Do Yoga Every Day of January! Days 1-5

It’s 2018, and the only resolution I could really think of was “DO THE FUCKING YOGA”  and “RUN ON THE HILLS” so I am doing the fucking yoga and running on the hills. I’m also back on a vague training diet, but that’s a little more… lackadaisical. Thankfully there is an awesome group of other peeps in my friend circle also doing the fucking yoga this month – we’re moral supporting each other to do it every day of January. I’m gonna keep a running (lol) record here, but not every day – I think that would be tiresome. I’ll do five days at a time! So:

  1. Monday 1st January. Coincidentally I was up to Day 18 of the 30 Days of Yoga challenge as 2018 began, so I did that! I wrote about it (and Day 19) in my 30 Days of Yoga blog entry so head there to read about it if you’re interested. I also did a 3.5km out and back run on Highbury Fling.
  2. Tuesday 2nd January. I did Day 19, so check the link above for a rundown. I didn’t run, but did a 5km Zealandia fence walk/bush walk on the Karori side with a friend and my lovely little dog Ella, who also thinks she is my yoga coach.

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  3. Wednesday 3rd January. For me and my New Zealand buddies, this was the day we could access Yoga with Adriene’s new New Year series True. Sticking to my running resolution, I decided to bite the bullet and run up the Zealandia fenceline track to the Polhill gun emplacements and back in a loop instead of doing the Highbury Fling both ways. Unlike the serene, bush sheltered gentle Highbury Fling track, the fenceline track is rocky, horrible, and rolls up and down like a roller coaster from the Zealandia entrance all the way up to the wind turbine. It’s also completely unshaded, so it’s hot as all heck up there! I made it though. Thunderstorms were forecast for that evening, and I sat on the hill by the gun emplacements with Ella and watched the lightning flash in the storm clouds across the harbour.

    North from the Polhill gun emplacements 3 Jan 2018

    We got back and I took my yoga mat out to the deck to start off True. Day 1, Motive, was lovely – from the great big hug it starts off with (which I really needed) to the slow, gentle focus on fluidity and core. I took my first pictures since day 10 of the 30 Day Challenge (since I was outside and there was still no sign of the thunderstorm coming closer!) and holy crap – even with the giant break over December, there’s noticeable improvement! My downward dog is longer and way more flexible in the shoulders! My chaturanga looks good! I can’t believe it.

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    yoga chaturanga

    Coach Ella

    Coach Ella

  4. Thursday 4th January. I did the same 4km fenceline/gun emplacements/Highbury Fling loop run with Ella again, and it was way easier the second time. Who knew! Ran back as the rain started, and went straight to the mat for day 2 of True – Trust. Still really enjoying the slow, focused pace of this series so far! Felt super good after the run and the yoga, then life absolutely crashed my party with a horrible news phone call dumping a bucketload of stress on my head, and I had a full on panic attack. My partner is awesome, and immediately covered me in a blanket, put a cup of tea in one hand and a strong drink in the other, and watched documentaries with me until I could breathe again. Then I realised that what I really wanted to do to make myself feel better was… yoga. So I got out my mat, and gently did Yoga for Anxiety then put myself to bed. It helped. I’m super glad to know that at some lizard level I feel like yoga will help me, and it’s something I can turn to when I need it.
  5. Friday 5th January. After yesterday I woke up with the busiest saddest of brains, so decided to go for my run early instead of at night. And it was hot, and I was exhausted, and slow, but I got to the gun emplacements and decided to keep going anyway – all the way up to the wind turbine, and then back down around my usual route, 6kms of horrendous hills in all.
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    South from the Wind Turbine

    I’ve decided to take a picture from the same spot every time I run there this year, to watch the weather change.

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    North from Polhill gun emplacements 5 Jan 2018

    I got back drenched in sweat, but with a clearer head. Day 3 of True – Stretch was a nice way to come back to earth (literally) after such a full on run.

    How Ella feels after running with me

    I can feel my tummy starting to engage more intentionally with everything. The downpour that’s been threatening for days finally hit as I finished, and I headed in to work feeling calm in the rain.

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There we are – the first 5 days of 2018, with yoga and hill running galore. I’m looking forward to the rest.

Days of Yoga so far in 2018: 5

Kms run or walked so far in 2018: 22.5

30 Days of Yoga: Days 11-20

If you’re reading this, I’ve made it to day 20! I wrote about days 1-10 of the challenge already, but since I didn’t start the blog until day 10 I had to rely on my memory. From here, though, I’ll write a little bit each day and hit publish on day 20.

