Well I’ve been doing yoga for 5 days straight and it feels great! The first couple days were short and sweet, but now the videos on the 21 Day Challenge are getting longer and more intense. It’s a good thing though! It’s definitely a bit of a challenge at times—I feel like I do at least one thing I’ve never done in each episode. I feel like I’m getting through my day easier thanks to the energy boost in the morning, not to mention that it’s a total body awakening in itself. Sometimes when I know I can’t go to the gym after work, I’ll wake up super early to go and do cardio and/or weights and I sometimes find myself not able to give 100% because I’m not fully awake or rested or something. With yoga, though, I feel like I’m always ready for it and giving it my best shot. The extra half hour of sleep I’m able to get may contribute to that, too 🙂
Day Three was a 15-minute core-focused video. It features simple ab moves you’ve probably done before, but you go in and out of them really slowly and you really feel the burn. The first thing you do is a crunch in three parts going up and three parts coming back down, all on a slow count. Even though you only do this three times, it is crazy how much you feel it! Maybe I’m just out of shape in my core (which is a definite possibility), but I was shocked at how such little movement in so little sets could cause such an effect. It felt good, though.
I have to say, I was very mixed on the instructor who taught this video. I felt that she did not explain what she wanted you to do very well and I had to rely very heavily on watching the student on the video. This may not bother everyone, but my personal preference is to listen to the audio and only watch the video when I need to recheck my positioning or something. On the other hand though, she was so encouraging. She really made it feel like she was with you, right there, cheering you on. She would say things like, “Are you shaking? That’s great!” and she calls that burn you feel when you exercise “Love” and “Joy.” Refreshing and very hippie-dippy 🙂
Day Four was taught by the same woman from Day Three and I found I had the same ups and downs with her teaching style as I did the previous day. This video was a 30-minute hip opener and it was awesome. Hip openers are my favorite and, I’m not gonna lie, it’s because I’m really good at them. My hips have always been really open (my turn-out can go beyond 180 degrees—gross, I know!) and they’ve only gotten better through my yoga practice. I thought this video was really great. There were a lot of non-typical yoga poses that really got the blood flow going and the hips/legs loosened up. That also adds to why I found myself being so dependent on watching the video more than just listening.
I really enjoyed this video and will definitely be doing it again. There’s a lot of emphasis on really feeling how your body is reacting—which is important both for the overall mental health aspect of yoga but also so you don’t hurt yourself. It was a very challenging but relaxing routine because a lot of the poses allow your upper body to fold over and relax while your lower body is really being worked. I found that focusing on keeping a steady breathing pattern really help ease the tension or discomfort that I may have had and also let me relax into each pose. It’s was very nice overall.
Today was Day Five and it was also very enjoyable. Jason Crandell, the teacher from Day Two, taught this routine and he is now officially one of my favorite teachers. This video was a 35-minute side bends routine. I did it this morning and it really woke me up and got my blood flowing. It featured the basic triangle poses and side planks along with a few other kinds of stretches that felt really great. The thing I really like about Jason’s teaching is that he is very clear in his intentions for what he wants you to do. He also constantly reminds you where you should be feeling a stretch and how that stretch should feel. That may be annoying for some people, but it really helps me make sure my positioning is correct and also that I am getting the most beneficial stretch for myself. This was my favorite video so far and I’ll definitely do it again, especially in the morning.
So that’s my three-day wrap up. I wanted to try to keep these posts to only two days each, but the weekend got away from me. I was so not looking forward to this morning because the past two weeks have been three-day work weeks for me, but I was able to be up and ready for it thanks to my new and awesome morning routine! If you are on the fence about doing a challenge like this, let me be the one to tell you to do it! My favorite thing about it so far is that it’s gotten me into the mindset to do something active everyday and it’s really become a routine even after only a few days. It’s really easy for me to tell myself to exercise at least three times a week, but that means I’m usually totally inactive on my off-days, which is not good. This has really helped me realize that a little bit goes a long way. Even though a half-hour of yoga a day doesn’t burn as many calories or get me sweating as 30 minutes of cardio or strength training does, it keeps my body moving and my mind engaged. It just feels so good 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your week!