Seeking out and committing to and exercise routine can be surprisingly hard to accomplish. Beginning with a workout challenge is a great way to ease yourself into a routine. The challenge is meant to create measurable results, especially with something a month in duration. If you’re looking for a routine to dive into, I highly recommend trying a yoga challenge, more specifically, something like doing yoga for 30 days. It’s just the right amount of time to commit to something and see real results by the end. Not to mention, it’s a great activity to start at home.
I always found it hard to work out in my home. I consider my home to be a safe place to relax, watch Netflix and have some me-time. Not necessarily a place to break a sweat and “torture” myself. On top of that, I would easily get distracted while doing an at home workout by thinking of other things to get done. “I should be studying for that test”, or “put away those dishes” are just a few things distractions. That’s why I prefer working out in a gym because it separates my “safe space” from my “sweat space” and allows me to concentrate on my workout.
As soon as gyms over the country began to close down, including the one just two floors below me in my building, I really had to hunker down and think of some sort of workout that I could easily do in my 600 square foot apartment. I didn’t want anything too intensive as to avoid bothering my downstairs neighbors, so no jumping or running in place. Lucky me, right?
And that’s where yoga comes in.
Youtube as a Resource
I have always been fascinated with Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube channel. My college roommate and I would occasionally do one of her practices in the middle of our shared living space. Now, with more time, I decided to dive back into her videos, but this time to actually stick with it.
I started her 30 day Home yoga journey, which is quite fitting as most of us stay home in effort to socially distance ourselves during this virus. What a perfect way to utilize this uncertain time!
I’ll be honest and say I did skip some days in between practices. Sometimes I used my ‘cheat day’ to supplement a long walk or do absolutely nothing, and that’s okay! The point is to listen to your body and do what feels right, something Adriene regularly preaches.
Here’s a little breakdown of my 30-day yoga journey & some physical and mental changes I noticed.
Week 1: The first few days were fairly easy. Committed, I spent seven days rolling out my mat in the middle of my small living room and focusing on the video’s. One of the first pleasures of these daily practices was that no one was around for me to feel judged. Everyone has different comfort levels and for me, it was nice to start out in my own, private space where I could learn without feeling self conscious. Once I realized my only competition is myself, my mind began to trust my body and its capabilities. I was really glad to feel some confidence already within the first week.
Week 2: This is when I started noticing the physical changes. My arms and abdomen started to look more toned. I began noticing strength in my legs and more stability when I would do small everyday movements like bending down to pick something off the ground. Despite the many distractions I faced such as loud outside noises (love that city life) or my boyfriend talking on the phone, I began to go into a meditative state at least once during some practices. Before quarantining, I rarely gave myself time to have a mental break like that!
Week 3: At times the videos got more challenging, especially when holding new poses that my body wasn’t used to. Overall, she did a great job changing, keeping certain practices stretched focused and more relaxing. During this middle period, I ended up straining my neck which caused me to skip a few days. Right as I started feeling better, I actually got excited to jump back on the mat! Adriene’s videos are so easy to follow, so after grasping some of the vocabulary, I found myself closing my eyes and following along to her voice, only glancing at the video occasionally.
Week 4: Finally finished! The last video in the series is a little different because Adriene doesn’t talk during the entire practice. Instead, she lets us freestyle and do what feels right in order to create our own practice. Having her as a reference definitely helped overall. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised at how much knowledge I had gained beyond relying on her instructions. This challenge starts with trusting the process and ends with trusting yourself in order to shape your unique experience.
Final Thoughts on 30 days of Yoga
Reflecting on this journey, I noticed more strength in my upper body, back, and abdomen which significantly helped to improve my posture. One of the biggest physical changes was my ability to hold my back up straight while sitting in a cross-legged position. This was something I had been struggling with for many years.
Completing this 30-day yoga challenge is one of the best things I have done, especially during this time of uncertainty. Now, I find myself rolling out the mat every day just out of habit.
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Let me know what you have been doing for exercise during this time in the comments below!