On Saturday 10th April 2021, I treated myself to a minimal cue, intermediate/advanced yoga flow.
The reason? To celebrate 100 consecutive days of yoga.
I wasn’t intending to commit to anything past 30 days. However, with a seemingly never-ending lockdown and a drive to do SOMETHING, I decided to see if I could manage 100 days.
I haven’t always been a yogi, by the way. For years, I didn’t stretch at all. After I became addicted to exercise in 2015, I dabbled in it now and then but never felt like I had the time (more on that later). In 2017, I started seeing a sports massage therapist and lived under the assumption that I no longer needed to stretch. That’s what I was paying him for, right?! Wrong.
In 2020, with the global pancetta-panini shutting everything, yoga became a regular companion in my routine. Although I didn’t practice daily, I would roll out my mat 2-3 times per week and get down to stretchy town.
For a while, it was my only form of exercise after I breathed funny one day and put my back out for a few months.
So back to 2021 and here I am. 100 days of yoga completed. The next challenge is to see if I can go the full 365.
I want to share with you some things I’ve learned over the past 100 days. All that time spent breathing can sure teach you a lot.
1. Every breath is a new beginning
Death is a common topic of conversation for me now. I’m lucky enough to have had both sets of Grandparents around since I was a kid. However, the illness and subsequent death of my Grandfather in 2019 was the beginning of a grieving process I had never experienced before. Largely the experience of delayed grief – it took a year for me to start fully processing what had happened.
I’ve lost a lot of extended family members to cancer, a childhood friend was left paralysed after a car accident at aged 19. Two people from my childhood have taken their own lives. Friends have lost babies. Parents. Other friends.
And that is before I look at the news.
I try not to be too morbid, but it certainly provides perspective. It allows for critical thinking, self-reflection. Am I who I want to be? Am I going in the right direction to become who I want to be?
With those questions, the first step to answering them is always the realisation that each breath we take presents an opportunity to start again.
Every breath is a new beginning.
2. You absolutely do have the time.
100 consecutive days of yoga sounds like a lot of yoga, doesn’t it?
But the truth is that some days, I couldn’t be bothered. It was a case of calling up those old friends willpower and self-discipline for a socially distanced get together.
Some days it was a simple 10mins. At lunchtime. Before bed. While I cooked pasta. After a glass of wine (not recommended).
HOW DID YOU EVEN FIND TEN MINUTES EVERY DAY?! I hear you cry.
Put the phone down. Turn Netflix off. Kick your partner out of the room. Put the phone down. Tell your mum her gossip about someone you can’t remember from school will have to wait. PUT THE PHONE DOWN.
See? Now you have 10 minutes.
3. Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.
The whole ‘woo-woo’ side of yoga is one that I swing back and forth on. Some days, I’m fully into the chakra stuff, the meditation and affirmations. Others I am simply there to stretch out these goddamn old lady hips. Know what I mean?
But the great thing about modern yoga is the flexibility it gives you to find exactly what you need in the practice and block out all the other crap.
I went to a ‘proper’ yoga studio a few times when I lived in the UK. It was fine. But it was very elitist. Very chanty. VERY serious and VERY VERY expensive.
I like to swear a little during my yoga sessions. Moaning, grunting, laughing while you’re in happy baby pose. Or when you fall. It all helps.
4. Size literally does not matter.
Not all yogis look like the ones you see in the videos. You can make yoga work for you at any size and that is exactly what I do.
I have big boobs, big thighs and a (usually) pizza filled stomach to navigate during my sessions. It’s physically difficult to breathe when I try to do a traditional child’s pose. I can’t swing my leg through seamlessly into a lunge. I have to take crow pose from a block.
But I do it and I make it work for me.
5. It’s okay to put trust in things you can’t always see.
In yoga, there is often a cue to close your eyes in the middle of a balancing pose. Or to return your feet to the floor without looking down. Maybe you do an entire sun salutation flow with your eyes shut. Or you try flying your crow pose for the first time but forget to engage your core properly and hit the floor face first (ensure
The lesson here is to trust that your mat and the ground will be there to catch you. The worst that will happen is you will fall flat on your face. Get up and try again. But maybe don’t wear your glasses this time.