People take up yoga for a whole host of reasons: to improve their health or reduce stress being the two most common. Alex recently decided to begin a yoga practice and has put together a blog post to share her experiences with you.
My reason for taking up yoga was for stress. I know what you’re thinking – how can someone who works in a shop as beautiful as The Olive Tree feel stress? Well, for the most part you’re right, it IS very difficult to feel anxious in the shop. However, I am also a student and a Tarot reader and sometimes I feel as though I’m trying to squeeze three lives into one person. Thus, my decision to take up yoga.
Now, bending – or failing to bend, as the case may be – into pretzels in a hot, damp room full of strangers is NOT my idea of a relaxing time, so I made the decisionto do my yoga practice at home. This is where the Youtube channel Yoga with Adrienne really came in handy! I spent a week working my way through her beginner videos until I finally felt brave enough to take her 30 Days of Yoga challenge.
I had no equipment. I didn’t have the proper clothes. But nonetheless I gave it a go!
The first week was a bit embarrassing: I fell over quite bit and could just about touch my shins with my fingers – toes were completely out of the question. But each day, Adrienne would add newer and more challenging poses whilst repeating the simpler, beginner-friendly moves, which helped me to improve with surprising speed. Now, Adrienne herself took a bit of getting used to: whilst you are balancing precariously on one foot, shaking with the determination to hold a pose, Adrienne’s mind will wander and her mouth will follow. So there you are, muscles straining, while she effortlessly holds the position and chatters blithely about her tiger pants.
This was deeply frustrating.
However, two weeks into the practice, I now find her style (and cheesy jokes) charming and sweet. I really look forward to my morning yoga because it feels like a twenty minute holiday from my day: there’s no time to feel anxious about your To Do List while you’re folding yourself into Pigeon Pose. In fact, I would say that people who struggle to meditate (like me) would really benefit from a mindful yoga practice.
So what are the benefits? Well, my flexibility has greatly improved (I can now touch the FLOOR with my PALMS), my moods are brighter and I’m more inclined to take care of myself and treat my body with respect. There’s been some mild weight loss, but since losing weight wasn’t my intention I couldn’t really define it by inches or pounds. Mostly, I’m just incredibly proud that my heels occasionally touch the floor when I’m in Downward Dog.
After struggling to do the postures on a slippy rug, I bought myself a Yoga Mad yoga mat from work, and I can say that it DOES make a big difference. I’m considering buying a block because, as Adrienne says, they “bring the earth to you;” meaning if you can’t reach your hand to the floor, then you just reach for the block instead! Yoga socks are also tempting, as my feet tend to slide around in the lunge poses.
I still do yoga in my pyjamas, though.
I’m about halfway through the 30 days and I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought possible. I get what all the fuss is about, now. Once the challenge is over, I might – maybe – find a class that can provide more challenges.
Here’s to the next 15 days!