The Thirty Days of Yoga Challenge

Yesterday was my last day of university classes. Forever (or at least, until I decide to return to university to turn my Rhetoric degree into a double major with the Classics department). I just have a couple of papers to write and 2 exams towards the end of April, and then I’m done- graduated! This is incredibly exciting. Also it’s a little intimidating.

Over the next month, I’ll be rather busy: I have to find someone to sublet my apartment (the person who was going to take it decided not to just a couple days ago- gah!), move into my new condo (I get possession in exactly two weeks!), finish a couple major assignments for university, write two exams, and try to find a “real job” now that I have marketable skills. At the same time, there’s a bunch of smaller projects that I’m committed to; writing articles and doing some work for the women’s group my mum is a part of and working on a health book and that sort of thing.

Actually, now that I’ve written that out, it doesn’t seem nearly as frighteningly busy of a month as it did when it was all just running through my head. *Breathes sigh of relief.*

To ward off the stress levels and potential freak-outs that may occur over the next month, I’ve decided that for the month of April I’m going to do yoga every day. My nutritionist Nicole strongly recommended some time ago that I start doing yoga to help with my sleeping problems, emotional eating issues, and all-around wellness. I’ve known for years that I “ought” to do yoga regularly, but it’s one of those things that I always find excuses for. It’s about time for another Living Healthy in the Real World Fitness Challenge, so a month of yoga sounds perfect to me! I’ve practiced yoga very sporadically in the past; when I was in junior high, I used to do it at home in front of a video with the mother dear and the sistertraveller, and over the past couple years I have visited yoga studios for classes a handful of times. That’s pretty much the extent of my yogi background.

So, last week I practiced 1 hour of yoga. It felt amazing. I was refreshed and rejuvenated all day long.

Although taking yoga classes eats up time and money incredibly fast, there are plenty of free downloadable yoga classes and programs online (Dear Internet: I love you.). YogaDownload has a variety of different yoga classes that you can buy, but it also has free downloads for the 20-minute sessions. And who knows? Maybe I’ll splurge and take a yoga class in a studio with an instructor once or twice during this month, too.

Incorporating yoga into my life isn’t something that I see as a “task among many”- rather, I see it as an asset, a way to more effectively accomplish what I need to do in the day. An hour a day is too long for me to want to devote to it, at least right now, so the 20-minute sessions are the perfect length of time.

I won’t be writing up a daily account during the month of April regarding my yoga experience (especially because our Budgeting mini-series is already underway!), but I’ll definitely do a re-cap at the end of the month and perhaps discuss yoga partway through the month as well.

What is your favourite way to de-stress? Do you practice yoga? Why or why not? Will you be participating in this 30-day Yoga Challenge?

We’ll return to the Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Budgeting mini-series on Monday!

18 Comments

  1. Sagan,
    A big congrats to YOU on finishing up your university classes!! Woohoo!!!

    And while the month may be busy….I am sure you are prepped and ready for whatever it brings! And yoga sure does sound like a great way to de-stress. While I haven’t done much yoga, per se – I find it very relaxing to start my days in moments of silence. It connects me to a good spot, and sets the day in the right direction.

    Best to you in ALL that lies ahead!!!

  2. Wow – congratulations on finishing your classes, Sagan! This is SUCH an exciting time in your life. Enjoy this time, although I’m sure it will be/is a blur. You have so much ahead of you!

    I absolutely love yoga. I was away from it for a few years because I didn’t want to pay for classes, so instead, I’ve joined a gym where it is free! I go twice a week now, and I’m also going to try my best to do your yoga challenge. I’m more comfortable doing yoga on my own at home (and maybe some Yoga Downloads), and I love the peace it brings me. I’m a difference person when I’m practicing, in a good way. Thanks for the challenge!

  3. Congratulations Sagan!!! Now you are off into “The Big Chill!” (It’s an old movie worth seeing, by the way). Running is my primary de-stress. I’ve done yoga, and tried Tai Chi, but that was too slow for me with my Karate background. I’m pretty intense so I use more intense activities for enjoyment. It works for me, I think.

  4. Congrats on graduation coming up!! That’s huge! And I love your yoga experiment! Yoga is hands down my fave exercise. It really does help with everything. The free vids on the Internet are good but in my opinion nothing beats taking a class from a qualified instructor to at least get you started! I’m excited to see how this goes for you.

  5. Lance- I like the idea of starting the day with a “moment of silence”. That’s such a nice idea.

    Holly- It’s interesting how we really do seem to unlock a new part of ourselves when we practice yoga. It’s different than doing other exercises because it takes all of your concentration, even though you’re allowing your mind to empty. I like that.

    Dr. J- I used to NEED intensity too. Part of the reason why I didn’t really do yoga up until now is because I’d get impatient with it; I thought it was too slow… I had to do boot camp or kickboxing or something like that to really FEEL the burn. I guess things change!

