Day 1: Monday 3/26
Day one of my 4-month Becoming a Yogi personal challenge. Typically this would be a scary thought for me when I have SO far to go to reach my goals, but this is actually a challenge I’m looking forward to.
I’m still waiting on my equipment which I’m really anxious for because lord knows I need the extra help. So, the wheel is in which I love, but I’m still waiting on my mat (which I spent a ton of time and energy on choosing and ended up with a different one than I had originally thought. I’m hoping it’s a good choice because I typically have no grip with my hands), my strap (coming in Wed) and my blocks (by next week).
Head over here if you haven’t read about the challenge yet and to see what eco-friendly equipment I found!)
My “before” pictures will be coming soon! Most of the poses I’ll need my accessories for so they may not be up until next week.
Here’s what I did:
- Sequence to Down Dog // this consisted of 9 stretches/poses that took a little over 20 minutes to really get a good downward dog. Ultimately, I was only able to hold down dog for about 1 minute 30 seconds. The goal of the sequence is to hold the pose for 3 minutes but I found it to be challenging with my weak arms and all the blood rushing to my head — to the yogi’s out there, how do you handle that?
- Sun Salutation // I actually love this sequence. I learned it in my yoga class in college and always really enjoyed it. Maybe because it’s the only sequence I can remember? Either way, she’s a keeper. I had the intention of holding each pose for 30 seconds to a minute but this is supposed to be pretty fluid so after the first few poses I canceled my timer and just held the poses as long as I could.
- Sequence to splits // this was, so brutal. I think I have the tightest hamstrings in the whole world. There’s no way I would have made it through this sequence without my makeshift blocks (two small boxes I found) and a makeshift strap (a cargo tie to an old shirt). This was a sequence of 8 stretches/poses that took me about 10 minutes and by the end of it, my legs were so stretched out and my arm too tired to even attempt a split.
Here is what I’m learning to change to take my practice to the next level:
- I planned out exactly what I was going to do before I got on my mat so I didn’t have to think about what to do next.
- I’m embracing warm-ups. I just assumed you jump right into each pose, not knowing why I never really progressed. This is a game changer. I’m sure there will come to a point when I’m flexible enough to not have to do a sequence for Down Dog but for now, this is definitely helping my practice.
- I’m using a timer. Before, I’d hold my poses as long as I could then quickly got out of them as my muscles began to ache. Now, I’m timing each pose with my phone so that I can focus on my form and breathing instead of how long I should be holding it.
Overall, today was a success. I wasn’t good at any of the poses by any means, but I showed up and took my practice seriously. Tomorrow will either be brutal (because I’ll be sore) or maybe better because I’ll be stretched out? Either way, I’m not giving up this time!
Day 2 Tuesday 3/27
Ok. Today was straight up ugly.
I’m so tired, every muscle in my arms and legs are lazy and sore and I would have much rather sat on the couch or talked myself into prioritizing something else.
I just keep reminding myself, I am ready for this change, no matter how hard or ugly.
In terms of how I feel after yesterday’s workout, today is no different than any other workout in terms of the “next day” pain you’d feel from doing squats.
So, after seriously whining to myself (in my head) about how much I don’t want to practice today, here’s what I managed to pull off:
- 6 pose hip opener sequence that took about 15 minutes – again. This was way more difficult than anticipated. Not necessarily the moves, but the lack of muscle strength to hold myself up in so many squat positions.
- Yesterday’s sequence to splits that takes about 10 minutes – again, this was tougher than yesterday as my muscles are tired and sore so I wasn’t quite able to hold the poses as long as I’d wanted.
My biggest struggles today were:
- The obvious muscle soreness
- Didn’t get much sleep last night
- I have no clue how to breathe through the poses, or maybe was just too tired and whiny to figure it out
- Mentally, I wasn’t there
There were a few positives:
- I felt more grounded to my mat in a few poses, specifically Pyramid Pose and Half Lotus.
- I also felt an improvement in Pyramid pose and Bound Forward Fold.
Otherwise, I’m not joking in saying it was ugly af but, again, I showed up.
