I’ve had a love hate relationship with yoga for a decade or two. I mostly love it, and, once I’ve been at it a while, I’m pretty good at it. But I have a few problems.
1. I have bad wrists. Even mountain biking at age 20 I knew this. And with all the downward dogs of yoga, my weak wrists get a workout. I’ve recently learned that this wrist thing runs in my family. Goody. So I have to go easy.
2. I have bad knees. No idea what’s going on there. The orthopedist wasn’t any help. But it means very little squatting and few hero poses for me.
And both of the above mean I use a thick, very padded mat.
3. I tend to overdo things. I give it my all and push too hard from the start, injuring myself and prematurely ending an exercise regimen.
So, I knew all these things going into a new attempt at yoga. I’m trying to be healthier. To lose weight. To like what I see in the mirror. To feel good about the choices I make.
So, yoga. I saw something about 30 days of yoga, probably on Facebook, about a self-contained month-long practice to get you moving. I watched the intro video and it resonated with me. I wanted to try it. I asked Rory if he wanted to do it with me. He hadn’t done a lot of yoga before, but agreed. Because he is trying to make healthier choices too. And because he’s doing what he can to help me succeed in what I try to do.
Here’s the intro video:
So we did Day One of Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga Camp. It went pretty well, but my older, thin yoga mat was now too thin for my wrists and knees, and my daughter’s old kid-sized mat was too small for Rory’s taller-than-mine body. So to Amazon we went. Then we awaited our matching, super thick mats (his red, mine blue) via Amazon Prime free 2 day shipping. We took walks around the block during The (Two) Waiting Days.
The new mats made it much easier on us both, and we pushed forward. Day Two. Then Day Three. And onward. We are now almost done with the 30 days of Yoga with Adriene‘s camp, and are both of us are hanging in there. It’s still a bit hard on my wrists, but I take breaks when I need to. It’s taking us about 45 days to get through the month of videos, because of aging bodies and because of life, but I’m feeling good about our progress.
This is why I love yoga: I feel stronger, am much more flexible, and it’s a (mostly) daily reminder to make better food choices. When you can’t put your body in a position because there is too much extra body in the way and not because your strength and flexibility won’t allow it, you want the extra body bits to go away.
Yoga is also great for mental health. You are so focused on what you are doing (so you don’t fall over or hurt yourself) that you are forced to clear your mind of clutter, if only temporarily. Adriene’s regular reminders to pay attention to specific body parts and breathing make sure of that. She also includes a daily mantra, which amounts to positive self-talk. This is good for anyone. No belief in “woo” necessary. (And I have no belief in “woo”.) I can’t wait to finish out the 30 days and try Adriene’s Yoga for Beginners and Yoga for Weight Loss videos. She also has many other series on her YouTube channel, so check it out. She’s a great teacher because she teaches at all levels simultaneously, and she makes it okay to not be perfect. She admits to her own faults, which help us forgive ourselves for having our own. She’s very good at what she does, but makes us feel like she’s there with us, not above us.
Yoga isn’t great at helping me lose weight on its own. I still need to eat for weight loss, but I exercise for physical and mental health. The combination of the two is the most effective.
Take some time for yourself. There are yoga programs out there for all abilities. I’m almost 43 but I continue to try to be my best self. I encourage you all to do the same.