On Tuesday 5th January I started my Yoga with Adriene 30 Day Yoga journey. It was a bit of a whim actually, not something I specifically planned on doing but I did want to start exercising again and had this simultaneous idea of starting yoga. I’ve tried in the past but I’ve never kept it up because it always feels quite aimless, I need a tangible goal and a purpose beyond getting stronger and more flexible. A 30 day program was the perfect solution and once I started I never looked back. It was incredibly challenging at times, and there were certainly days that I just wasn’t in the mood but I sat down on my mat everyday since I started and did at least 20 minutes of yoga a day. Keep reading for my experience of 30 days of yoga and make sure you read until the end for my beginner tips.
I started the 30 days of yoga series on Tuesday 5th January so I was actually a few days behind the program (which started on the 2nd). I was tentative and almost certain that I wouldn’t be able to do enough but even in the first week I surprised myself with how much I was able to do. Adriene immediately made me feel comfortable even through a pre-recorded practice. She’s always offering variations and makes it clear that the final poses are not a day 1 guarantee. A great introduction to my yoga education.
As I mentioned above part of the reason I started yoga was because I wanted to exercise again but I knew I needed to start slowly so I didn’t burn myself out. Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Journeys always include a few slower days focused on stretching and calming, kind of like palette cleansers. However I wanted to make sure I got some proper movement in everyday so on these slower practice days I would do two days in one sitting one after the other. That meant that even though I started a little behind I caught up and finished on the final day (31st January) which doesn’t really make a difference but was quite nice and satisfying! Despite my trepidation I still found myself getting something out of these slow practices, sometimes after a day working from home I needed 20 minutes of stretching and stillness.
This week was a bit of a rollercoaster, it was a very lockdowny week for me so I really appreciated the 20 minutes a day I took to just be calm. This was also the week that I really started to follow the practices and there was a noticeable jumper in the amount of poses I recognised by name rather than description.
That definitely doesn’t mean that I could do all of it, but oddly I still get something out of the moves I can’t do because it just makes me laugh! Looking up to see Adriene in perfect stillness balancing all of her weight on one leg, the other leg high in the air and perfectly straight, with her hands wrapped around her ankles is absolute insanity to me.
The final week was when I realised this wasn’t just something I wanted to continue but something I would continue. I was already up and doing most of the beginner poses without modification so I began to try and perfect these positions even if it made me less stable. I know I sound a bit like I’ve joined a cult but I started to trust that I was going to be okay even if I wasn’t perfect.
I also noticed how certain poses became easier. My twists felt more natural and my hamstrings felt slightly less strained when I was in downward facing dog (a pose that I’m sure is relaxing for some but a struggle for me!). My big achievement was that I managed to hold crow pose for a few seconds without momentum holding me up, it felt good and made me want to see what else I can manage.
Its been a week since I finished the 30 Day Yoga course and I am currently 7 days into the course from 2020, I’ve even managed to rope my parents into a few! I’m still really enjoying it and want it to be something I do everyday no matter my plans. I think I’ll carry on with the 30 Day courses as my guide and maybe try and mix in some more ‘work out’ yoga and some more advance balancing eventually. I’m sure that is a long way off but it’s exciting to think about!
Yoga has also seeped into my life off the mat. I found myself hearing Adriene’s “ground through all corners of the feet” when balancing on one foot putting on my socks and “heart over pelvis, head over heart” when sat at my desk. Regular practice has helped my posture and made me feel less sluggish particularly on those days when I haven’t left the house (which happens more often than I would like with the shorter days and working from home). Overall I’m incredibly happy that I tried this out and want it to be a change I’ve made that continues throughout the year.
Beginner tips from a beginner
Get a proper mat – as a reward for finishing all 30 days I got a new mat as my current one was bunching up during practice, this is the one I’ve got and it’s brilliant (apart from the unfortunate name!).
Laugh at the weird things – the spiritual concept of yoga is the last reason I’m interested in it, so when Adriene tells me to ‘feel the fire inside’ I laugh it off – smiling also makes you feel more relaxed which really helps!
Laugh at the things you can’t do – similar concept, instead of getting annoyed and thinking that you’re not good enough because you can’t fold perfectly in half laugh at the fact that other people can. Expecting to do it all is a recipe for disaster and you are much better doing a modified version and building up than falling all over the place trying to sprint from a standing start!
Be proud of the things you can do – I don’t care what anyone says, yoga is hard. Anything that you manage to do that looks remotely similar to an instructor is an achievement and remembering that is so helpful.
I hope this post was helpful if you are thinking of starting yoga, I would encourage everyone to do it! Be sure to subscribe if you liked this and follow me on Instagram – no yoga content on there yet but you best believe if I start balancing on my head there’s going to be pictures to document it!