I Tried A Yoga Challenge For 30 Days, And Here’s What Happened

I Tried A Yoga Challenge For 30 Days, And Here’s What Happened

Not every day was easy, but it was certainly worth it!
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My interest in yoga suddenly peaked close to a month ago. I couldn’t exactly tell you where it came from or how it started (perhaps it was me looking for an escape from the stress college brings), but all I knew was that I wanted to practice yoga. I just didn’t know where to start!

The idea of going into a yoga class completely new to the practice was certainly a little daunting. I knew I’d probably pick up the poses along the way, but I still couldn’t find a yoga class that matched with my schedule for the spring semester. So, I found myself pulling up Youtube videos on my laptop—after all, you can practically find anything on Youtube, right?

Ultimately, I stumbled upon Yoga With Adriene. On her channel, Adriene has a wide variety of different videos, all guiding the viewer through a yoga practice. These videos range from restorative practices, where the pace is slower and more focused on breathing, and even a series of strengthening videos that will leave you sweating once the video is completed.

There are also multiple series of yoga playlists and the 30 Days of Yoga series truly caught my attention. I knew jumping into this challenge in the comfort of my own room would allow me to explore yoga on my own time and it would push me to step onto my mat each day. And at the end of the 30 Days, I truly noticed a difference in myself and I hope that by sharing my experience, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself to 30 Days of Yoga, too.

I noticed my body becoming stronger and stronger each day.

When I initially started this practice, I wasn’t exactly the strongest person. My arms were certainly pretty frail and my upper body strength was nearly non-existent. I was a little flexible, to begin with, but I immediately began to see improvements in my flexibility within the first few days.

And after 30 days of practicing planks, maintaining my balance through poses like Garudasana or Utkatasana, and toning the muscles in my legs through Warrior One and Warrior Two poses, I felt a noticeable difference in my body. I started to no longer dread holding these once super difficult poses.

I looked forward to feeling sore in my muscles the next day and pushing myself to get better and better at maintaining my balance during practice. Not only that, but I found ease in the poses that were once extremely difficult. I learned that each difficult pose would eventually get easier and that it was okay if I fell out of the pose because practice really does make perfect. And no one is an expert when they first start practicing yoga.

I found myself becoming more present and less stressed.

Typically at the beginning of her videos, Adriene instructs viewers to find a mantra they want to hold with them throughout the rest of the day or throughout the rest of the practice. Your mantra can range from anything to “no stress” or “stay present” to letting anything go that wasn’t serving you that day.

By repeating this mantra, focusing on my breathing and taking the time each day to step onto the mat, I found myself becoming more relaxed and truly present in my day to day life. I wouldn’t worry about any essay due that week or think about the notifications that would be on my phone, waiting for me to check them at the end of my practice.

I tried not to stress over the things I couldn’t control, like traffic or long lines or any small dilemma. I even learned not to stress over for homework assignments and around finals season, that truly helped me maintain a positive mindset. Overall, I noticed a huge positive impact on my mental health and I found the weight I used to carry on my shoulders was lifted. I learned that it was okay to take time for myself each day to be on the mat and that it was okay to let my mind be blank for a period of time.


At the end of the 30 Day Challenge, the benefits were evidently noticeable to me. I even started to notice changes in my physical and mental wellbeing just by the end of the first week. Sure, it was difficult to get on the mat some days and I just wanted to stay in bed, but it was always worth it when I stepped onto the mat. And I cannot wait to continue my practice for years to come!

The hardest part is truly getting started, but I promise it’s all worth it. Starting a challenge like this can be daunting. Maybe you feel like yoga isn’t right for you because you aren’t flexible or you’re too busy, but trust me—yoga is perfect for everyone. After all, there is no “right” way to do yoga and everyone can at least lay in Savasana for a few minutes during their day.

Cover Image Credit: William Farlow

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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