You might think that for a yoga teacher and addict, practicing every day would be a cinch. But if I’m really honest with myself, I fell prey to holiday laziness.
You have to be super motivated to practice yoga every day when you don’t have a studio or community that offers convenient class times at all hours of the day. I used to have that and it made going to yoga easy. I got to see my friends, had a plethora of teachers and styles to choose from, etc. Although I have a studio where I live now, there are only a few classes a day (some of which I teach) and 4 other teachers beside myself. That leaves me with few options – but options nonetheless! When I couldn’t make the class times at the studio, I relied on Yogaglo for online yoga classes. (Feel free to use my free videos to help you with this week’s challenge too!)
So how did it feel to practice yoga every day? The short answer is great, but there’s a few buts.
The First Five Days
The first day, I practiced a more intense style because I needed it. It kicked my butt. I felt great after the class, but despite the fact that I practiced for a full 60 minutes right when I woke up, the effects wore off by the end of the day and I found myself in a bad mood. It got me thinking about the effectiveness of a full hour-long practice opposed to shorter practices throughout the day; however, I know that if I’m doing a yoga class at home, I need to do it in the morning or my willpower will break down and I won’t do anything at all.
On the second day, I chose another challenging 60-minute practice – because I needed it. But the class felt long and I had stuff to do, so I started to question whether a 60-minute practice in the morning was what I really need to start my day. Plus, there’s the whole exercise vs. relaxation debate. I practice yoga as my sole form of exercise most of the time, which is why I choose intense practices. I’ve found that viewing yoga as a form of exercise is convenient, but not always what I need. By looking at yoga as my sole form of exercise, it excludes me from benefitting from slower styles unless I want to take separate classes and do two-a-days (which I did do). There is no problem with two-a-days, except who has time for that?
What became clear was that it’s important to pay attention to you body and understand what you need when you sit down on your mat. Are you feeling strong and ready to go, or do you need something a little more relaxing to cool you down and mellow you out? If you’re in tune with your body, you’ll be better able to choose an appropriate practice for you in the moment.
With that thought stuck in the back of my head, I chose shorter, but equally challenging, practices the rest of the week. Sometimes, I would wake up and really not want to practice, just like sometimes you wake up and really not want to go to work. I forced myself to do it though and ALWAYS felt better, more awake and ready for my day afterward.
On day five, I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up feeling like a drag but turned around 180 once I stepped on my mat. My body immediately connected to the strength a yoga practice instills. Getting in touch with your body first thing in the morning helps you make more healthful choices the rest of the day.
The weekend rolled around and challenged my willpower once again. I chose studio classes so that I didn’t have to worry about forcing myself to sit down in front of the computer. It’s always ironic to rush to or from yoga class, but I found myself in this situation on Saturday. It seems to be the antithesis of what you are trying to accomplish, and yet sometimes you really want to fit a class into a busy day and you can’t help but rush a little. At the very least, the yoga hopefully helps you feel less of that rushed, panic feeling that you get when you know you’re going to be late. And during class, you try your best to not think about where you need to be or how you’re going to make it there on time. The practice becomes that brief reprieve from worries you are actually causing yourself. But so is life. We get ourselves into situations that stress us out, so we might as well know how to manage.
On Sunday, I chose an afternoon class with a new teacher. I love experimenting with new teachers because they always teach me something new. This teacher also happened to be a friend. Unfortunately, the class was awful. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault, rather my own expectations going into it. Sometimes, yoga can be exactly what you don’t want it to be, in which case you have the perfect opportunity in front of you to examine what it is you want and how you choose to react. I was geared up and ready for a workout and what I got was what felt like the slowest class I’ve ever taken. When you go to a class titled Sunday Afternoon Yoga at a studio that offers a variety of styles, with a teacher you’ve never taken, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. I didn’t want to relax. I wanted to move. But maybe I was supposed to relax. Nevertheless, I did my best to stay in my body and breath. At the end of class, I felt as if the slate had been wiped clean from the morning and my day was starting anew without the grogginess and that early morning sleep-deprived sense of confusion. It felt good. It just wasn’t my thing. I still got something out of it. And, I had two big attitude adjustments within an hour and a half after the class. When my boyfriend texted me to let me know I needed to finish a project I had asked him to set up for me, I started texting back a snarky response. But I stopped myself before hitting send, reminded myself it wouldn’t do any good and expressed gratitude for all the work he had done for me already and told him I loved him instead. When I got home from the grocery store and my canvas bag of vegetables split open, rolling in every which way, I picked them up without a huff. No drama. No anger. No frustration. Win!
How It Changed My Week
Overall, my week was great! I was the most productive I’ve been in a long time, my creativity was flowing, energy was standard and my overall wellbeing got an A+.
Throughout the week my practices helped me get out of that place of feeling blah and into a place of feeling great. I felt motivated to get things done and was better able to open my mind to creativity, experiencing new urges to make stuff, like homemade jewelry, and to get out my guitar again and start practicing.
Moving forward, I’m going to continue to examine my relationship to yoga as a workout, most likely practicing 3x a week for strength and cardio and the rest of the week for relaxation, stretching and stress-relief.
Oh, and I caught myself doing nothing over the weekend! It was subconscious at first, but then became an active decision. I was so proud of myself. This stuff really does work.
Next up: Drink more water.
Can you commit to practicing yoga every day this week? Even if it’s just five minutes a day it’s a great start! Feel free to use my videos to help you get started on your yoga path.