Six weeks ago, I set myself a yoga challenge to practise mindful movement, every day from Monday to Friday. I started it because I felt I was strengthening my muscles through lifting weights, but not releasing the tension through regular stretching. By aiming for 20 minutes each weekday morning, I hoped to help my muscles recover properly as well as increase my flexibility along the way.
The changes I have felt in my mind and body are what motivate me to continue this challenge, which is now a habit. The biggest improvement I have noticed is my energy on a morning. I’ve always been a morning person, rising before many of my flatmates and tiptoe-ing around the house. Before I started my regular yoga practise, my energy would fall by lunch time. Now, my body feels energised until mid-afternoon, giving me at least three extra hours for productivity. I also naturally wake up between 6am and 6:30am without an alarm clock and with the sun rising earlier, I practically bounce out of bed.
Another part of my yoga routine, which has helped hugely, is a little piece of advice I took from an old school friend’s blog, JessieJane. A few weeks ago, Jess wrote a post on how to beat winter morning struggles and one of the suggestions was to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up as this floods the brain with oxygen which boosts brain activity. Since reading Jess’s blog, I have included that little extra in my morning routine and it has made a big difference.
As you would predict, the regular yoga has indeed improved my flexibility. I don’t want to rush my body into doing something it’s not ready for so I’m still only focusing on beginner to intermediate stretching but I definitely have some advanced movements and positions that I am aiming to work towards eventually. I’d love to be able to do a controlled hand stand, head stand and the splits. I also need to be living in a house with more space to that I can practise these positions in a safe environment.
And finally, the main reason I started this in the first place, my muscles. I certainly believe that the regular practise is benefiting my weight lifting. Since starting, the kilograms on my weights have increased which wasn’t happening before, despite lifting weights every week since November.
So to summarise, the main benefits I have seen since starting my Yoga Challenge:
- Sustained energy for longer throughout the day.
- Improved flexibility.
- Stronger muscles.
Thank you, as always for reading my blog.