My experience with yoga and why you should at least try it, too
You have definitely heard the name (or have lived under a rock all this time), you probably have some idea of what it is (I had had a vague one before I really took it up), there may be some people around you who keep telling you stories about how it has changed their lives (I had at least three). But is yoga as good as they say? It is, and it may actually be even better.
I heard a lot about yoga from one friend in particular, and these were not just empty words. I actually watched her transform her life, change it for the better and I wanted to do the same. Of course, yoga was not the only factor in her transformation, but it was a major one, and just a few weeks were enough for me to see the results in my life as well. They were not the same as my friend’s, and yours probably won’t be the same as mine, but they are definitely positive.
Yoga is much more than it seems at first glance. It is an umbrella term that encompasses many physical, mental and spiritual practices. It can be flexibly adapted to suit your particular needs and address specific pain points (that is why your experience will probably be different from mine). And if you dive in, you’ll never be the same again – in the best sense possible.Yoga is much more than it seems at first glance. Click To Tweet
Note: the article was drafted a while ago, after I only practiced yoga for 47 days straight (hence the title). I have been doing yoga every day for almost a year now, but I kept most of the notes to demonstrate that even a short period of practice provides great results.
I heard a lot about it from various sources and it piqued my interest. It proved ideal in its flexibility: it is not just a combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices; you can adapt the level of which one to your liking. Depending on your current needs, a particular practice can be much more physical or spiritual. When I saw the benefits of yoga I couldn’t stop.
Yoga has one big advantage at the beginning, if you are choosing an activity to take up: you don’t really need much to start. You don’t need any special gear or clothes to practice, just your body, so you can start very cheaply. Even a yoga mat is desirable, but not absolutely necessary; there are a lot of things you can do without it. (To learn more about yoga equipment, check out this post.)
How do I practice?
I practice every day (haven’t missed a day yet!) at home, mostly in the morning, in short sessions.
I practice in small sessions (one session between 10 and 50 minutes, sometimes I practice two times a day, which in general amounts to 20-30 minutes per day on average) for a few reasons.
Firstly, I am a lazy and untrained person and it is often hard for me to endure a full time 90 minute practice. I know this sounds like an excuse, but I know myself quite well: the more negative factors there are that make practicing harder the higher is the risk that I will eventually give up, and this time I don’t want to give up, so I start with a practice that is as convenient for me as possible. Short sessions are rather easy to endure but even they begin to bring benefits quite soon.
Secondly, short sessions are easier to incorporate into one’s morning or busy day. I am not an early bird at all. I can get up half an hour earlier, but not an hour and a half. Maybe, some day…
I practice at home for a number of reasons as well, but you can guess most of them and most of them come down to convenience and avoidance of as many negative factors as possible. Making yourself get up and crawl to the mat in another room is much easier than travelling across the city to practice, thus I am more likely to stick with it. However, home practice has a few possible disadvantages which I describe in more detail in this lovely post.
Everyday practice has a number of reasons for it, too. Firstly, I do it because I practice in short sessions. I started with 15-20 minute sessions, and the effect will be rather low if you make big pauses between the sessions. Secondly, it is very healthy! I work sitting down, so a little extra movement every day is very important. Thirdly, discipline helps. The “wake up – get on the mat” formula is pretty effective. But if you practice every now and then the temptation to put off today’s session till another day is very high. And fourthly, isn’t it cool to say “I practice yoga every day”?
By the way, after I started practicing I discovered one more reason to practice in the mornings (which I don’t always do but try to). If you do your yoga in the morning, no matter how shitty and unproductive is the day that follows, you have done at least one productive and positive thing. It makes me feel a bit better, and often motivates me to go on.
What are the effects?
I will be honest: there was no big shocking change that moved my life to a new level, but some say it takes at least a year of regular practice for that, so maybe my shocking change is still to come. But there were enough smaller changes to really impress me.
My sleep improved practically immediately. I am a rather heavy sleeper, but I have problems falling asleep, sometimes so much so that even the smallest noises could turn my night into a sleepless one. This problem vanished within the first few weeks of regular practice.
The second quite quick and noticeable effect is that the body becomes more flexible, stronger and actually wants more movement and exercise. I can hold a plank much longer now, and lots of asanas come easier for me now. And it is not a result just for the sake of yoga: I enjoy longer walks much more now, and feel better in my own body. And the shape of my body is changing for the better! If it was that type of blog I’d show you photos of my butt, but trust my words, it looks much better now!
There is one noteworthy manifestation of this effect: I feel really good after practically every session. So good sometimes that an autumn Monday evening feels like a summer Saturday morning. This does not often last long, but improves my mood in general, which is awesome.
As for my weight, it stands still or crawls slowly down, but I’m afraid that I do not do enough yoga to fight my bad eating habits (mmm, snacks…) completely. I believe that if you combine yoga with a healthy diet you will see some great results.
If you are planning to take up yoga (or any other sports) and want to see if you make any progress in losing weight, I strongly recommend that you measure yourself before you start. Weight alone is not often reliable, but when you see centimeters melting away you will know for sure.
There is one unexpected small, but interesting effect: I practically have no hangover now. I rarely drink too much, but I used to sometimes be hangover from just a couple of glasses of wine, which is now an extremely rare occasion, and I am happy about it.
I do not know where I stand on the law of attraction, but after I started doing yoga some good things started happening in my life. Questions were answered, new ideas appeared, wishes materialized. Maybe it wasn’t only yoga, but it was a great example of awesome things coming together, which is cool.After I started doing yoga some good things started happening in my life. Questions were answered, new ideas appeared, wishes materialized. Maybe it wasn’t only yoga, but it was a great example of awesome things coming together. Click To Tweet
Yoga has changed and is changing my life. It has become a conduit for a few other good things in my life. I can’t speak for everyone, and I actually believe that your experience will not be exactly the same, but I do believe that yoga is worth trying.
What has your experience with yoga been so far? Are you willing to try it? Share your stories in the comments, let’s chat!
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