey was over. No headstand poses for me. Fast forward to discovering 30 Days of Yoga via Yoga with Adriene, and I think I have finally found what works for me!
I did 30 days of Yoga and here’s what I learned:
1) Listen to your body
Yoga isn’t exercise. It’s way more than that! But it also doesn’t have to be the same intensity each time. Read more about cyclical exercising here. Some day you may feel great and ready to go, others you may feel sore or tired. Listening to those urges are usually spot on and can help enjoy your practice to get the absolute most out of it.
2) Do what feels good
Whether it is in a studio or at home, if the teacher suggests a pose that isn’t working for you, modify it to accommodate what your body is telling you (see above). This does not mean allowing yourself a free pass just to do something you think is too hard or that you don’t want to do, but explore and make adjustments that help honor what your body is craving.
3) Make time for you
Self care is not just important, it’s essential. Read more about that here. I realized that there are very few things I do every single day for my own mental and physical health. Yes I work out and try to eat relatively clean, but that almost seems like a given at this point. I wasn’t allowing myself any sort of outlet to connect with my mind, body, and soul to foster joy within my life. It was not only affecting me, but those around me too. If yoga isn’t your thing, try meditation or simply breathing for 10 minutes while trying to avoid all other outside forces.
4) Failure is okay
So you fell during crow pose, or missed one of the days and had to double up on another…life isn’t perfect, you’re not perfect, and that’s perfectly okay. I promise. This one is probably still the most difficult for me to accept, however is one I am learning to embrace and practice in both yoga and life. This concept can be summed up in one of my all time favorite quotes: “What if I fall? Oh, my darling, what if you fly?”
5) Balance and focus
Two essential factors to succeed. When you first begin yoga, it’s impossible to not be focused on losing your balance, but it’s when you find your flow that you can truly begin to balance the yin and yang, the push and pull, of a truly customized practice that is uniquely your own.
Above you will find a time-lapse video of one of my first at home yoga sessions. It’s fun to see how much I’ve grown in even a few months. It’s also fun to see how my dog, Emma, is really the yogi master when it comes to downward dog.
I wanted to really hold myself accountable for the 30 days, and beyond, so I created a Habit Forming Template to make sure I was really focusing on those things that served me. For a FREE editable version, click here, enter your email, and you will receive a password to download.Enjoy, gorgeous!
How have you found your zen? What helps you remain balanced in this crazy thing we call life?