I recently read an article by YouGov about the four most popular New Years' resolutions. It said that the most common promises people make to themselves are exercising more, saving money, eating more healthily, and losing weight.
On Instagram back in January, I heard many people talking about how they wanted to have a healthier new decade. They wanted to stay active, be healthier, and have better self-esteem. Reading through all these posts, I immediately thought of yoga!
I'm normally more skeptical of trends, but I found this one interesting. It can actually be an intense workout and it looked more enjoyable than hitting the treadmill every day. It's also been proven to increase flexibility, energy, muscle strength and tone, and improve anxiety and depression.
It's March, which means you might have slacked off your New Year's Resolution, but this is the time to get back on track. What better time to improve yourself than self-quarantine?
I decided to do an entire week of different yoga routines! Each day, I tried out a routine that was intended to help with something different and the results were awesome. Stick around until the end for my final recap!
On Monday, I forced myself to wake up around 7 o'clock. Because this was pretty early for me on a day off, where I would normally sleep in, I decided to take it slow.
This routine is perfect for those weekend mornings when you're trying to get up early but still be rested throughout the day. I'm NOT a morning person, but I've found that if I wake up slowly and mindfully, my day gets so much better!
This video is slow, sweet, and to-the-point...everything you need if you're practicing early in the morning! Normally I get annoyed by breathing techniques, but I actually really loved that about this video. The inhaling and exhaling made me calmer and helped me get deeper stretches. I also felt more mindful for the rest of the day. I definitely felt more in touch with my body. I also didn't notice quite as much of the snapping, cracking, and popping dancers are oft to experience. My whole body was just looser and I felt more comfortable.
If you're looking for a simple introduction to yoga that will make you more intentional throughout your day (and get a secretly killer inner-thigh workout in), this is for you!
Day 2: Power Yoga
On Tuesday, yoga was taking the place of my regular workout, so I wanted something challenging! I did another Yoga with Adriene routine. I've liked these practices because she's intentional about having you use your breath and do what she calls "quality over quantity movement."
I was a little bit disappointed with the routine at the beginning because it was slow and didn't seem to be pushing me as far as my normal workouts do. I liked the relaxed pace but I wanted something more challenging.
Even though I didn't feel as stretched during this one, I was anxious on Tuesday, and this routine definitely helped me relax. At the end of the video, Adriene led a sequence of yogi bicycle kicks, and that definitely helped kick the video up a notch!
Day 3: Flexibility Yoga
One of the main appeals of yoga is that it not only strengthens your body and mind, but it helps you with your flexibility! Like I mentioned before, I'm a dancer, which makes flexibility important. I liked this flow because it made me feel a lot looser and I got a pretty good stretch. It wasn't as challenging as say going into the splits would be, but this routine is good for a moderate stretch on the days when you might be more sore.
Day 4: Yoga for Bedtime
Yoga is supposed to be relaxing, and this night yoga routine is definitely that! This isn't the yoga routine you're going to want to use if your goal is to lose weight or stay active, but definitely for you if you're trying to achieve peace of mind.
As you can see, Yoga with Adriene has undoubtedly become my favorite yoga YouTuber this week! Her videos are some of the best tutorials I've found. This night yoga flow is only 20 minutes long and stretches out your body to relax from the day and really calms you down. I was only a little tired starting the flow, but was fighting back sleep by the end!
Day 5: 30 Minute Power Yoga Flow
It's no secret I like my workouts to be short and effective! I opted for 10-20 minute workouts for most of this week, but I wanted to do a little more on the last day of this challenge. I chose a 30-minute flow that focused on your core and glutes from POPSUGAR Fitness on Youtube. (I found all of my yoga workouts on Youtube.) This one was just a few minutes longer and I really loved it!
The instructor worked you through several sequences slowly and clearly, letting you hit each position correctly, then speed it up. I found it super easy to follow along. This one had so many new poses and I felt it probably more than any of the other routines! The 30 minutes passed quickly.
I walked into this challenge having never tried yoga, and I walked out actually loving it! Yoga is very versatile. You can pick flows that will help you in whatever specific area. If you want something for anxiety, try meditation or calming yoga. If you want a real workout, look for something with 'power yoga' in the title. If you're trying to tone one specific area of your body (abs, balance, arms, etc.), just look up yoga that will help with that particular part.
All in all, I would consider this challenge a success! I don't know if I'll do it every day like I did this week, but I'm open to trying some more. What do you think: would you try yoga? Tag me @pen2paperblog on Instagram or Pen2Paper on Facebook if you do so I can see! What other 5 day challenges should I try?
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I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Remember to stay safe and stay inside. Ciao, Zoe.