In a rare fit of consistency, I decided to practice yoga every day for a month. I am not a yogini, but an average, works-out-a-few-times-a-week kind of woman. I told myself that I would commit to just 15 minutes a day, nothing crazy. In the process, I started to feel better physically (less tension in my neck and shoulders, no more back twinges) and I learned some new things about what I could accomplish.
- I can make a new habit. Doing yoga every day taught me that if I can do this every day, then I can do other things every day too (like write, read to my kids, make sure the dishes are done before bedtime). It gave me confidence that I can build other little habits into my routine. My drive toward self-improvement sometimes gets out of control, but keeping my expectations modest actually boosted me up rather than left me feeling hopeless, like I did in the past when I’d get overwhelmed trying for things that were big, long-term commitments (writing a book, running for a half hour straight) without breaking them down into manageable chunks.
- I can be realistic. Last January, I tried to do yoga every day, but I made grandiose plans. I was going to build up to an hour a day and I was going to be doing the advanced classes and be able to master every pose in the yoga app I was using. This time around, I didn’t make any promises about what I’d accomplish from doing yoga, just that I’d do it. Better done than perfect, I say. We are always taught to focus on our desired outcome, but sometimes the goal is so far off that it can feel overwhelming. If I keep this up, maybe I will get to advanced-level yoga, but even if I don’t, I’m still reaping the benefits of daily practice. The rest would just be cool party tricks anyway.
- I can follow a schedule, but I don’t have to be rigid about it. Generally, I go through a cycle of classes: strength, relaxation, combination, flexibility, repeat. But sometimes I feel really tired and crummy, and I give myself permission to do the easiest routine (the relaxation one, of course!). Because I’m a teacher, most of my day is pretty much set into blocks of time, and that regimentation carries into my home life as well. But I learned with my commitment to 15 minutes a day of yoga that sometimes I’d have to do it in the morning, sometimes at night, and sometimes I’d have to skip something else that day so that I could still have time for the yoga.
Some days yoga has been life-changing, and others, it’s just another thing to cross off on my to-do list, but no matter what, I’m feeling better.
If you are interested, the app I use (for the iPad) is called Yoga Studio.
The picture is me in lizard pose, and by the way, doing yoga does not look as sexy as it feels.
Please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, about a divorced mom making tough choices.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks |
Kobo Books | BAM | IndieBound | Powell’s
5 thoughts on “What a month of yoga did for a regular person…”
I love, love, love this. It’s all about baby steps and taking imperfect action. It’s better to do a little of something than not doing it at all. I love what you said about setting realistic goals. Doing 15 minutes of sometimes “imperfect” yoga is better than beating yourself up for not being able to to do 90 minutes a few times a week. You’ve inspired me to get out my mat!
And p.s. I love your book.
Thanks, Cathy! Yoga feels so good, physically and mentally. Definitely get that mat out!
I read this on Huffpost Health or some such site…and the comments below it were so ignorant. I wanted to post a comment but for some reason I have to sign my Facebook account away in order to do so…anyway, I digress. Good for you! I have practiced yoga off and on for several years. I found a particular yoga instructor on DVD who I really like and who I basically learned from (Yoga For Dummies). Your article about doing a short workout and the benefits you experienced is excellent. Yoga is beneficial, regardless of how long or how many poses you accomplish. If you do it regularly and work at becoming stronger (simply by doing it!) you will find your body (and mind) is energized and aches and pains slowly fade away. Some days I feel like my body is humming and I feel so much younger. I am 60, and can tell you I have joint and muscle issues, but whenever I get back into a regular practice of yoga (4-5 days a week), my body feels strong and I feel more alive! I always wonder why I fall away from it and then have to make myself get back into it, but I ALWAYS am happy when I begin again. I may try that app you recommended. The instructor I talked of that I like is Sarah Ivanhoe. She is really great, and emphasizes not pushing oneself, but to do what is comfortable. Great advice!
Thank you very much for your comment and sharing your yoga experience, Lavender Greay. Just a few minutes a day of yoga makes a big difference in my sense of well-being, flexibility, and feeling of accomplishment. I can’t dedicate an hour a day to “do it right,” but I am very proud of that 15 minutes. Best wishes in your practice!
[…] schrijfster Grete DeAngelo besloot op een dag om een maand lang elke dag yoga te beoefenen. Ze was geen yoga professional, […]