I Did Yoga Every Day For 30 Days And Loved It
The Benefits Of Daily Yoga Practice
I really enjoy yoga, but I have always been very sporadic with my yoga practice. For a long time I have wanted to incorporate yoga more into my life, to make it part of every day.
So when I saw Adriene was doing a 30 day challenge in January, I jumped at the chance to start the new year with a daily yoga practice.
I won’t give you a day by day breakdown of the programme. Instead, I want to highlight the physical and mental benefits of my daily yoga practice.
And one unexpected benefit, too.
After Two Days of Yoga
The challenge began on the second of January which was better than the first since I was rather hangover on New Year’s Day.
But on the second I woke up fresh and ready to get on the mat. And the same happened on the third.
I know it has only been two days, but I'm proud of myself. I have begun my yoga journey.
Physically I don’t feel any different, but then I didn’t really expect to just after two days. My wrists got a little achy when holding in the downward-facing dog, but otherwise the early sessions were reasonably easy.
Thank you, Adriene, for thinking of the non-regular yogis and giving us a soft start.
After One Week
When I turned up on the mat on day seven, I felt so proud I wanted to high five myself. I had completed my first full week of daily yoga lessons.
When Monday and lesson three arrived, I worried whether I’d make it to the mat since Monday meant returning to work after two-and-a-half weeks off for Christmas.
I was starting at a new school and in lockdown, so thought of work preoccupied my mind.
I was exhausted when I got home from work. New school and online teaching were a lot to take in. And it probably didn’t help that I walked to school and back - a round trip of nearly 15 kilometres. All I wanted to do was to curl up on the sofa and chill.
But I rolled out the yoga mat because I knew that if I skipped today, it would be too easy to skip again and again.
Turning up on the mat on that day was the best thing I could have done. It gave me a welcome distraction from thinking about work. It was a perfect moment of calm amidst the lockdown madness.
After that, the rest of the week was easy. And always a pleasure.
Yoga time has become me time. Time when I can switch everything else off: work, lockdown, constant rises in virus numbers, money worries, the lot.
After the first week, I have noticed physical changes. My wrists don’t hurt anymore in down dog, and I can hold plank position a little longer.
I feel more flexible, and the sessions have helped to ease the joint pains I have experienced since my cancer treatments (I had chemo and radiotherapy to treat womb cancer).
There's also a difference, albeit small, to my weight and waist size. So far I have lost 1,8cm around my waist and I was a kilogram lighter on the scales. Happy days.
I feel positive and rearing to continue with week two.
Day 15 - Halfway Point
Yay, I have made it halfway without skipping or missing a day. At the start of the month, I made a commitment to turn up on that yoga mat every day and I have done it.
There have been a couple of days (like when I got home from work having got soaked to the bone on my bike) when I almost skipped a day. But I didn’t because I knew I would feel better after my time on the mat. And most days I really look forward to my yoga time.
It helps that many of the sessions are under 30 minutes. Especially on work days when you have less spare time. Sometimes, on my days off, I have done a double session, especially if I have spent a long time writing on the laptop.
After fifteen days I feel a lot more flexible and I’m even growing to like the one-legged pigeon pose which I used to hate. The extended version, not the one where you grab one leg and bent backwards. I’m still working towards that.
I have lost little more weight, about 1/2 kilogram, and I have lost another 1.2cm from the waist. Any weight or centimetres lost, is a bonus. I didn’t embark on the challenge for those reasons, but to build a daily practice with long term mental and physical benefits.
The End Is A New Beginning
I have reached the end of my yoga journey, and I have loved it. I’m so proud of myself for getting through the whole programme without skipping a single.
I feel quite sad the 30 days are over, but my plan is to jump straight on to another 30 day yoga journey. Luckily, Adriene has lots of them available on YouTube.
There have definitely been physical benefits to sticking with the daily yoga.
I’m more flexible and have built strength in arms, legs and core. I have lost 4cm of my waist and close to 3kg. Going dry for January probably helped with the weight loss, too.
But more than the physical benefits, I was looking forward to mental benefits.
I feel more grounded after a month of daily yoga, and I also feel more dedicated. Not just to yoga, but in other areas of life, too, especially to my writing.
I feel that I have grown and proved to myself that I have the determination to complete demanding journeys. Both on the mat and off the mat.
It has given me the confidence to go for RED (run every day) in February.
There has also been one accidental benefit. At the beginning of the journey, I decided to write a haiku for each day of yoga. I now have written 30 haikus, and I’d like to share the final one with you.
What is an ending
If not the start of something
New and amazing