Here's What Happened When I Did Yoga Every Day for 130 Days
I started practicing yoga around 2 years ago. I was pretty weak, but I was determined to try it because I had heard so many benefits. I put on my leggings and showed up to a tiny studio near my house on a cold Sunday morning in March. I’m not going to lie and say that I loved it and that I left the class feeling better than I ever have in my whole life. That’s just not the truth. That morning, and in the subsequent weeks, something did happen in my brain though. I like to call this the yoga magic.
I was pretty good at yoga from the start, because I grew up taking dance classes multiple days a week. So stretching and putting my body into weird shapes was certainly not a foreign concept to me. What was hard for me was the stillness.
Yoga teaches us to not push ourselves too far. In yoga, when a pose gets too hard, you take a modification or drop to child’s pose to recenter with your breath.
In all of my activities before, I had learned to just keep pushing no matter what. Yoga allows me the freedom to choose when to push myself and when to rest.
One of the most important parts of yoga is laying down at the end, in savasana pose. Here, doing absolutely nothing, I soak up the benefits of the practice. I allow my mind to wander but notice the thoughts that come up. It is a truly ‘zen’ experience when I have had a good class.
Because it is generally low impact, yoga is something that you can incorporate into every single day.
I went through teacher training in September, where we had 2 hour sweaty, heart opening classes, and my body started to feel amazing after only a few days of practicing with that vigor.
I had loved yoga before and practiced frequently, but teacher training gave me the tools to grow my own practice and get the most out of the classes that I took.
Starting in October, I have practiced yoga every single day.
Here’s what happened.
1. All of my problems did not disappear.
I don't know why, but sometimes people have this expectation that when they finally take care of their bodies and eat healthy and sleep enough that they will have ZERO problems anymore. Take it from me, who regularly gets ample sleep, eats tons of veggies, and is very active, these things won't fix everything else in life. I still have things that are hard. I still have bad days.
2. I feel so much more connected to myself.
Although taking care of my self hasn’t given me unicorn wings or a stress free life, it has profound effects on how tuned in I am to what’s going on inside me.
When I practice every single day I can feel the differences in my energy, digestion, flexibility, mood, etc. I can draw links between not feeling well and certain behaviors that got me there.
I can experience the ebbs and flows of my body and hormones and mood, giving me the wisdom to take care of myself from a place of knowing, rather than guessing.
3. I have built community.
One of the best parts about showing up somewhere consistently is forming relationships with others there. It took a long time, but now I feel at home when I walk into a studio and see quite a few friendly faces who are just as excited as I am to be there.
4. I don’t force myself to go, but I always end up at yoga.
Rather than feeling like I have to go in order to workout, I end up at yoga for a million other reasons. Maybe my friend is teaching, maybe I want to try a new studio, maybe I work trade for the class. If I am sad, yoga helps. If I am happy, yoga helps. If I am sore, yoga. If I am tired, yoga. If I feel great, yoga.
5. I can do headstands and handstands now.
Inversions are not the goal of yoga, but they are really fun. :)
Just because I practice yoga everyday doesn’t necessarily mean that I go to a boutique yoga class every day. I take free classes, I do yoga at home. Sometimes all I have time for is a few minutes in down dog just to stretch out. That’s okay too. It still “counts”.
For a while after teacher training I was counting the days in a row that I have done yoga. I think I got up to like 20, and then forgot about it. But I didn’t stop the yoga. Now that it is mid February, I have probably done yoga for almost 130 days in a row. Most of the time I like to be in a studio with a teacher, but it’s not always like that.
But that’s not the point. The point is to find something that you love so much that it becomes a given. First I do the yoga, then I do the things. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.