31. Wednesday 31 January. Here we are! I did True Day 29 – Be Brave, my final yoga of January out on the deck this morning listening to the clatter of rubbish collection, plenty of birds, and Ella noisily eating a cicada.
I was a little stiff, a little creaky, I’ve been working long hours these last few days (and nights), but I didn’t mind, I knew it’d pass and to start slowly. I’m well aware of the ups and downs and the gentle bits and the fierce bits of the game by now.
So I just did yoga every day of January (except for the 13th – but I’ve done two yoga’s on a bunch of days, so I reckon it evens out 🙂 ). I guess I should try and share what I’ve learnt?
- I can do yoga. This may seem really obvious, but as I wrote back in my first ever blog about yoga, I have always self-identified as “terrible at yoga”. My whole life I had experienced yoga as this completely obnoxiously out of reach thing, that only people who were already good at it would ever do. I was freaked out by the idea that to do yoga you had to have flexible hips, flexible… everything else and be willing to float around sensing mystical energy fields (or at least talking about them). I have no issue with anyone who wants to talk about sensing mystical energy fields, but they’re not really part of my life or area of interest. Turns out that you can totally do those things, and equally validly not do those things, and still do yoga. Turns out getting on the mat, sitting cross legged, closing your eyes and breathing for a while can absolutely count as yoga. Turns out if you do that, it seems easier to carry on with some poses than stop once you’ve started.
- I can do yoga every day. This is another super obvious one, but like, even if you can do yoga how do you actually know you can do yoga every day until you try to do yoga every day? What if there’s a mysterious wizard that appears when you get out your mat and tries to fight you until you sit back down on the couch? What if there’s some secret formula of kombucha, crop tops and mantras that you need, and without it you are sure to fail? I learned that there is no mysterious wizard or secret formula; just really ordinary things. Getting up and doing something is harder than not getting up and doing it, your muscles get sore, some days you’re tired, some days you feel gross, some days your chronic pain is bad, some days you’d rather get rip roaringly drunk, some days you can’t be bothered. All of these things are valid reasons not to do yoga every day, and they’re also all super unexceptional. There’s nothing mystical about them, and there’s nothing mystical about doing it anyway.
- It doesn’t matter what it looks like. I think this is more important than finding out that I personally can, right now, do yoga every day. There have been lots of times over the past four years when I would not have been able to do this due to my physical health,and that’s also ok. It’s also ok not to go from a long time of being unwell to perfection. To achieve doing it every day, I had to realise that yoga looks like lots of things. Over this month it has looked like amazing progress, things I had no idea I could achieve, beautiful poses, impressive shapes – and it has also looked like lying on my mat in child’s pose for 20 minutes to see if I can work up the energy to do more, falling over, sitting down for 7 minutes of sleepy stuff instead of a full routine, altering routines to cater for injuries and pain, falling asleep on my mat. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes of fast dynamic flow. It doesn’t have to be straight legs and perfect balances without wobbles and flat tummies that don’t hang over the top of your leggings when you try and breathe through a vague approximation of an asshole of a pose that you absolutely cannot do. Knowing that even lying down grumpy sore yoga is still yoga makes a big difference in being able to do it.
- Things change fast. Seriously, in both directions. No two days are the same, no two sides are the same, expectations are pointless, and surprises are fun.
- It helps. When I’m sore, when I’m anxious, or sad, or tired, or restless, I’ve started to think “I bet there’s a yoga for that.” I’ve gone to the breathing to help me through mentally and physically hard stuff. I’ve started taking myself through a little neck and shoulder routine before bed to help me sleep without pain. When I’m stiff and sore in the morning or after a run or a big day, I want to get on the mat because I know it might be harder than usual but it will definitely help.
- I can do other stuff. I’ve been able to run (over 100kms this year! My first race! PB times! No running injuries!) I’ve recovered from hard work faster, I have more awareness of my core, balance, breathing, body mechanics, endurance.
- I want to carry on. I’ve got other challenges to meet as the year carries on. I want to cut my 10k time down, I want to run my first half marathon, I want to do FAWM and Handstand February and other strange challenges, and I want to keep exploring and seeing what happens with yoga. Time to finish off True tomorrow, then the 30 day challenge, Yoga Camp, and Revolution. Then… who knows.
- Crop tops are awesome and there may not be a secret formula but I wish I could do everything in my underwear forever but I suppose activewear will have to do, activewear 5ever no regerts.