  • Day 11 I had a really upset stomach again so I think I need to get a little bit more careful with food for a while to make sure I’m not accidentally glutening. Had a lovely time at the pub quiz with friends, and got home very hungry but was an adult and decided to do yoga first. So happy I did! It was wonderful! Day 11’s video was super slow and stretchy and breathy, and every single Chaturanga I did was controlled and slow with elbows in all the way to the ground! I achieved my goal! So now I guess I need to focus on holding it steady in low plank, then eventually pushing up again. I also got my elbows to the ground and chilled in lizard pose for the first time, but the left side is easier than the right. I can’t believe how much my body is changing. Afterward I felt freakin’ awesome (and much less hungry) so I ate apple slices with peanut butter and had a great sleep.
  • Day 12 I was still feeling wicked after yesterday, so I got up and did a bunch of chores then put coffee on to brew while I did my yoga to start the day off. Awesome choice – today was Yoga for Spinal Health, and lying in bed beforehand I was really sore in my left shoulder/neck where I tweaked something gardening a few weeks ago. After the practise the pain went away. I managed to step my left foot up to a lunge in one go for the first time, and kept on with the awesome controlled Chaturangas. My tree and warrior 3 are pretty solid when my left leg is the base, but harder and wobblier on the right. Good incentive to keep working on it.
  • Day 13 was a killer. I got up early to go to a bootcamp with my friend – so after half an hour of running, squats, and lifting weights my body was feeling pretty sore – I came straight home and did the yoga video to hopefully prevent some of the pain to come! I was really glad I did, I could feel it breathing a little life back into my hamstrings and glutes… and then I undid all my hard work by spending the next 7 or so hours digging out a solid clay garden bed and planting carrots. I was proud, but complete jelly by the end of the day!
  • Day 14 I was definitely feeling it. I had to get up early again and was out all day doing a photoshoot for a project next year, so by the time I got home I was just wrecked. It must have been the combo of the physical tiredness from yesterday, the mental tiredness of the day, and the sudden crushing weight of life stresses that come after me on a Sunday night, but I was sad and weary, and decided to do it tomorrow.
  • Day 15, honestly, was no better. I had hayfever so badly overnight that I barely slept, had to cover my face in a cold wet flannel and woke up feeling like I had the flu and had probably also been run over by a bus. My knuckles were all swollen and painful to move, I had a sore throat and the sniffles, and I just felt sad and anxious and awful. I stayed at home and made soup and apple crumble to try and pull myself up, but yoga was off the cards.
  • So today, Day 16, I felt very guilty. I also still felt like total shit. Pretty sure I’m having a depressive episode along with a fibro flare – basically, struggling. I made the choice though: I was going to do the yoga even if it was the only thing I managed. So I started with Day 14, reasoning it was only 17 minutes long. I really struggled with those 17 minutes – I felt like a loser for skipping two days, my body was still really sore, with my joints screaming and my muscles refusing to loosen up. I got through it, hated it, and got off the mat. Then, I thought, well, I have more to do. Maybe I’ll look and see what Day 15 looks like. I sat on the mat, clicked on the video, and read this description: “Today would be the perfect day to commit to staying present. You have made it this far – stay in the moment and reconnect to your intentions. This 30 min yoga sequence is great for anxiety and stress relief.” So I said “fuck it, I need that” and started it up. I’m really glad. Doing the second video made my body start to come back, like I could feel it a little bit again. It still wasn’t easy, I’m still in pain and need to be careful but by the end I felt a little looser and a little more free in my movement. The calm lasted for about half an hour in my day of numb worry and sadness, but I’m really grateful for it. Just before bed I decided to do Day 16 (again, only 17 minutes). I held my nose to my knees in forward fold, and held up side plank on both sides without any problem, went “WTF?!” and here I am, back on track with this thing.

I wasn’t back on track with this thing. Sadly the flare just got worse, and after this date (December 5th) I had to stop for a while because I simply couldn’t bear weight on my wrists. It was pretty miserable, I was pretty miserable, it wasn’t a good time. A lot of other stuff went wrong in my life at the end of 2017, and when I had to stop with the yoga challenge because of my body I really felt like everything was a failure and out of my control. I’d been enjoying it so much, it was so good for me, and I couldn’t do it. December continued, Christmas arrived, and I knew I needed to get over the feeling that I had failed, and just start again. I made the decision that it would be ok. So,

  • Day 17, December 31st. I got out the mat and just picked up where I left off. Adriene didn’t seem to mind that I’d had a 26 day gap. I noticed that I wasn’t quite as strong or balanced as I had been, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and it felt quite wonderful. I’m also trying to get regular running  (or at least walks) back in so I did a short but steep 1.5km Zealandia fence run before the yoga too.
  • And funnily enough, Day 18 coincided with the first day of 2018. There’s a group of friends who are providing moral support for each other to do yoga every day of January which is awesome, I think the community spirit will help me a lot! But flip remind me never to stop for a month again, my triceps were SO DAMN SORE after yesterday! Did a 3.5km run out and back on Highbury Fling, hard in the muggy air.
  • All that positivity, and today I had a total mental health crash – like, a crying over cold pizza and lying on the couch in the foetal position watching crappy horror on Netflix crash. I felt like I couldn’t achieve anything at all, let alone a run and yoga. Thankfully as the day cooled down and the evening set in I was able to meet up with a friend and we ended up doing a 5km bush walk with the dog, up a lot of hills to the Karori side of the Zealandia fence. It was lovely and I got back so much happier, got out my mat, and was surprised to find Day 19 was a gentle, breath focused day. I swear it’s spooky how they’re so often exactly what I need. I feel much better and calmer now. I’m glad to be back.

