On January 1, 2021, I began a 30-day yoga journey that laid the foundation for what would ultimately morph into a year-long adventure of healing and self-discovery.
To catch up on my yoga journey so far, check out these posts from last year:
- I did yoga every day for thirty days. Here’s what happened.
- 4 Tips to Help Moms Stay Consistent with a Daily Yoga Practice
- 115 Days of Yoga Later: The Health Benefits I’ve Noticed
Since it’s been several months since I’ve posted any sort of update on my yoga journey, I figured now would be a great time to share how my one year of yoga went. That’s right: I completed an entire year of daily yoga! In today’s post, I’ll update you on how the second half of 2021 went for me with my daily yoga practice. And just in case you’re considering embarking on a similar mission, I’ll share some beginner tips, too.
May 2021 – Year End (My Yoga Journey)
Around mid-year, my yoga practice looked like this: I either followed a yoga calendar from Sarah Beth Yoga or, because I was a paid member, I just chose one of her videos at random. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I kept alternating between styles of calendar. For example, if I selected a month-long calendar that focused on improving flexibility, for the following month, I would either take a break from using a calendar altogether or I would choose one that was less taxing on my body. This created a sort of balance within my practice, helping me stay interested so that I would continue to show up.
By November, though, I wasn’t in the mood to follow a structured yoga calendar anymore. Maybe it was because the days were getting shorter and my practice no longer coincided with watching the sunset (something I still miss and can’t wait to do again). But from that point through the end of the year, I decided to take things one day at a time and select a video that felt like a good fit for that particular day. Mostly, they were short, easy 10-15 minute long practices full of stretches and relaxing postures.
I never found myself wanting to skip a yoga session. I looked forward to my time on my mat each day. And all year, I remained consistent with my daily yoga practice, normally practicing in the evenings around the time my girls went to bed. Until the day I didn’t do yoga.
On the evening of October 30, I accidentally forgot to practice yoga and I didn’t realize it until halfway through the next day.
I’m not going to lie – it was a devastating blow to my heart. I wanted to cry. I felt like a failure. I was heartbroken. I had my eyes set on crossing into 2022 with a solid year of yoga under my belt and missing that day’s practice felt like the end of the world.
Well, it did. For like a minute. (Okay, maybe five.)
Because it was purely unintentional and I didn’t make the conscious choice to “skip” yoga that day, I was able to convince myself that I wasn’t a failure and that it wasn’t actually the end of the world. I could still show up every day and feel proud of myself at the end of the year if I missed one day.
But then it happened a second time – nearly a month later on November 28. Again, it was completely accidental. So, I technically only did 363 days of yoga in 2021 – sue me (*wink*).
In all honestly, I still consider that a success, though. I mean, I got myself to sit on my yoga mat (nearly) every. damn. day in 2021. That’s the most yoga I’ve ever done in one calendar year! And it would be foolish for me not to feel extremely proud of myself for carving out that time for myself.
Tips for Beginners
So, what are some beginner tips I would share with someone just starting a daily yoga practice? In addition to the four yoga tips I shared last April to help moms stay consistent, below are a few of my thoughts and suggestions. Think of these tips more like practical things you should consider rather than a list of rules to follow.
1) Do you know why you want to do this?
Having good intentions to begin a healthy habit isn’t enough to ensure you get your butt on your mat each day. What is your bottom line reason for doing it?
For myself, I knew that it was a commitment to my mental health and sanity. Before I began 2021, I knew I enjoyed yoga. I was already practicing a few times a month before attempting the 30-day yoga challenge last January. And I wanted to see what shifts would take place if I upped my yoga game. I wanted to see if my life could curve itself around the “me time” I was creating for myself.
At the end of the 30 days, once I realized that my life didn’t fall apart and that I mentally felt calmer, I knew that I wanted to keep my daily practice up. I knew that I could realistically do yoga all year long (if I wanted to make that a priority for myself).
While you might not know how yoga will work out for you if you’re completely brand new, at least sit and ask yourself, “why do I want to practice yoga?” Are you just wanting to test it out and see how it makes you feel? It doesn’t matter what your answer is. All that matters is that you understand your why so that you can lean on it to help you navigate through your journey.
2) Determine ahead of time how much time you realistically have.
Some days, I have more time to dedicate than others. Don’t set yourself up for failure by committing to a 45-minute yoga class on a day when you really should only spend 10 minutes of mindful breathwork instead. Push yourself, but only when you actually have the time.
When following a yoga calendar, I like to swap days and go out of order if the practice for that day doesn’t align with my days’ agenda. This isn’t cheating. (As a recovering perfectionist, I’m saying that for all of you who internally gasped at that recommendation.) Make your yoga practice all your own – even if that means going off script sometimes.
3) What sacrifices are you willing to make?
Fitting a daily yoga practice into your life means you’ll need to establish a new habit. New habits = new routines. Who else will this habit impact? Make sure you let your friends and family know by either asking for support or setting new boundaries. You deserve to make time for yourself – even if you can only sacrifice time for a 30-day challenge.
Sidenote: Pay special attention to who doesn’t support you or who resists new boundaries you set. (No comment on how to handle such situations because I’m not a therapist, but just wanted to make sure that you’re mindful to watch out for pushback from those around you.)
4) You don’t need new workout/yoga clothes before you can begin.
In fact, I discourage it. Instead, give yourself permission to reward yourself with a new yoga mat or new yoga clothes after you reach a certain goal. This way, you’ll be more motivated to show up (this will only work if that’s the sort of thing that floats your boat). Otherwise, just use the comfy clothes you already own (even if it’s just the ones with stains and baby spit-up).
Yoga isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. You either love it or you don’t. It’s better to save your money for when you’ve decided you actually enjoy it. (I know that shopping for new clothes can be fun and I’m killing your buzz, but sorry. That’s the financial planner part of me coming out. If buying a new outfit will motivate you, fine. But limit yourself to one outfit. I wear the same yoga pants every day for at least 5 days before washing, so you’ll be fine.)
To recap, here are the four tips/suggestions I discussed in today’s post:
- Do you know why you want to do this?
- Determine ahead of time how much time you realistically have.
- What sacrifices are you willing to make?
- You don’t need new workout/yoga clothes before you can begin.
I hope that you find these tips helpful as you begin your journey.
Looking back at my own year-long daily yoga journey, the woman I was at the beginning of 2021 is not the woman I am today. Taking on that 30-day yoga challenge gave me the confidence to believe that I can be someone who creates and follows routines and habits (something I previously thought wasn’t for me). It led me to take on other new challenges and my life evolved in a positive direction from there.
If you’re considering a practice such as daily yoga, you might experience the same life-changing benefit. Maybe you don’t continue doing yoga all year long, but maybe you discover something else about yourself that you didn’t know existed. Maybe it gives you renewed confidence in yourself, too, and you start down a new path that you previously didn’t think was possible.
The possibilities are endless, mama. I hope that however way your journey unfolds, it leads you to a place of peace and happiness. And, of course, that you come away feeling calmer than when you started.
I’d love to hear how your journey goes! Leave a comment here or send me a DM over on Instagram.