So after an interesting and awkward week of getting to know my body in more ways than I thought when I challenged my self through the daily practice of yoga. I have put together this post to see what I have achieved. And damn I got so much further than I thought.
It all started with a massive stint of awful insomnia. I decided to get on that mat and refuse to give up. I can assure you, giving up sometimes feels like it is easier to do. Especially for me. I almost gave up on day 2! But the concequences of not having continued are far worse. Self destructing thoughts were not on the menu and neither was the term I can’t do it. And I am so beyond happy that I didn’t give up because I managed to achieve so much more than being able to comfortably put my hand on the floor without bending my knees. This negative energy is contagious. And is not the person I want to continue to be. This is the darker side of myself. Someone I know all too well. Helpful in times of fight or flight. But not an everyday friend. But I guess when you know your demons so well, it becomes easier to destroy them. And if destroying them isn’t an option, you can atleast learn to control them. I like to think of myself as someone who takes pleasure in trying new things. Mostly cultural and arts based I will admit. But through my entire life, I’ve had to have that darker self there to protect me. But I realise that it’s been over worked and is a little addicted to the limelight. And so I decided to stop this and bring back the positive and determined me.
Seven days ago I started a challenge that I had tried to attempt countless times before, but never got past day 3. This is the point in my life where I can say I am proud of myself for getting to day 7. And can honestly say that yoga is a part of my life that will stay and continue to be embedded into my daily routine, just like breathing and eating. It is food for the soul. In just a week I have been seeing and experiencing noticeable changes. Not only does my body feel stronger but it’s been helping my mind tackle other tasks with greater ease and confidence. My body has toned especially in my chest and stomach area, which is literally amazing and better results I have achieved from any other gym class or exercise routine I have tried in the past. I have dabbled in a large variety of sports too. But nothing I have done in the past even amounts to this new found adoration and utmost appreciation for yoga practice. My mind has been more focussed. I was a great procrastinator and an expert in doing nothing but convincing myself that I was busy.
I haven’t stopped in regards to trying to better other areas of my life. I rearranged my flat after the 3rd day of this challenge I decided to create an art and yoga studio. I’ve been non-stop productive since. And every time a spat of negativity enters my mind, I go straight to the mat. I breathe in and out, then play. By trying to ease myself in and create an enjoyable and calming area in my flat that inspires me to relax and think of the bigger picture. When I’m practicing yoga, I have been learning to experience a sense of stillness. It’s quite hard to explain. But whilst I am focussing on making those small changes during the different poses or asanas and focussing on breathing correctly, there is no time for any other thoughts apart from the goal in sight and the small constant changes that you are continuously teaching yourself to strengthen and control.
As you can see in the comparable photos below, there is a noticeable improvement of flexibility. A week ago I could not achieve putting my hands on the floor let alone my fingers. And now at day 7 they are flat on the floor. Almost comfortably. I would like to achieve my hands flat on the floor next to my feet in about a week with the Standing Forward Bend (Pada Hasthasana). I have been quite patient with myself this week. Taking it slowly and learning to understand the importance of breathing and learning when to push your body. I have seen dramatic improvements in my determination too. Not just with yoga, but with my general view on everything. A flexible mind aswell as a flexible body. My reaction speeds and awareness has become more apparent in the later days of 6/7.
I have noticed that even though I am not getting much sleep still maybe pushing 3 hours a night now of actual sleep, but still waking up randomly. I have felt far more energised and ready to tackle much harder asanas. Day One, yoga was incredibly hard and I didn’t like the pain at all. Day Two I had a meltdown but forced myself to attack that mat with everything I had, mostly driven by rage haha. Then Day Three, I decided to make this habit permanent. And I started to see the pain as where I needed to focus my breathing. With deep breathes and small adjustments, my body has started to really appreciate the stretching. And my mind appreciates the challenge and the journey of overcoming it.
I realise that I am being lazy with pushing myself in certain areas. The videos have benefited me in so many ways. I watch every video I have before bed and visualise myself doing better the next morning. And that has been helping a great deal. I am enjoying “playing” but I need to work on creating a flow that works for me and is focussed on improving overall strength and flexibility but also to increase my control over my body. Which is what I am going to work on creating over the next couple of weeks. But of course will change as my abilities improve.
I would like to be able to do a handstand in a year. I think that is achievable as I will need to increase my strength in my wrists and upper body. This is so exciting. It’s how I felt about ballet when I was a kid. I’d practice at every chance I got and practiced non-stop. It’s great because I do feel happier within and is making my anxiety seem smaller than it used to. I’m gaining control again everyday. And I’m doing everything I can with as much creativity and gratitude as I can. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve in 2 days let alone two months. But I guess that’s the fun of it, we will just have to wait and see.
I’d like to conclude in saying that now that I have tried and seen results in just over a week. I am 100% sure you would too. I started with only 10/15 minutes and slowly increased that time by 5 extra minutes everyday. And I am achieving things that I thought would take me years in the space of a week. Just believe in yourself and enjoy that time spent getting to know yourself better. If it feels weird, that’s normal too. It’s just like the first day of school. Awkward and painful, with a lot of embarrassing. But ignore all of that and just breathe. All of the asanas start to feel so incredibly natural, that you start to wonder why you hadn’t started sooner. I’d also listen to a motivational playlist with fun melodic beats and deep rythme. Start by playing. That’s literally why babies and children are like elastic bands. They are stretching and getting to know their bodies. Go see what you can do in a week. I pineapple dare you!
I hope you enjoyed this post. I had to fight off a lot of urges to punch my iPad due to frustration and held back a wonderful flurry of tears. Hi, I’m really emotional at the moment . But it’s cool. It’ll pass in a couple of days and I’ll be back to just being reasonably weird and whatever else I am. An excitable and culturally confused toddler stuck in an almost quarter century old body. I only realised my birthday is in 11 days and with the over eating of chocolate combined with my new addiction to the head rush of a headstand, I’m very weird about being that age. Because I genuinely feel five. But also 85 at the same time. What is life?
I’m going to stop before I hurt myself or my iPad and post this. I’ll try to post my illustrations of the day but they are on my camera and technology isn’t my friend at the moment. But I’ll be posting them eventually I promise!