Why, hello there! I’ve been doing yoga for two weeks now! Save for this last weekend when I had no time to yoga-out on Saturday… I’m still really bummed about that. Even though I doubled up on one day to make up for it, I still know that I didn’t technically make it a full 14 days 😦 I guess it’s the effort and intention that really counts, but it’s still a mental thing for me. But when I think about it, I honestly could not have gotten it in and still survived the day. Luckily I shouldn’t have a day like that for a while… Anyway, on to more exciting topics of conversation!
Day 12 was the day I was waiting for… BAKA-PALOOZA!! Or, bakasana, as sane people may say 🙂 I was so ready for this. My favey Jason Crandell taught this one. The video was about a half hour and it focused on loosening up the legs and opening the hips in preparation for the pose. First of all, let me say that this video is great even if you have no intention of preparing for bakasana. It’s got great hip openers and really energizes the legs. This video also focuses on engaging the core a lot more than is usually expressed in other routines I’ve done. Teachers always say to “remember” or “check” your core, but this is a clear focus in this instance. It was a real difference-maker, I feel; I definitely learned a lot. All in all, it was very effective and just enough of an effort. I’d do this sequence any time you asked me to. That’s my seal of approval 🙂 After all that opening, energizing awesomeness, it was finally time to get into bakasana/crow/crane. I started out as I’ve started hundreds of times before, but this time I really utilized my core strength to provide additional support–I used to keep most, if not all, of my weight in my legs. For this, you need to focus more on your arms and core strength for support, not so much with the legs.
While it didn’t turn out to be that familiar overcoming-your-greatest-challenge scene from the movies where I get it perfectly on the first try after a new outlook opens my eyes, I did manage some kind of success: I was able to get the pose for about 3 seconds on my 4th try! That may sound like a mediocre attempt, but for me it was a big step. To add to that, I got it a second time for another few seconds! I definitely have to keep trying and practicing, though. My Guru (aka Mom) says it’s all about overcoming the fear of falling on your face because you have to really lean forward into it. I definitely agree with her on that one. On the upside, though, I have already fallen on my face a few times trying to do this, so I guess I’m a few steps closer to overcoming that. See? There’s always an upside!
Day 13 has been my favorite so far. It’s a Vinyasa flow class taught by Elise Lorimer–two of my favorite yoga-y things! This was so interesting because it featured a system of flow I had never even heard of before: Mandala Namaskar. Meaning “circular,” this kind of flow lets you travel all around your mat. It’s like a sun salutation in that you do a routine of moves on each side to complete a full cycle. But with Mandala Namaskar, instead of recognizing one side as the “front of the mat” and returning to down dog before you switch sides, you rotate as you go along and every pose changes your “front.” It’s hard to explain, but easy once you see it done. I found it really fun! The moves all feel new when you face a new angle or get to a position in a different way than usual. Small changes like this keep everything interesting and keep me engaged and focused more. This routine featured amazing total-body stretches and poses that I love getting out of a Vinyasa class. Great way to start the morning. It gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping and you feel really fantastic afterward. This will definitely be done again, especially on rough mornings when I’d rather skip my workout!
As for Day 14, I’m supposed to do the same night sequence from last week. But if you’ll recall, I was not a fan. So, tonight I will be doing a lovely night-time podcast that is still yet-to-be-determined. Phew! 2/3 of the way there and I feel wonderful. My body feels stronger and more resilient. Mentally, I haven’t found my calmness yet, but I do feel more confident in my everyday self and less bad about not hitting the gym as much as I used to before I started this challenge. Until yesterday, I hadn’t been to the gym in about a week. In the past I would feel sluggish and weak, not to mention I would feel really down on myself psychologically. But I found that I still had a great deal of energy and stamina and that I felt just as strong–if not stronger–than I was when I devoted 3-4 days a week to weight training and cardio. I know yoga is still considered a workout, but it’s not as intensive, at least not obviously (ie sweating a lot), as weights or cardio. The health and wellness benefits are absolutely there, though.
I am really enjoying my daily yoga. I’m not sure I’ll do a solid 30 minutes minimum of yoga everyday once this challenge is over, but I’ll definitely do at least 5-10 minutes. There are still some days where I want to just go for a run or do weights and really feel like I’m Ms. Fitness and 30 minutes of yoga isn’t enough to suffice. But I feel like there’s a balance to everything. I’m looking forward to where the next chapter in my healthy-living will take me. At the end of the day, like every yogi says, listen to your body.