If I’m completely honest, I’ve never fully ‘got’ yoga. In fact, I can’t quite believe I’m sat here writing a blog post about my ‘30 day yoga journey’, because quite frankly how can stretching and breathing make you realise and strengthen your spiritual core…? What is a ‘spiritual core’? What’s the language yogis speak in? Why do people breathe so loudly when they move? (This is the ‘pre-30-day-yoga-journey-me’ talking).
I’ve dabbled in yoga before having done a few morning classes in London, rooftop yoga at the Sky Gardens and sunrise yoga when I’ve been on holiday – it’s nice to have a bit of a stretch, get a good gram of a yoga mat, and gives you an excuse for brunch afterwards, right? I’ve always LOVED the idea of being a regular yoga-goer, but it’s always felt a bit forced.
Anyways, I’ve now done 30 days of consecutive yoga, and I’m really starting to understand what the hype is about…
On day 2 or 3 of working from home, I quickly realised I needed something other than my usual routine to keep me going. I feel like I decided to embark on a yoga journey before it became THE thing to do whilst in lockdown, but the more the merrier I say! At this point I was still in my flat in London and I woke up in good time pre-work, to do my first day of yoga with Adriene (everyone knows Adriene so I’m going to use first name terms – if you don’t click here). We started with her standard ’30 Days of Yoga’ series on YouTube and having decided to do it with mumma, I facetimed home in Yorkshire so we could do it together (virtually).
At first (and when I’ve previously done yoga) I found downward dog pretty damn awful and this was supposed to be a resting pose…! I can’t touch my toes, I have a damaged lower back from a trampoline accident when I was about 8, and I’m not very in ‘sync’ with my breath. I thought it was going to be a disaster.
With that said, the one thing I’ve enjoyed from the onset of ‘30 Days of Yoga’ was the regularity and discipline of doing it every single day. It gave my mum and I a sense of togetherness which felt and still feels really special, especially as it feels like I am quite far from home right now in lockdown.
I must admit, having now completed my 30 day yoga journey (and now starting a new series) I really have a new found love for the practice. Adriene’s series, not only takes you step by step through all postures but gives you the opportunity to test yourself and actually appreciate what your body can do. Some days focus on core, others on balance – but overall it’s a perfect introduction to yoga as a regular discipline no matter what level you are.
It covers the classics (i.e. tree pose, warrior 1 and 2, mountain pose, downward dog and pigeon), but it also teaches you the flow and stretching techniques to weave everything together, giving you time to go freestyle or push poses to the limits. Never in a million years would I have thought I could do 30 minutes of solo yoga without following an instructor – but on day 30 I found the moves from somewhere and the time whizzed by!
Some days you really do work up a sweat, and others are more meditative (mumma prefers those ones!) It really is a great all-round series with every day bringing something new, meaning it doesn’t get boring and you never quite know what’s coming next.
The last few days of the journey, I felt a real sense of achievement that I’d brought myself to my mat every day for 30 days, given myself ‘me’ time to practice and I did feel strangely emotional – but let’s not get all soppy. This was a journey for me, and a journey that whilst it started as a purely physical one, ended up being largely mental.
I definitely feel more flexible (I still struggle to touch my toes with straight legs), I can now breath in time with my movements and I have an appreciation for what my body needs. However, more than that, my 30 day yoga journey has allowed me to take a step back from my day, giving me space and time to clear my mind and feel truly zen.
Thinking back to my hectic London life it genuinely scares me how fast pace it is – from commuting into work, rushing in and out of meetings, squeezing in a gym session, seeing friends, checking emails before bed, popping to the shops. I now can realise how much my mind and body needs a timeout and how much I’ve enjoyed practicing yoga. ‘Stillness’ is also something that I don’t often incorporate into my daily routine as I get restless, but now I understand how valuable it is amongst the madness of life, to find ‘calm’ and ‘peace’.
Everyone’s perception of yoga will be different and I’m sure everyone will feel different things when they practice to varying levels of ‘spirtualness’. I think the pretty cool thing about it is that there’s no real right or wrong in yoga and you are allowed to think what you want – it’s what you make of it, and it’s what it means to you that’s important. So, whilst I still may not ‘get’ what yoga is in a traditional sense, I now ‘get’ what it means to me, and understand what it can give me – it’s been quite powerful!
With the world in turmoil, I’ll admit I’ve had up and down days – but despite how I’m feeling I have rolled out my mat and tuned in to Adriene, allowing me to either forget all my worries, rid any negativity or even to celebrate and appreciate life. It’s allowed me to find a real sense of positivity from within and no matter how I’m feeling. I’ve dedicated my practice to numerous different people over the last 30 days, but I’ve also wholly embraced having time to myself. I truly would recommend starting a yoga series if you haven’t before with the one key caveat – be open! Don’t think you’re going to finish the 30 days with a totally new mindset (you might!), or a new purpose in life (you might!), but allow yourself to enjoy it, appreciate it and feel it, and then you will find the spark that works for you.
The big question now is whether my ‘normal’ life will allow me to continue my yoga practice? Will I allow myself 30 minutes a day, or every other day to pause and reflect? 30 minutes doesn’t sound very long but I already know how hard it will be…
Got any tips or advice? Want to share how you’ve incorporated yoga into your life? Or want to ask a question about my 30 days of yoga? Comment below!