I ended up taking an unanticipated blog-break last week. Because . . . last week? It was A LOT.
Just . . . A LOT.
(Any way you slice it.)
I feel like I've been holding my breath for a really, really long time now. I keep thinking that I'll be able to (finally) let it out again. But, no. Still holding it.
I had a blog post nearly ready for last Thursday, but my heart just wasn't in it. So here it is today. . . a Three-on-Thursday on a Monday.
Many, many years ago, Tom and I took the kids on an Epic Family Vacacation Through the American West, with an ultimate destination of Bozeman, Montana (where Tom had a conference to attend). We hit as many National Parks and Memorials as we could along the way, enjoying the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Devil's Tower and Bighorn Canyon. (We won't talk about one kid pushing the other kid into the Lamar River in Yellowstone. Or how tempted we were to drive away from a raging kid in the parking lot at Devil's Tower.) (Long family car trips. What can I say? ) We have a lot of fun(ny) family memories. And that's what it's all about, right? Anyway. When we finally drove into Montana, we were greeted by a speed limit sign that looked a lot like the one in the photo above.
Reasonable and prudent.
I thought this would be a good way to continue . . . my yoga post from last Monday. Because after I wrote that post - and inspired a lot of you to give yoga a try - I had conversations with several of you that made me realize I maybe should take that yoga post . . . a little bit further. So, in the spirit of Three on Thursday, here are three more thoughts about . . . yoga. . . and watching for speed traps . . . on a Monday. (Please bear with me here.)
- Be Reasonable and Prudent about developing your yoga practice! There are many benefits to doing yoga. So many. And you can reap these benefits . . . by establishing a regular and consistent yoga practice. Now, what "regular and consistent" means is totally up to each of us individually. Kind of like that "reasonable and prudent" speed limit sign we encountered in Montana. Sure, Adriene touts doing yoga-every-day, and she comes up with a nicely packaged 30-day program each month so it's possible. BUT . . . that doesn't mean we need to DO yoga every day. Last Monday, I explained that yoga has made a huge difference for me as I deal with rheumatoid arthritis. And - until quite recently - I only did yoga once a week! My regular and consistent yoga practice . . . had me going to a studio yoga class once a week, every week -- for years.
So if doing yoga every day doesn't work for you -- because you already have a fitness program and you're just looking to add a bit of yoga to it, for example, or because you're working or have kids at home (or both!) and can't fit an every-day ANYTHING into your life, or because your body needs time to recover after a yoga practice - then be . . . "reasonable and prudent" about what's "regular and consistent." Maybe your 30-day program takes 30 weeks of once-a-week yoga. That's just fine. You'll still get the benefits -- if you keep practicing, regularly and consistently. It is absolutely not necessary to do yoga every day to get the benefits of yoga! (And it's absolutely okay to ignore the words "30 day" before any "challenge.") (What is that about, anyway?) (But I digress.)
- Start at the beginning! Although Adriene claims that this particular new 30-day program is designed for anyone, I have a feeling that if you've never tried yoga before, well . . . it might seem to be too much. Maybe a little intimidating. Perhaps trying yoga at a slower pace might give you the confidence you need to stick with a regular and consistent practice. Here are some links to Adriene's beginner level classes that might be worth checking out:
Yoga for Beginners - Here are six classes from Adriene that move at a slower pace, provide beginner-level instruction, and demonstrate more modifications for poses (and ways to ease into them) than the current 30-day program does.
Foundations of Yoga - Adriene has also done a series of shorter videos, each featuring the "foundations" of various yoga postures. This is a great series if you want more specific instruction in some of the basic yoga poses (or even some of the more advanced poses). It's ideal for when you're trying to figure out just what you're "supposed to be" doing to get yourself into all these poses.
- Modify! Although Adriene does talk about modifications in this new 30-day yoga series, she doesn't demonstrate them quite as much as I hoped she might. Here is my modification advice for you:
First, don't force anything! Only bend or reach or twist as far as it's comfortable for you to do. (If you keep up with a regular and consistent practice, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be bending or reaching or twisting further.)
Second, keep a small pillow or rolled up towel nearby and use it to . . . prop whatever seems to need propping. And keep a dining room chair nearby to hold onto whenever you feel wobbly or out of balance. There is no "cheating" in yoga -- only supporting. Meet yourself where you are - and make good use of your props. (Again, as you do yoga regularly and consistently, you'll notice yourself reaching for props less often.)
Third, try everything -- but rest when you need to. You can pause the video, or you can just let it continue on while you rest until you're ready to jump back in. It's not "cheating." It's meeting yourself where you are. And that's what yoga is all about.
So, if you tried the yoga thing last week and you were finding it a little bit too much for right now - either schedule-wise or body-wise, maybe you'll consider trying it again. Just a little slower.
Like . . . at whatever speed seems reasonable and prudent to you!
And here's to a good, safe, and non-eventful week for all of us.
(I'd really like to exhale, y'know?)
I agree completely Kym. I think Adrienne's 30 day Breath program is definitely NOT a beginner program. I've lost my ability to do a lot of yoga poses and flows after not being in the studio for over a year, so I am taking it slow. It is so true that if you practice routinely you will be amazed at how much further you can go! (And those Yoga Jellies are a game changer for me - they work!!)