Depending on when Yoga with Adriene’s new 30 day challenge True drops in our weird future timezone I may skip to that series so that I can do the videos alongside my friends. So instead of publishing on day 20, I’m going to publish now – both a little earlier and a little later than anticipated.

I can’t wait to do more yoga this year!

30 Days of Yoga: Days 1 – 10

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It may be a bit late to start talking about yoga 10 days into the 30 day challenge, but I didn’t set up the blog until day 9!

Quick rundown:

  • I started doing yoga in September, after having done it only a handful of times ever and self-identifying as “terrible at yoga”. I don’t actually remember why.  It just seemed like the right thing to do right then, so I did.
  • I’m very very time and money poor, so classes aren’t an option, but Youtube is a wonder of the modern world and I found heaps of cool stuff to try at home
  • Friends recommended Yoga with Adriene for being an awesome channel with minimal hippy vibes and a really kind approach to bodies with pain issues, so I tried a few videos and wholeheartedly agree – Adriene rules!
  • I was doing 30 minutes – 1 hour each day, just choosing videos based on what I felt like, it tapered off during late October (which is the annual hell-month/actual hell-mouth of my job), and I picked it back up mid November
  • 10 days ago (November 20th) I decided to go hard and do a more formal schedule of practice with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, and I’ve just completed day 10.

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This is how it has gone so far:

  • Day 1-3 felt really good and chill, a nice way to ease into it and get used to doing some of the same movements every day. I set the goal on day one that the only thing I really wanted to achieve in 30 days was to be able to lower through Chaturanga Dandasana (the totally bananas-level hard thing where you lower slowly from plank with your elbows pulled in).
  • Day 4 I got glutened and felt miserable, worked until super late at the Music Quiz, had one two many ciders, walked all the way home and fell asleep on the couch, so I missed my practice that day. It’s amazing how even missing a single day (combined with not feeling so well) made me way less keen to do it the next day! But I DID IT.
  • Day 5 I did both days’ videos back to back. Thankfully, Adriene is a hero and has paced her videos for people like me, who start off racing out of the gate then realise we’re tired and grumpy and want to go home. Day 4 and 5 practices were 20 minutes and 16 minutes each, which made them feel achievable in one go and got me back on track. I felt a lot less tired and grumpy afterward!
  • Day 6 had me freaked out because it was called “6 pack abs”! Why?! I still wasn’t feeling well, but I tried my partner’s trick of just getting the yoga mat out and leaving it there until it makes more sense to do the thing than leave the mat sitting there unused. I survived! Surprisingly, though, 6 pack abs did not materialise. But it did prove to me I was well enough to do an overnight hike/camp, so we took off into the mountains outside our back garden for the night.
  • Day 7 we got up early (since we were in a tiny tent on a sea cliff) and I would have been tempted to drag my mat out onto the hilltop (I slept the night on it) and do my practice right there, but we were completely fogged in and couldn’t see anything so we just packed up and set off home. Day 7 was probably my wobbliest day, because it included some side planks which my upper body is just not ready for – and probably because I was super duper tired from a week of yoga and hiking. I did dream that Adriene and Taylor Swift were secretly in a relationship and planning to get married though, to which my partner replied “… it’s like you stole that straight from the brain of a 10 year old girl….”
  • Day 8 was an absolutely beautiful stunning day, so I took the dog for a run and decided to do my yoga outside on the deck when I got back. The day 8 practice was a really slow, meditative one, and doing it in the cool evening air with tui and kaka squabbling overhead was really calming and refreshing.  My heels touched the ground during downward dog!
  • Day 9 I got over ambitious, and decided I would do morning AND evening yoga! Rookie mistake. It was lovely to get up and do a morning yoga workout, and I had a really productive day afterward but by the time I had worked all day, taught classes, waited for the bus and got home at 10 I didn’t want to do another round – so while I did yoga, I didn’t do the official day 9 practise.

Soooooo today is Day 10, and I decided to do the videos for both 9 and 10. I was really friggin’ tired this morning. I wanted to do the day 9 video early before work but I couldn’t face it and dragged myself out of bed later than intended so I had to race to work (gardening). I was pottering around this afternoon, slowly doing admin stuff and feeling blergh in the heat, craving sugar and being generally unproductive and decided – screw it, I’ll do them now and wake myself up. So I did! And I feel 100 times better! It’s really really hot today, so I took my shirt off and sweated a lot and achieved one Chaturanga that lowered all the way down with control (and a lot that didn’t), and found my (short) downward dog with my heels down and got my nose to my knees in forward fold and I’m really excited. I’m definitely in less pain through my back and shoulders/neck, I feel stronger and can already see I am bendier. I feel like I am achieving things, slowly and happily.

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