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!

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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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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