In mid-December 2020, when I first learned about Yoga with Adriene’s Breath: A 30 Day Yoga Journey, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it. What I didn’t know was just how transformative it would prove to be.
In today’s post, I’ll let you in on how it felt to go through her thirty-day yoga journey as I share the feelings and emotions that came up for me throughout the journey. By sharing my experiences, I hope that you’ll be inspired to take your own thirty-day yoga journey.
I. Caught. COVID-19.
Yeah. THAT happened. And one of the first thoughts I had was, “Great, I’m already going to have to back out of my thirty-day yoga commitment before it even begins.” While sick, I didn’t practice any yoga or any type of activity that didn’t involve lounging around in my pajamas. Thankfully, I never fell horribly ill and by the time January 1st rolled around, I felt well enough to return to my yoga mat.
Take that, COVID!
30 Days of Yoga: Week One
Just before noon on day five of my yoga journey, I was alarmed by a pain in my chest. This was a new pain I’d never felt before and it scared me enough to spike my anxiety and heartrate. I immediately rushed to my doctor.
Under her direction, I went to the emergency room. I was released a little after sundown, with the diagnosis of costochondritis – a lingering inflammation symptom of many COVID patients and those with other respiratory colds or infections.
Relieved that it wasn’t anything worse, I still managed to step onto my yoga mat that evening, knowing full well that if I felt uncomfortable, I could always stop. That practice felt amazing. I spent the entire time thinking how wonderful it is to be alive.
30 Days of Yoga: Week Two
By day 14, having never completed that many days of yoga in a row, I started to get emotional for no reason and felt anxiety rise up in my throat and chest. Knowing that I tend to carry stress in my shoulders, I wondered if all the yoga was triggering an emotional release similar to what I experience the day after a good massage. That morning, I decided to do a tapping meditation to see if it would help. It led me to cry my eyes out.
2020 was an extremely emotional and stressful year for me (as I’m sure it probably was for you, too). During this second week of yoga, I started to think that maybe all the heart-opening poses were peeling away layers, with each layer shed allowing for deeper emotional healing.
I realized then that this yoga journey was much more than just getting back in touch with my breath. For me, it was becoming a way to release stress, stresses that I didn’t realize I was still carrying.
30 Days of Yoga: Week Three
The day after I cried, I had this to say over on Instagram:
I’m proud of myself for making it through 14 days of yoga! Today is day 15 (out of 30) and I feel giddy.”
That day, the start of week three, I asked the Yoga with Adriene “Find What Feels Good” community about my experiences over the first two weeks and others shared with me that they, too, felt the same way. I wasn’t alone.
I started the yoga journey because I thought it would be a fun way to challenge myself, to develop a healthier relationship with my breath, but I never thought about the emotional component of it. I’ve never been one to feel any sort of emotional breakthrough on the mat, so that was a whole new experience for me.
On day 15, I felt like a heavy cloud had been lifted. I didn’t even realize how dark I’d been walking around until that day. Yoga was turning out to be extremely therapeutic.
30 Days of Yoga: Week Four
On day 24, I felt extra giddy. It’s unusual for me to feel so cheerful, so when I’m like that, I always notice.
On days 23 and 24, my downward dogs started to finally feel like I was doing them right! I’ve always known that you’re supposed to grip into your fingertips, but I’ve always felt like my weight was always just going into my wrists. I never knew how to correct it. But then, it corrected itself on day 23. I thought, “Whoah, so THAT’S what it’s supposed to feel like.“
By this point in the journey, I’d felt incredibly proud of the progress I’d made and I started noticing little things shift for me while off the mat (like sitting up straighter and being able to lift my leg in the shower to shave with ease). I was pumped to see how the final week was going to play out!
On Day 24, in the “Find What Feels Good” community, we were asked:
Are you finding that your yoga practice is spilling off your mat and into your everyday life, either in small ways or big ways?”
My answer: “I’m definitely more energetic, not in the sense that I’m bouncing around as though I drank too much coffee, but in the sense that my mood is lighter and so I’m mentally wanting to be more productive (a big difference compared to most of 2020).“
I still feel that way today.
