Yoga Every Day

Monday, December 04, 2017

I've had stiff, tight hips all my life, but since there's not much reason to sit cross-legged once you're out of kindergarten, I've just put up with it. I knew that being so inflexible wasn't good for me (tight hips can actually lead to back pain and all sorts of other problems) but I never made much of an effort to solve for it.

Last month I decided it was time to stop shrugging it off and do something about it. Somewhere along the line, this has turned into the year of taking supposed "things I can't change" as a personal challenge. I've dived head-first into learning all I can about my health, digestion, hormones, gut and mental health because I truly believe it pays off to be in tune with my body. Since writing this post, I've become even more determined to investigate and remedy the parts of my health that I've ignored in the past — tight hips included.

For me, this meant pulling out my yoga mat and starting to practice again. I've done yoga on and off in the past - mostly off. I would always get impatient when I didn't see changes right away. I've done three days of warrior lunges and happy baby, why can't I do a split yet?  This time, I'm trying not to focus on change so much as how I feel. It's led me to rediscover a truth I had forgotten: yoga makes me feel really good!

I've been using Yoga with Adriene's program because she literally has a yoga video for everything! Not only that, but she is such a joy to spend time with (even if she is in my computer screen). Her sense of humor has had me laughing on the mat more times than I can count, and even though it's not a live class, she always seems to know the exact moment to offer advice or form suggestions.

Practicing daily has helped me notice things that I hadn't paid attention to before, like where I hold tension in my body and which muscles are the tightest after sitting all day. It's also taught me that yoga isn't something that you master; it's an everyday practice. Some days, I can't do poses that I was able to do the day before. Each practice differs as my body and muscles go through different phases. I keep circling back to this notion of being mindful, whether it's about the food that I'm eating or the way that I'm feeling. I truly believe that our bodies talk to us if we'll just listen. Spending time on the mat is a great way to do that.

This month, I'm following along with Adriene's December calendar, although sometimes I'll mix it up if I'm looking for something specific based on my other workouts during the week. Her videos are all different lengths so it's easy to find something to fit your schedule. Her 10-minute videos have saved me from scrapping my practice altogether on nights when I just want to fall into bed.

I still can't sit cross-legged, but I'm seeing progress. Most importantly, I'm enjoying the process of stretching, twisting, and finding my breath on the mat. If nothing else, I'm learning how nice it is to stop my thoughts for 30 minutes and (to steal Adriene's mantra) find what feels good. This isn't a sponsored post or a thing of the sort - I just really enjoy Adriene's spirit and videos. If you're looking for a guided yoga practice this winter, I highly recommend giving her videos a shot. And, if you join her December schedule, let me know so we can follow along together!

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