    Em- Thanks :)

    Charlotte- I agree that an instructor is necessary to get started. But I’ve taken classes in the past with instructors, so I have a decent understanding of the basics… a video is no in-person class, but it works in a pinch!

  6. For free yoga, check out video podcasts, too.
    I’ve been doing yoga for 26 years, and it took me 11 years before I established a daily practice. (Of course, it gets derailed now and then: I never push myself to practice when I’m sick, and there are times like this week when I’ve gotten home from work so late and so hungry that I couldn’t practice before eating, and bedtime comes too soon after supper. But mostly, I do yoga every day.)

    Dr. J– When I took a semester of karate, I made the instructor smile when I said the warm up exercises were yoga, but ten times too fast. : )

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  7. woohoo to finishing your classes, sagan! what an amazing feeling!

    my therapist has also recommended yoga and/or meditation to really focus on myself, to nurture myself and to really touch base with what is going on with myself. i’m a very action oriented person, so it’s difficult for me to truly just relax like that. i put it on my ‘things to do” list, but i rarely do it. one of these days i will incoroporate it more in my life. really!!!

  8. You’re right regarding my post, it WAS the cheese that added to the fat. It’s just a shame I fell for the “trick”. Buffalo burgers, they must be healthy! HA! I never expected those additions. I will try buffalo meat again though, plain next time.

  9. Mary Anne- Thanks for the tip! I had no idea you were a yogi :) I should get you to give me lessons, hehe.

    Love2eatinpa- Ahahaha that’s what I kept saying too- my nutritionist would ask me if I’ve done meditation work or yoga recently, and I’m sitting there squirming… which is honestly why I’m doing this as a “challenge”. It’s the only way that I know I’ll STICK WITH IT for a full month. And hopefully after that, I’ll continue to do it at least semi-regularly. But in the past I’d not bother with it because I’d be too impatient. Now I’m forcing myself to slow down… and it feels good.

    Gina- We always need to read ingredient lists! Considering that even a bag of frozen vegetables can have hidden sodium in there… yeah. Even when the packaging LOOKS as though it’s something good, we can never trust them. And definitely do try it again; bison meat is delicious.

  10. Gosh, so many exciting things happening all at once…you are in for quite an adventure, Sagan! Awesome, and I’m so excited for you…I know there are so much great things ahead! I’m sure it can be daunting and stressful…but I’ll bet the positives outweigh the negatives!
    And I hope you enjoy the yoga challenge! :-)

  11. Huge congrats on finishing school. You must be totally psyched. Change can be freaky but it all sounds freaky good and the yoga will only make it better. I used to do yoga about 3x a week when I lived in Austin and belonged to 24 hour fitness (their yoga classes were great!). I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my own “self practice” – home can be very distracting! Now I swim for relaxation, and take walks, but I do miss the yoga. Good luck with it and I look forward to reading about how it goes. And good luck with everything else, too!

  12. Intimidating, but oh the possibilities! Good for you, Sagan. I love yoga. I’ve been doing it on and off for about ten years, and I love it. I sometimes cheat on my yoga with pilates, and running and recently Aikido, but I keep returning. Never managed to still my mind completely though :)

  13. Congrats on finishing school! So exciting!

    Sometimes I practice yoga, but I prefer Pilates. There are some stretching in Pilates, but I cannot seem to calm myself enough to do yoga on a daily basis. What I do know is that when I practice yoga, especially right before bed, I sleep so well. I always feel refreshed after a 20 minutes session. You would think I would like to recapture that feeling all the time, but I don’t. I am still in the “need to burn more calories” mindset. So yes, practicing yoga daily would be a challenging for me as well.

  14. Sophia- Without a doubt, the positive outweigh the negatives.

    Monica- Definitely freaky good ;) Walking is always my favourite form of relaxation.

    Dee- I tend to group pilates and yoga together (*hides from wrath of true yogis/pilates-practitioners who would disagree*), and I think that Aikido could be considered a kind of yoga… when I was doing it for a while, it was really relaxing and made me FOCUS and learn how to breathe, all of which is similar to yoga.

    Asithi- I’m totally the same way of thinking that “I need to burn calories”; that’s what makes me impatient with yoga. Some of the yoga sessions I’ve been doing the last few days have been working with strength training, or they include weights, or they’re the “flow” classes that get the heart rate up a little bit higher. I find that doing these kinds of yoga accommodates for my “must burn calories” mindset.

    Jolene- I might trade some of my yoga sessions for pilates sessions during this month. I’ve done both of them before, and to me, they’re pretty interchangeable.

    Westwood- I don’t expect you would be much of a yoga fan ;) *must… feel… muscles… burning…*

  15. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

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