What a month of yoga did for a regular person…

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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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

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What is your word of the year?

I’m one of those people who gets all fired up with New Year’s resolutions, some of which I’ve kept and some of which I haven’t. My birthday falls between Christmas and New Year’s, which is another impetus to get me reflecting on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.

In 2013, I had a “theme” for the year, and that was “Put yourself out there.” For a reserved person like me, this was a big deal. It meant all the times I wanted to say no to opportunities, I said yes instead. And what a big difference it made in my work life and my personal relationships.

2014 was kind of a blah year for me. There were many blessings, accomplishments, and good things happening, but there was no overriding message to keep me on track.

This year, I’m trying something new. My friend and personal coach, Cathy Colangelo, suggested I download Christine Kane’s free PDF that shows you how to select a single word to carry you through the year and bring intention to your goals.

The word I chose is “soar.” I know it sounds cheesy if you’re a cynic, but what can it hurt? I chose this word because I realized there are too many times I’ve let fear keep me grounded. This is the year I am going to be brave about achieving my goals rather than hiding in the corner making excuses when the going gets tough.

It took me a few days to come up with my word of the year, and in the process of mulling it over, I’ve already had a few chances to put my word into action when I thought I was getting snaggled in household problems I couldn’t deal with on my own. Instead, I told myself, “I can handle this,” and I did!

Cathy has also inspired me to make vision boards the the past few years. I think the one I made yesterday is my best yet. I wanted to convey women who look confident (and flexible, since continuing the daily practice of yoga is one of my goals), and I wanted to put it right out there that this is the year I finish my second novel.

I’m looking forward to a great, big, shiny new year. What’s your word going to be? Reply below and let me know!

 

Check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, available now.

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Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks |

Kobo Books | BAM | IndieBound | Powell’s