Despite being an avid at-home yogi for years, on hard days when I feel tired, sore, or grumpy, it's often easier to talk myself out of doing yoga than talking myself into it. But this new year brought with it a lot of changes. In January I moved to a new country where I knew no one, started a new job, and juggled three different writing jobs on the side. Yoga has never failed to make me feel more calm, centered, and confident, and with such a crazy month ahead, I knew that the best thing I could do for myself to help me through this transition would be to carve out some me-time each day to chill out.
So, on January 2, I committed to doing 30 days of yoga in a row. The rules? I had to do at least 10 minutes of yoga per day. It didn't have to be in a studio, it didn't even have to be following an online video, but I had to commit to at least ten minutes of some sort of yoga flow per day.
For most of the 30 days, I followed the videos from the True 30 Days of Yoga challenge on YouTube, taught by Adrienne Mischler, who runs the channel Yoga with Adriene. These videos were short, had a theme I could easily focus on to keep my brain from running off in anxious circles, and were not so rigorous that I couldn't do them straight out of bed, in pajamas, at 6:30 each morning. There were a few days, however, when I was feeling so overwhelmed that even the soothing tones of Adriene couldn't calm me, and on those days, I made up my own flow, using poses like child's pose, pigeon, cobbler's pose and forward fold to help me relieve the tension I could feel crawling its way through my muscles.
There were also three days when I didn't do any yoga at all. I have no regrets for two of them, as I spent these days catching up with friends and felt just as light-hearted and open after seeing them as I would have from a good old flow practice.
The third day I skipped, however, was an insanely stressful day. I had just moved to Dublin and was having trouble finding work and a flat, and instead of rolling out my mat for some much-needed calm, I went to bed nervous, tense, and had a terrible night's sleep. Getting up the next day and doing sun salutations made me realise how beneficial even two minutes of yoga would have been the night before, and now, even when I feel like my day is entirely too busy to fit in a flow, I make sure I do, because I know how much better I'll feel afterward.
Doing yoga consistently this past month has made me feel so much calmer. I also feel more able to tackle the (many) challenges that life has thrown at me in the past month. After finishing my flow each morning, I feel like an absolute superwoman, confident and capable enough to do anything and achieve everything. Thanks to this challenge, I'm also sleeping better. I rarely wake up in the middle of the night now (which I used to do almost nightly before this challenge) and I've felt well-rested enough to power through even the busiest days. My digestion has also been great, despite all the traveling I've had to do and the two weeks before moving into my flat when I was eating out every day.
Seeing all those Instagram posts touting #yogaeverydamnday might make you feel like you can't possibly achieve such a feat, but I'm here to tell you that if you can squeeze even ten minutes of yoga into each day, you'll feel like a calmer, more well-rested, happier person, and isn't that what we all want?
New to yoga? Start off with Popculture.com's 31-Day Yoga Challenge! You'll follow along daily to increase your flexibility and yoga skills. Each day you will be assigned a new yoga pose to learn and master, allowing you to become more familiar with your body, mind and spirit.