Posted by: Vera | 01/11/2021 at 08:51 AM
No kidding on " I really would like to exhale!"
My 'new' again, journey with yoga, I can tell and 'feel' it is moving into the success column, not that Im 'good' at Yoga , but I SHOW up every week! The two biggest difference I noticed this time are, Natalie has slowed the class down for my sister and I, and really teaching us how to use our breath. I'm starting to breath in and out correctly while doing poses, which means I can do the poses correctly and better than I have ever done before.
Thank goodness for practicing breathing, especially last week.
Posted by: Eileen | 01/11/2021 at 08:53 AM
As per usual with yoga, this is so applicable to anything we undertake in this life!
Posted by: Carolyn | 01/11/2021 at 09:01 AM
Oh yes! That first day of the Breath practice was hard! I am not new to yoga so I kind of know how to modify and I am not ashamed to pull back to child’s pose for a rest. The breathe exercises are perfect for me right now - on and off the mat
Posted by: Juliann | 01/11/2021 at 09:11 AM
Perfect. I did a couple of Adriene's targeted videos on Wednesday morning -- and if there was a day to do some feel good self-care, man, that was it!! I can't/won't be doing a daily practice, had hoped that it might be 2x/week (with an added weekend day) but with one weekend behind me... nope. Not every weekend, anyway. And I'm really not a fan of many poses/flow, so I'm going to stick to picking & choosing, at least for now. It's my practice, and I'll modify if I want to!
Posted by: Vicki | 01/11/2021 at 09:37 AM
I’m lucky that my yoga studio has gone to live streaming. The class schedule is not as full as it was in the “Before Time” but that’s ok. Right now I do yoga two to three times a week which is perfect. I love that I have my favorite teacher who encourages modification and taking a break in child’s pose when needed. Props! The best investment I made was a set of blocks and a strap. I’m thinking about ordering the wrist jellies as I’m having some issues. I need to check
Posted by: Geri | 01/11/2021 at 09:46 AM
I love this post. And I agree that the 30 day Breathe practice is not really geared to beginners. I've been doing yoga 2-3 times/week since September and some of these are challenging for me. Modifications are the key and, as someone who struggles to meet challenges and Get It Right it's important for me to remember that modifying isn't cheating.
Posted by: Carole | 01/11/2021 at 10:57 AM
Thank you for this, Kym. I feel a little guilty each morning when I see the day's email from Adriene that I haven't started yet -- but I'm reminding myself that it is just fine to treat it as 30 days of yoga rather than a 30-day yoga challenge. I'm already walking for about an hour and ten minutes every day, plus doing all the schlepping around the house, so my body probably doesn't want me pushing it any further on a regular basis. So when I'm ready for some stretching, I'll do a day. Maybe I'll follow that with another right away, or maybe not, but it will be good for me no matter when I get to it.
Posted by: Sarah | 01/11/2021 at 12:36 PM
Thanks for this post! Adrienne's Breathe was clearly above my yoga skill level, so I've gone back to the Beginner. Ah, much better! I may even follow it with Foundations (instead of giving up in pain like I was considering before)!
Posted by: Bonny | 01/11/2021 at 12:56 PM
Thanks for the link to the beginner's video's. I am following the 30 days and I do what I can and rest or do other poses I know when it's too hard for me. I do enjoy the breathing segments as I had started doing breathing exercises through my watch and the Calm app. I have a co-worker on the west coast who joined me in the 30 days. I haven't done yoga in year's before starting this again. I've been saving the video's that I enjoy and will look for more after the 30 days. My plan is not to continue it daily but maybe 3 or 4 days a week as I need to get back to walking or my exercise bike at least 3 days a week. I have found I'm sleeping a little better most nights so that's a good thing. I did buy a knee pad and some wrist pads and those have helped me.
Posted by: Suzanne | 01/11/2021 at 06:44 PM
Missed Wednesday... then Friday; did two on Saturday (felt terrific to get through Day 6 in the morning, so I wanted to try Day 7 in the afternoon). Then came Sunday, and 6 & 7 came back to bite me in the ass, and hip flexors, and abs, and... Did 8 today and it was so needed.
I've done yoga on and off since I was a child (my mom was a wanna be hippie in the 60s and 70s), and have spent the last several years with a weekly Body Flow habit. Turning 60 this past week is my impetus for keeping my body moving and mind intentional.
Thanks, again, Kym, for introducing us to this.
Posted by: Mary | 01/11/2021 at 08:32 PM
You make it look like if you take yoga a step at time you can succeed!!!!! Ive never tried it. However.......you have me thinking.....
Posted by: kathy b | 01/11/2021 at 08:58 PM
As a former yoga instructor the thing I always tell new students is to try different types of yoga (and different teachers) because one kind definitely doesn’t work for everyone. Personally, I taught and love ashtanga vinyasa and cannot stand hatha or bikram. But plenty of people love hatha and bikram and don’t like all the movement of ashtanga vinyasa. If you aren’t feeling it, try a different type or instructor.
Posted by: Lora | 01/11/2021 at 11:01 PM
I was off-line most of last week and it's weird and also comforting to check back in. I did two pilates workouts over the weekend and that also felt weird ... and comforting. Thank you for a post that acknowledges the weird and embraces the comfort!
Posted by: Mary | 01/12/2021 at 05:55 PM