Day 3 Wednesday 3/28
Today was a bit better than yesterday. My body was actually excited to get stretched out but I was still pretty frustrated with my lack of strength and the serious tightness in my hamstrings. I cannot imagine what I would have done if it weren’t for my accessories/makeshift strap and blocks. By the way, my real strap just came in today and it’s making all the difference. As with anything new, it’s taking a bit of getting used to.
I also noticed today that grabbing my blocks (which are small cardboard boxes until my real yoga blocks come in) and my wheel was much more natural. I was able to figure out which tool to use when I needed assistance and how to use it.
Here’s what I did today:
- Split sequence (one of my biggest goals is to accomplish the splits, so I’ll likely be doing this one most days)
- 13 pose destress sequence
HELPFUL TIP: If you’re looking for already put together sequences, Pinterest is a gem of a place to start. It’s seriously as easy as typing in Yoga Sequences and finding what resonates with what your body needs that day. It’s MUCH less intimidating than trying to put together your own poses when you’re not too familiar with what’s out there and what it does.
In total I was on my mat for about 45 minutes today. I was feeling a bit lazy so I was all about that Child’s Pose… in fact, gimme that Child’s pose all day everyday!
Day 4 Thursday 3/29
All I could squeeze out of me today was my split sequence. I keep hoping today will be the day it gets easier and doesn’t hurt so much to stretch… but, today was definitely not that day.
On a side note, I am a person that expects fast results and maybe even look for the easy way with everything I do.
But, the reality is, this is definitely not a fast change and I’m trying to remind myself that it wouldn’t be worth it if the struggle and journey weren’t difficult… right?
I was so tired today, and in a bit of a funk for most of the day, and can’t say doing anything physically strenuous sounded exciting, but I may or may not have grabbed myself a glass of whiskey and committed to at least 20 minutes.
And, that’s good enough for today.
Day 5 Friday 3/30
Because yesterday was a super light day, today was about really pushing myself.
I started with 15 squats to warm up my legs followed by 3 sequences:
- Yoga Sequence to Splits by @ericatenggarayoga
- Sun Salutation x 2
- Core Strength Yoga Sequence by ekhartyoga.com
I don’t know if I’m just being impatient… but my split sequence was not very enjoyable. Every pose hurt and I was discouraged that I didn’t feel an improvement.
Furthermore, I couldn’t get my mind right. I was so distracted and not really enjoying any of the moves I was attempting because all I could think about was how tight and painful they were.
I think I expected some sort of revelation. That after this many days of yoga I would no doubt be mentally clear and my body would feel like a million bucks. Instead, I can’t shut my mind up on or off the mat and my body feels just as achy and tired as before.
Instead of going with my original plan of doing 4 stretching sequences I decided I needed to do a real sequence of poses. I opted for my go-to Sun Salutation and then found a fun Core Strength sequence that I enjoyed way more.
- Wondering if this will ever actually be enjoyable
- Getting my mind to settle down
- Having to look at the computer screen for the sequences is anything but relaxing and creates for a very choppy flow
- Everything. Fricken. Hurt. I feel like I’ve never stretched my hamstrings a day in my life.
Just like yesterday, it wasn’t pretty, but at least I tried.
I’m constantly having to bring myself back to reality… today is only day 5... of course I’m not going to be a master yogi yet.
Day 6 Saturday 3/31
Today was a 25 minute yoga session before bed.
I actually didn’t think the weekend would be tougher to get on the map but this weekend was pretty busy and so I didn’t quite get the workout on the mat that I’d wanted.
Let’s also not forget to mention that Oberon came out this weekend soo… there may have been a couple of those involved throughout the day that were prioritized over my mat…
But, I did manage to get in a relaxing sleep sequence and my split sequence.
Day 7 Sunday 4/1
Today I didn’t make it on the mat.
With it being Easter, I didn’t get up early enough to get a sequence done in the early am and the rest of the day was jam-packed and we didn’t get home until later in the night.
Week 1 recap:
I definitely feel like I am getting more comfortable with my equipment. I find myself more naturally reaching for my blocks and straps and am able to figure out how to use them.
I don’t feel as flexible as I wish I were by now, but I have noticed a slight improvement.
Visually, I haven’t noticed much change in my body. Maybe a bit more definition in my arms but that’s about it.
I’m anxious to see what week 2 brings. Hopefully more noticeable improvement.