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.