Kicking Off the Super Awesome Month of Yoga

This might be the month I was looking forward to the most. A month of yoga. Possibly 31 consecutive days of yoga. Actually, make that 32. I did yoga yesterday at my regular class as I unsuccessfully closed out April’s month of no refined grains.

It’s been 7 years since I managed a daily yoga practice. Coincidentally, that’s one of the only times I haven’t dealt with at least some back pain. Did I mention I’ve been dealing with back pain recently?

Yeah, I’m looking forward to this month.

Yoga was an easy addition to the Super Awesome Year of Me. In terms of taking care of myself, nothing has ever done as much for me as yoga. I started for pain management, which it mightily accomplished, including helping aches I wasn’t expecting it to. Posture is the next easiest thing to notice. When you spend all your time stretched out, it’s difficult to miss the change in how I’m standing. And of course, it does wonders for flexibility, balance, and core strength. Weights have the biggest effect on musculature for me, but yoga has the most visible effects because I’m standing up taller and my abs are more naturally engaged. In short, yoga makes me look and feel awesome.

But a monthly practice hasn’t happened in years because it’s difficult. It takes time and energy. I have little of either. I have even less when I’m maintaining a running habit to prep for a 10K in the middle of the month. But we’re gonna try. At least I’m not shooting for a year.

I try to operationalize as much as I can each month. My definition of doing yoga every day means a full session in class or either of the books I own.

My preference is to go to class every day, and I was originally intending to buy a monthly pass so I could do that (I usually only go to 1 class; even when I was behaving, I was only doing two or three on a good week). Class has the benefit of putting me through longer sessions with someone watching to make sure I don’t do something stupid, though sometimes I do something stupid out of the need to show off.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to gel with the combination of instructors, classes, class times this semester (I live in a college town, so even the off-campus yoga studio cycles with the academic terms). I’m picky about my yoga classes. If the teacher isn’t a good fit, it’s just uncomfortable. I haven’t dealt with any true horror stories, but I have a list of people I won’t take classes with, and I haven’t taken class with that many different people. As for the classes themselves, I prefer basic classes that get a mix of everything. I don’t like specializing in core, restorative, etc. I can tolerate harder classes, but that brings up timing. I don’t like energetic classes that start after 7. They leave me wound up for the evening and make sleep difficult to come by. This is a long way to say a short thing: I’m picky about my classes.

The next step down after taking live classes are two books I own. One is what I started with 7 years ago, a basic hatha yoga book. It has 3 level and 2 flows per level, so 6 workouts. I never progressed past the second level, but that was plenty. On a great day, I could get 45 minutes out of level 2 and be dripping in sweat. Unfortunately, those days were rare. When I’m on my own, I tend to default to the easy way out, which means some sessions only last 10 minutes, which technically counts, but I want to get as much as I can out of the month.

The other book is an ashtanga book I picked up because the only class I’ve been attending the past few months is an ashtanga class. This class has been killing me. I’ve gotten myself nauseous on more than one occasion, I leave dead every time, and I almost always deal with soreness the next day or two. I got the book so that I might practice in the middle of the week some. I’ve practiced exactly zero times. Yep. Zero. Not once. Now’s as good as ever, right?

I’m one day in (well, two if you count the early start yesterday) and so far so good. I’m hoping to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

Worst case scenario is that maybe I’ll be able to touch my toes again.

-Q

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