What Helps (& What Doesn’t) with Daily Yoga — 1st Week Check-In
So, we’re 1 week into month of yoga, and boy oh boy, was it an eventful one!
Nah, I’m joking… there’s been no major drama (yet); but it’s definitely been interesting, trying to fit a daily yoga practice into one of the busiest and most overwhelming times of the year. Beginnings are hard, man! (And I’m not just talking about the post-NYE hangover).
In any case, here’s a shortlist of things that have — and have not — helped me stick with yoga throughout last week.
THINGS THAT HELPED:
- Daily Greatness Yoga Journal
I got this slightly bulky, but absolutely brilliant journal for Christmas. It’s been super helpful in keeping track of my daily yoga practice, and keeping my life in check generally. In the intro section you can determine and note down your values, mission and goals for the year ahead, while in the daily pages, which you can fill in each morning and evening, you’re asked about things you’re grateful for, things you want to achieve, things you were proud of, and things you could’ve done better that day.
What’s particularly fantastic about this journal is that it allows you to break down your bigger, abstract goals into more digestible and specific 90-day targets, evaluated at the end of each week. This helps you keep track of your progress and see what went well and what didn’t. Even better, you can start filling it in at any point of the year, as the pages aren’t dated. Having checked, it only takes about five minutes per day to fill the morning and evening section of each page.
Purposeful well-being exercise made easy and gratifying — what’s not to like!?
2. Having a yoga buddy
I cannot stress enough how big of a difference doing ‘the challenge’ with someone makes. I won’t lie – there were times when I heard the cheeky voice in my head whisper: ‘c’mon, Aggie – skipping one day won’t be a tragedy’; but getting a text from Drew, saying ‘I’ve already done my practice today. How’s yours going?’, always puts me back in line…
3. Making a public commitment
And so does writing about my experience here — and my friends asking me on a daily basis : ‘how’s your yoga thingy going?’…
4. Having a clear plan to follow
To which I’d say : ‘great! I’m on the day 5 of Adriene’s ‘True’ programme’…
5. Post-NYE hangover/intoxication
Which, suffering from a very bad case of post-NYE hangover, I was extremely keen to begin. After all, we’re most motivated to improve our lives when we’re at our lowest ;).
THINGS THAT DIDN’T HELP:
- Post-NYE hangover/intoxication
Having said that, I definitely would not recommend doing yoga under the influence. I am actually quite surprised I didn’t fall flat on my face, breaking my limbs or teeth, during my first yoga practice of the year… don’t try it at home, kids!
2. Breaking my regular yoga practice in the first place
I’ve been doing yoga, more or less regularly, for 15 years now (I know! I’m that old…), but what I always notice – to my greatest horror – is that breaking my yoga routine, even for a couple of weeks, really destroys my form. Compared to some of her more challenging sequences, Adriene has been quite gentle with us this week and yet I find it difficult to keep my downward-facing dog for longer than a couple of minutes… the moral of this story is –
Consistency and frequency is key, in everything you do.
I spent the first part of last week with my friends in Tenerife, and so I had to wake up early in the morning to ‘tick off’ my daily practice before everyone else woke up. Travelling back to the UK also made it quite difficult to practice, as I had to leave our flat at an ungodly hour and got back home too tired to want to do anything, really. So, while it’s definitely possible to do yoga anywhere, moving around and departing from your daily routine too much can make it more difficult.
4. Inability to set clear work-life boundaries
Ah, that one, the old good ‘work-life balance’… we all want it and yet it’s so hard to maintain! An inability to keep our workaholic tendencies in check interferes with many areas of our life, not only yoga. I have so much to do in January that I am tempted to head to the office right after waking up and stay in it far longer than my energy levels allow, even if it means skipping exercise, social events, food or other things that keep me sane. So, having to fit a yoga practice into my day – no matter what – has been a great exercise and one that I hope to practice for the whole month and beyond.
So, these are my observations about the first week of practicing yoga on a daily basis. I invite you to pay attention to how your body and mind react to certain poses, sequences, mantras and to this ‘monthly regime’ in general. These bodily reactions or fleeting thoughts and emotions might seem insignificant at first, but they are in fact very revealing.
Often the way we act on the mat is the way we act off the mat, the things that we struggle with or hold on tight to or push through on the mat are similar to the things that we struggle with, hold on and push through in real life.
I invite you to keep that in mind in the second week of our yoga adventure. Namaste, peeps!