January — the month of yoga.
‘Bloody yoga again, eh?’, some of you will probably think when reading the title of this post, and I wouldn’t blame you.
Yoga is everywhere these days — you’re bound to hear about it on Facebook or Instagram, at a hardcore gym studio or in the local community school, you name it. I don’t have anything against that per se, but what I do dislike is that yoga is often spoken about and presented in a way that isn’t relatable (or appealing) to everyone.
Considering the true meaning of ‘yoga’, i.e. ‘unity’, this seems to miss the point.
Don’t get me wrong — of course I would like my daily yoga practice to consist of perfectly performed head stands on a sandy beach in Hawaii, but sadly that image hardly ever reflects my reality…
One of the reasons why we’re picking yoga as the first ‘challenge’ to practice daily for a month, is to bring the whole project ‘down to Earth’ as something that really can be easily incorporated into a daily (or even weekly) routine — by everyone.
You don’t need Lululemon leggings, an expensive yoga studio membership or the flexibility of Stretch Armstrong to become a yogi.
You might want to buy a yoga mat, but you by no means have to. There have been lots of times in my life when I’ve done yoga on the floor with just a thick towel as support for my back and knees.
There are other reasons too, why kicking off 2018 with daily yoga practice fits particularly well with the aim of our ’12-Month Journey’.
- Firstly, it will be a relatively gentle way of getting back into exercising more regularly after the festive break; unless you’re one of the few who actually managed to stick to their gym routine and resist all those mince pies — I humbly bow down to you, if so. We’re not saying you have to turn into a gym junkie to go through the year in a constructive manner, but a sensible dose of a type of exercise suitable for your fitness level will always be good for you —especially yoga — so let’s get moving with a daily fix!
- Secondly, every yoga practice necessarily requires a certain degree of breath control and mindfulness, which fits perfectly with one of the overall aims of our project— it’s bound to help you approach the beginning of the year in a more mindful, focused way.
- Thirdly, yoga is good for you in practically every possible way. But we’ll elaborate on that as we go through the month.
We said at the beginning of this post that other than some floor space, you don’t need anything to practice yoga. Well, that’s certainly true once you know what you’re doing a bit more. To begin with though, we recommend also having a computer, laptop or tablet so you can access some optional resources to support your practice — ideally hands free while you’re practicing. For now, we’ll assume that if you’re reading this post, you probably have access to one of those.
So, here’s what you’ll need to practice yoga daily:
- Comfy clothes;
- Around 30 minutes to spare at some point during the day; I recommend ‘ticking off’ your daily yoga practice in the morning, as it will definitely help you get off your bed on the right foot;
- Some relaxing music in the background (optional, but can make a huge difference to your practice; I recommend Yoga Girl Playlist of the Month on Spotify);
- An improvised or pre-set yoga sequence to follow. If you’re a seasoned yogi, you might prefer to shape your practice yourself, but if you’re at the beginning of your journey, it will be helpful to listen to someone who knows what they’re doing.
- An open mind — which comes in handy for more than just yoga.
If you type ‘yoga’ into YouTube, you’ll get about 17,500,000 results, so you’re sure to find something up your street. As for Drew and I, we’re going to be following Adriene from Yoga With Adriene, who you can also find on YouTube, here. It so happens that every January Adriene releases a free month-long yoga course with each 30-minute-or-so practice session targeting a specific aspect of a bigger theme. This year, the theme is ‘True’, as in, being true to oneself; which is something I’m sure a lot of us would benefit from getting better at.
If you want to sign up for the free course, it’s not too late — you can even join halfway through the month. You will still receive a welcome pack (consisting of the special yoga calendar and an overview of all 30 practices), daily emails explaining the meaning behind each practice, and support from a world-wide community of yogi.
So, without further ado, hop on the mat (OK, hold on, wait — I meant from tomorrow onward) and join us for the month of yoga!