I've been practicing yoga for a few years. It began as a way to exercise and strengthen my core. After about 6 months, I started to notice that a powerful change in my mental and emotional health.
As 2020 came to a close I found myself being so busy that yoga was taking a back seat. So when I decided to create different wellness challenges for myself in 2021, restarting a daily practice seemed perfect for Challenge #1.
I choose to do yoga at home, either following different YouTube videos or simply doing my own routines. My favorite online yogis are Yoga with Adriene and The Journey Junkie. (I recommend YWA for those who are more interested in the physical aspect of yoga, while JJ tends to have more spiritual elements. I love the spirituality, but if you are a beginner start simply and then go deeper once you feel more comfortable)
YWA always begins the year with a 30-Day Yoga series, so I decided to follow along. This year's series is called "Breath" and I have really enjoyed it. It's a great mix of physical toning and core strength, combined with mindful meditation.
Very quickly I started recognizing some of those old toxic habits I had been letting take over- Habits like not living in the moment, allowing anxiety to consume me, and being overly self-critical. One example became clear to me during a session on January 6th.
That week was frustrating for me. I had a Covid exposure and had to cancel out the last half of my week. Along with that, I was also worried about my parents who both tested positive. (They're fine!) That was also the day of the Capitol riots, which was scary to witness. As I practiced that evening, I realized how in just the first week of my challenge I was already allowing myself to lose focus. This was especially apparent when it came to my feelings about having to close. I found myself being angry about it, and thinking more about what I was losing financially rather than focusing on safety and health.
It turned out that those few days were filled much-needed grounding and re-centering. Yoga is all about learning who you are, where you want to go, and how to get there in a healthy way that honors yourself. That has been a common theme in my life lately. I know who I am, I know where I want to go in life, and I like figuring out how to get there. Yoga helps me work on the "in a healthy way that honors myself" aspect.
January 27th is my birthday. I turned 31 this year and I feel really good about it. Daily yoga has allowed time to reflect on myself every day, and I recognize that though I feel accomplished in my life I have much more ahead of me than behind me. Most of the people I know seem to dread their birthdays once they get into their 30s, and I actually had several people ask me if I feel old! My response was.... absolutely not. Many of my 30-something friends and family lack energy. It's not a coincidence that they are the same ones who say they feel old. Regular yoga not only helps ease those aches and pains of aging, but it also helps increase endurance and energy, which ultimately makes one feel much more youthful.
So did I achieve my goal for January? Yes. Did I practice yoga every single day? Nope. I confess that I did miss a few days. But that is all part of the journey. I ended up seeing a difference in myself, physically and mentally. And that was the goal.
Did you commit to the January Wellness Challenge? If you did, let me know how you feel!
I hope you will join me for my February Challenge- No Social Media!