Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yoga Challenge (day 31) and reflections

To conclude 31 days of yoga, I chose a new practice this evening -- 30 minutes of "lunar flow" from Yoga Download. I'm so glad I decided to check out a few yoga downloads -- and just in time to use Tina's coupon for 50% off! I also downloaded gentle hatha, moon salutes, and yoga for back pain. I'm excited to try out these other practices, too! I was a little bit worried about the minimal visuals using the audio download, but found I only needed to glance at the PDF containing the pose illustrations during unfamiliar poses.

Speaking of unfamiliar poses . . . whoa half-pigeon! My hips have never felt so loose and free. Plow is going to kick my ass, however. :) I can't wait to be strong enough to do the shoulder stand!


Reflecting on the past month . . .

. . . although my level of motivation and participation in the challenge has ebbed and flowed, I am proud of myself for practicing yoga for 30 of the past 31 days! I recorded my practices on a wall calendar, and I must admit . . . that empty square still haunts me a little. I remember that day, though, and know that there was no way yoga would have fit.

HOWEVER, I have practiced 745 minutes of yoga this month, (nearly 12 1/2 hours,) averaging 24 minutes and a couple of seconds per day. WOW!

I have noticed improvements in my overall flexibility and general fitness, but I believe the greatest benefits I’ve reaped from this challenge have been emotional/spiritual. I think the combination of focused, deep breathing and challenging body postures allow me to decompress in a way that is very beneficial to me. I have a high-stress job, (preschool teacher for low-income, high-needs children,) and often struggle turning work “off” when I get home. Practicing yoga immediately after work has become a crucial part of my weeknight routine! My evenings have been more relaxed, productive, and focused, and I seriously think I have been sleeping better, too!

I am thankful I have developed a new habit – and I bet my chiropractor will be thankful, too! (I have had chronic/severe back pain for many years, now – and I have been pain-free this entire month! Woooo yoga!)

I have always HATED “exercise,” although I love to be busy and active – I love to walk with friends, bike, and explore the wilderness, but have set foot in a “gym” literally less than five times my entire adult life. I’ve discovered, thanks to this challenge, “exercise” that I actually enjoy! No longer will the long, cold Minnesota winters be so lazy for me!

With that said . . . bring on spring, and more yoga!

(P.S. I forgot to mention . . . I continue to do sun salutes and various yoga poses with the children I teach, and they beg to go to the conference room for “yoga class!” I think it’s so cute when they say “namaste” to each other!)

How was your month of yoga, if you were practicing along?


Ricki said...

Congrats on sticking with the challenge--and completing it! And glad you saw some benefits, too. :)

I am determined to start yoga--you've inspired me!

Sharon said...

Oh wow, you sure did great!!!

Anonymous said...

I missed a few days, but I'm still really proud of myself. I really look forward to yoga when I get home at night (which is like 9pm). I like to do the flow stretchy flows by candle light and then pass out right after. Amazing. I'm so glad you like the yoga downloads!

Anonymous said...

you did really good on the challenge. I on the other hand.....began missing probably a total of 7 days throughout the month.... (oops!)