30 Days of Yoga: The Final Days
On day 28’s practice, the theme was “Heal.” I thought nothing of it when I was on the mat. I just did my 20 minutes of yoga before bed, and turned in for the night.
Then, a crazy thing happened.
Laying in bed, about to fall asleep, I randomly thought about an event that happened to me in 2009 and I started crying. It caught me off guard.
“Why the eff am I thinking about this and crying about this right now? That was so long ago. What the heck?”
Then, I remembered that day’s yoga theme: heal.
Crap. Apparently, it was time to shed another layer and heal another emotional wound.
I thought about what I could say to the Lauren of 2009 to help her heal. So I told her the truth: “You did nothing wrong. You are an honest person. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t your fault.”
When I first started crying, I thought, “Oh, Lord, I’m going to be crying forever!” But as soon as I told myself those words, my crying slowed down, I took a deep breath, inhaled lots of love in, exhaled lots of love out, and I fell peacefully to sleep.
30 Days of Yoga: The Last Day
Anxious to know what day 30 was going to be (because until then, we didn’t have information other than the word “BEGIN”), I checked my email first thing in the morning (something I NEVER do) and looked for an email from Adriene. She explained that, for day 30, she would take off her mic and would practice yoga alongside us.
This should be interesting.
And it was interesting. I tried to predict what our next move would be and most of the time, I was right. Sometimes, I was in sync with Adriene, other times I was a few beats behind. The whole time, I kept mentally hearing Adriene say, “inhale lots of love in, exhale lots of love out.”
What was the most shocking to me though, for that final practice, was how I about lost it and nearly boo-hoo cried (in a good way) during our first mountain pose. I don’t know if it was because of the energy of the pose or the playlist she selected for that day’s practice. I really don’t know. But, it was a new experience for me. Because, like I said before, I’m not usually one to get emotional ON my mat. And even if I did, mountain pose would be the last place I’d expect that to happen.
Of course, I really almost lost it just before we said “Namaste.” I know that was 100% because I could tell Adriene was about to lose it herself. I’m pretty sure she sat there crying afterward. Bless her heart. I loved doing her yoga videos before this journey. And now, I just love her.
My Final Thoughts
I did yoga every damn day for thirty days.
I did that! Yes, me.
I don’t think I’ve ever committed to doing anything for thirty days (before you think it, marriage and having kids don’t count). I’m usually the one who says I hate routines and doing something for thirty days sounds pretty damn routine. However, it never felt routine because I never practiced at the same time every day. And each video was different, no two ever felt the same.
To think that around this time last year, I was still only doing diastasis recti safe yoga poses and workouts. I never thought that I’d be sitting here today, able to hold a plank for longer than every member of my household (yes, we had a friendly, family competition). I can lift up my six-year-old now without even thinking twice about it. My core feels strong!
Physical accomplishments aside, I feel similar to how I felt after the first time I delivered one of my kids without any pain medications – I feel like a superwoman! Unstoppable. Unbreakable. (Is that a Carrie Underwood song?)
- … inspired to take on more 30 day challenges.
- … like all the yucky stress from 2020 has been sweated out, cried out, and released.
- … excited about the future (though still very uncertain).
Most notably, I have hope.
I’m pleased to report that I’m still doing yoga every day. By the time this post goes out, I will have been doing yoga for 38 days. My hope is that I can continue to use a yoga calendar (like the one Adriene put together) to help me stay consistent with practicing yoga every day.
While I’ve always been a fan of yoga since discovering it to help manage pain, I’m now officially obsessed. (I’m going to have to go buy more yoga pants.)
My hope is that by continuing my daily yoga practice, I can prevent stress from permeating into all cracks and crevasses of my life. Yoga can be a key part of my preventative medicine rather than something I only turn to when I want to workout.
Thank you, yoga and Adriene, for helping me let go of the old so that I can make room for the new.
Interested in Doing Yoga for 30 Days?
If you think you might want to try doing yoga every day for thirty-days like I did, you can learn more about Yoga with Adriene’s “Breath: A 30 Day Journey” here.
If you decide to participate, let me know so I can cheer you along! If you’ve already completed Yoga with Adriene’s Breath, I’d love to hear how your experience went. Drop your comment below or sent me a DM on Instagram.