My yoga journey started in a different place than most people’s. I’ve read many articles about why people started yoga, and it is typically because they wanted to lose weight or connect with their body on a more spiritual level. For me, it is because I hate the feeling and the sound of heartbeats. When my pulse quickens, I feel like I’m going to vomit. So, naturally, this unusual phobia means I don’t really enjoy exercising. As I got older, I realized that not exercising because of my fear was not a healthy lifestyle and I started looking for some gentle exercise I could do. I stumbled across Yoga With Adriene’s youtube channel, and I tried out a couple of her Yoga for Beginners videos. And from there, I was hooked.
I slowly worked through her gentler videos, and I learned the basics of yoga. She does an amazing job of explaining the meaning behind poses and the importance of pranayama (control of the breath), and meeting you where you are at physically. I then ventured on to more difficult videos, and I found that over time I was able to tolerate higher and higher heart rates without getting dizzy and nauseous. I began seeing benefits of yoga in my daily life – I have joint hypermobility syndrome, and for the first time in years my joints weren’t aching. I had loads of energy, and my stress levels were at an all time low. So, I decided to make yoga a daily part of my life.
Every January, Adriene puts out a 30 day yoga video series. There are three on her channel so far, so I decided to work my way through all of them. I started with Yoga Camp, then moved on to 30 Days of Yoga, and finished with Revolution – 31 Days of Yoga.
Doing yoga daily has become so important to me, and I can’t imagine going a day without it. Some days, I did not have time to do a full video – so I fit in a short 10 minute practice. I have now completed all three of the 30 day yoga series, and I have continued to practice yoga. I wanted to share with you what has happened during the last 3+ months of daily practice.
1. I Made Healthy Changes In Other Areas of My Life
I loved the way yoga made me feel. My body felt balanced, and I felt full of life. I developed a love for my body, and I wanted to do what was best for it – so I started making other changes. I cut meat out of my diet entirely, and I have been drinking about a gallon of water a day. I also cook most of my meals now, and have completely removed processed foods from my home. I truly believe all of these changes stemmed from me learning to respect my body through yoga.
2. I Delved Into Other Types of Exercise
Heartbeats still bug me. I can’t lay my head on my boyfriend’s chest without freaking out by the sound, and I still feel uncomfortable when my heart beat quickens. However, gradually increasing the difficulty of my yoga practice helped me learn to tolerate these feelings. I am now working out for 90 minutes a day; 30 minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of weight training, and 30 minutes of cardio. I never thought cardio would be a regular part of my exercise routine, but here we are! And I’ve never felt better.
3. My Body Feels AMAZING After Each Practice
For about thirty minutes after I finish my daily practice, my whole body feels light as a feather and tingly. Some refer to it as a yoga high; to me, it feels like the after effects of an orgasm. My whole body just feels amazing from head to toe, and I’m totally zenned out.
4. I Never Spent a Damn Penny
My yoga journey has definitely been easy on my wallet! Adriene’s videos are completely free, which is astounding. There are literally hundreds of professional quality videos on her channel , which I am sure plenty of people would happily pay for. I also have a pretty thick carpet, so I never purchased a yoga mat. And props? Not in my house! If a video calls for a yoga block, I just grab a thick book.
5. I Learned to Find What Feels Good
Because of my hypermobility, I have to be careful while doing yoga. It is easy for me to hold poses that require a lot of flexibility; however, I am overextending my joints which is not healthy. One thing Adriene says that really resonates with me is “find what feels good”. So, I don’t worry about creating a “perfect” shape; rather, I listen to my body and stop at a safe limit.
Sometimes I won’t even do what Adriene is doing in the video. My body might be longing for a few extra minutes in Cobbler’s Pose, so I’ll stay there longer. Or maybe at the end of the video I want to practice Crow before heading to Shavasana. And that’s okay! Learning to find what feels good has helped me claim yoga as my own. I love following Adriene’s videos, but my goal is to be able to do my own thing one day, and create a practice that my body needs that day.
If you have been thinking about trying out yoga, go for it! You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If you aren’t sure where to start, I challenge you to try one of Adriene’s 30 days of yoga series. By the end of it, you will be amazed by how far your body has come!
I hope you found this post useful. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!