What a strange roller coaster this month has been.
I did it. I triumphantly completed thirty days of Yoga. And I have successfully blogged more on this site in 2021 than I did my first time around.
I’ve been thankful to have my daily yoga practice to come to like despite all the doldrum or chaos present at any moment, I have the mat and the daily yoga practice to look forward to.
Showing up for myself
While time on the mat is supposed to be time for me, this wasn’t true one hundred percent of the time. Most days I would wake up between four and six in the morning, for the quiet time, to roll out my mat. Often, shortly after I would pull myself out of bed, my kid would awaken and seek me out, to snuggle.
When this happens and it goes against my original plan of alone time, yoga or not – which has been difficult during this pandemic, I would usually become frustrated and often a bit short-tempered.
Often I could roll out my mat, but then end up sitting on our guest bed looking out the best window of our place, onto the street below. What was I looking at? What was I doing? Nothing, just sitting there in the still, quiet early morning looking out at the world waking up.
I think, thanks to the balance of breathing awareness and yoga, I focused on taking these moments in stride. I do try to remember, as often as possible, that my husband and I are really lucky in that our child wants to be around us. He would join me on our guest bed and cuddle with me while we both stared out the window and chatted about whatever came to our minds. I think my favorite moments in this past year with my kid have been the quiet ones we have in the early morning or before we fall off to sleep.
Furthermore, he seems to be thriving at home.
All this week my kid has completed his work early. Last week it was a struggle to complete it all by Sunday. This week he was often finished before lunchtime. Additionally, he has independently created different art projects, small science projects, Lego builds, fitness programs, began new audiobooks and finished podcasts.
As for me, I completed additional yoga five out of the last seven days. I have felt amazing. Plus, I have been able to improve my push up, plank, and downward dog. The latter I have never been very good at since my calves are continually tight. All this week, before I get out of bed, I have been stretching my legs, like a T. I have even been doing a few stretches before I go to bed.
It’s been good.
I’ve also slowly been trying to prepare for next week, with no sugar and no alcohol. I bought a ton of fresh fruit like papaya, melon, and pineapple and dried strawberries, raspberries, and mangos. I have a protein-rich week of meals planned. And I have been slowly drinking the last bottle of wine and dark chocolate that I have in my possession.
I think I am as ready as I will ever be.
Tips and suggestions on how to survive initially off sugar and alcohol are always welcome and appreciated.Tweet
About that pop…
On Friday this week, I couldn’t get to the mat in the morning as there was some extended family stuff happening that I couldn’t control. So, I decided to clean instead. Then, a girlfriend popped by with a present for me. When I told her I had no idea she was stopping by, she said she didn’t know either.
When I was finally able to get to the mat, in the afternoon, my house was vacant thanks to appointments my son and husband had. The practice seemed especially restorative and my limbs, especially, willing to move and stretch with my breath. I was so into it that I completed a half-hour of my extra yoga and then YWA.
It all felt amazing like I was succeeding.
And then in the middle of a downward dog, something in my left calf literally popped.
I wish I was kidding.
Like, what a great way to kill the wind in my sails, man.
I quickly learned that I could not do a proper downward dog with both legs, only my right. So, I finished the program. I thought that would be it, but the next day’s video, Heal, was a short one and pretty on point in my opinion.
So, I caught up with the published videos in the ‘challenge’ and kept away from the downward dog on my left side. I still feel accomplished and relatively good about the day’s practice.
Yeah, that pop holds a double meaning, both literal and figurative. My yoga practice was poppin’ off this week, and then the muscle in my calf decided to take things literally.
Saturday I had to have my husband run out to get the horse salve as the muscle did finally start to feel sore. Sunday as I write, it doesn’t hurt anymore, but I am still unable to do a proper downward dog with both legs.
I still plan to move ahead with morning yoga practice, especially this week as it is likely to be a little stressful for me (with work and as I move into not eating sugar).
Before closing out this month for good with a fond farewell I want to say a few words about one of the books of inspiration for this month, Yoga Myths by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D, PT. I chose to purchase this book over the other one I posted in my Plan for 2021 post, A Year of Living Yoga by the same author because I thought it might be more useful in the present moment.
In this book, Lasater suggests reading it through more than once to fully take in the tips and myths she breaks in the book. Admittedly, I am only still about halfway through this book. That said, the book has helped me re-examine how I come to the mat, even if slightly. Some of her suggestions include ‘stop tucking in your tailbone’, ‘why you don’t need neck rolls’ and more information about the pelvis and standing poses than I thought was possible. There is clearly more here than this, but three chapters are as far as I have read in the past thirty days.
I read slowly. Sorry.
However, even just having read those three chapters, I can say I have modified my ‘neck rolls’ a great deal to the point that they probably shouldn’t be called that when I do them now. I have also stopped tucking in my tailbone because I am pretty sure mine flares a bit anyway. I have always had a ‘shelf’ back there. My girlfriends used to say they could eat soup off it. So, for me tucking it in during standing yoga has always felt weird. Especially in the last thirty days, I have attempted to focus more on not rounding my shoulders (forward) when standing both during yoga and the rest of the day. I feel that has had a greater impact on my posture and made life a little easier on my lower back and spine.
I agree with Lasater that this book should be read a few times, and kept as a reference. Some of the sections are a bit technical, talking about the various parts of the spine or the body, but she does provide images and diagrams to help the reader better understand what she is saying. The best part? She offers alternatives to do instead of the poses and myths she is busting. I will finish the rest of the book as I plan to also continue my yoga practice.
That’s my month of yoga. Even with an injury incurred on day 28, I am over the moon with what I have accomplished, how I feel, and what I’ve learned. I appreciate how beginner-friendly Yoga with Adriene is. How she reminds us that we should start where ever we are and just do the hardest work: showing up.
These 30-day programs she sets up for us are easily modifiable and made for the at-home yogi, even if they are beginning their journey. I appreciate that. I also appreciate just how approachable these January yoga challenges are, as I feel they set an excellent tone for the rest of the year.
I would highly recommend ‘Breath‘, even though January is now over. I think this may have been my favorite 30-day-program of YWA’s yet! She has a website, she isn’t just on YouTube. It is a pretty nice site too, clear and easy to navigate. I also recommend checking that out too.
How about you?
Did you also complete ‘Breath’, how do you think you did? What did you learn about yourself? What did showing up to the mat every day open you up to? Will you continue the practice with her ‘Bridge’ journey into February?
If yoga isn’t your thing, what ways have you been challenging yourself, showing up for yourself, learning about yourself this past month?
February will continue my yoga journey and begin my no sugar journey. What is next for you?
Please leave me a comment to let me know. I would love to hear about it.