This week I finished a 14-day yoga challenge. That’s right. I practiced yoga every day for two weeks. When I began the challenge, I wasn’t sure if I could really find the time to practice every day. I thought: well, I already wake up early for many of my workouts, and my evening routine is pretty full – how will I find the time?
My friend Michelle is a wellness coach, and reached out to me with this challenge. She assured me that there would be a group of people taking on the challenge, so I wouldn’t be alone. And, I didn’t need much … just a yoga mat, a beach towel (for some sessions) and some space on the living room floor. So, I thought – why not give this a try?
Challenges with groups work well for me because I am an obliger. This means that when I respond to expectations, I often meet outer expectations, but have a harder time meetings expectations I place on myself. So, finding a partner or group to keep me accountable is a good thing. (ps – want to know your tendency? Take a quiz that Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) wrote to help you find out!)
So, when I practiced yoga every day for two weeks, here are the 7 changes I felt:
1. I felt more productive. Because I had to plan each day around my yoga practice, the time I spent cleaning, cooking, and doing other evening activities became more efficient so that I could squeeze in the 30 minutes (or so) of yoga.
2. I remembered to breathe through tough moments. Yoga is all about focussing on the breath. Because I practicing this regularly, I paid attention to my breath even during the times I wasn’t practicing yoga.
3. I felt more effective during my regular workouts. Because I was taking the time to stretch every day, my strength and cardio workouts (yes, I also kept exercising during this time) were much more pleasant and I had greater range of motion during those workouts.
4. I was more mindful. Taking time each day to “be in the moment” helped me remember to practice mindfulness throughout the day.
5. I had more energy. I know that sounds a little funny, but working out and devoting a little extra energy for my body made me more energetic throughout the day. I found myself staying more attentive at work and being more present at home.
6. I felt stronger. Doing vinyasa flow is no joke- it involves some powerful pushups! And, doing that every day did make me feel stronger. Also, I felt stronger emotionally – more resilient and peaceful.
7. I became more flexible. I am including my “before” and “after” pictures to demonstrate. In these photos, you can see how much more flexible I became just after two weeks.
Now that I have practiced yoga every day for two weeks, I have proven that I can practice it at least once per week from now on. The benefits are amazing!
If you are interested in joining a yoga (or any workout) challenge, feel free to reach out to a wellness coach like my friend Michelle. Or, you can sign up for her monthly newsletter to get tips, recipes, and motivation!
Have you challenged yourself to practice yoga before? How did you feel?
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