I have always thought yoga was cool- I have a bit of a “Bohemian soul” that yoga speaks to. I’ve tried take yoga classes several times throughout my life. But, as you know if you have ever attended a yoga class, they like to maintain a quiet, calm environment. I always end up sitting in the back giggling, so it never really worked out for me. I wasn’t trying to be rude, the giggling was totally justified. You see, the instructor would say something hilarious like, “Let’s start with a gentle warm up. Everyone bend down and touch your toes.” Which is obviously funny- who can just bend down and touch their toes? Absurd.
I have never been flexible. Ever. Not even as a kid. Never in my life have I been able to just reach down and touch my toes, which is why I find it so funny that it is considered a warm-up move. People are usually surprised when I tell them this- I have a smallish frame and I am in decent shape. But that isn’t where flexibility lives, it’s a whole different kind of fit.
So I’ve always just stuck with running, you know, playing it safe. I feel confident I can run successfully- make it from point A to point B: success. Then, one day this past spring I was watching something on tv and I moved to my stomach to get more comfortable. I propped my head up with my hands and must have stayed there a bit too long because when I went to move, my body did not want to go with me. I was stiff and sore from laying in that basic position. I actually had to roll to the side to get up. That that was the moment I realized I needed to change something. It came down to a life style choice- the ability to move or not to move, that was in question. I’ll be turing 39 this year and I knew that if I didn’t make a habit of fluid movement, I’d be visited by stiff and sore a whole lot more in the years to come.
Yoga seemed like the most appropriate solution, so I swallowed my non-toe-touching pride and jumped in. (Ok, well you don’t jump into yoga- more like folded in.) I knew that I couldn’t handle a public class, so I took a recommendation and started a home practice with an instructor on YouTube- Yoga with Adriene. I highly recommend her if you are in the market for a YouTube yoga instructor. Adriene is great and she didn’t expect me to be able to touch my toes on day one. Even through video she managed to really meet me where I was, which was inflexible in awkward.
Now, I’m an all in type. I don’t do well with occasionally. (Exhibit A: I am a terrible blogger) I tend to stick to things better if they are all the time. So I went full force into this whole yoga adventure. First, I committed to 30 days of yoga straight. Then somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to up the ante and do yoga everyday for an entire year. I figured that would create a solid habit, right? It hasn’t always been convenient (picture me doing yoga in a hotel room while my family was sleeping after a full day at Disneyland) and I don’t always feel motivated, but I’m sticking to it. More days than not I find that yoga sets me in a good mood and feels pretty good too, especially when my muscles are tight after a run. I still laugh from time to time at my own lack of flexibility, but I can feel and see myself getting stronger and I’ve starting infusing a few simple moves as stretch breaks throughout my day.
As of today, I have done a yoga practice 66 days in a row. And guess what, I can now bend down and reach my toes anytime I want!