My First Day of My 30 Day Yoga Self Challenge

Jennifer Geer

I need a change in my life, and yoga is my catalyst.

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Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

As a health and fitness writer, it’s rather embarrassing to admit that I have been falling into various bad habits since March. When the pandemic first began and almost everyone went into quarantine, stress was high, and I decided to let some things go.

However, without feeling comfortable enough to head back to the gym in my imminent future, I need to be a bit more aware of just how many treats I’m indulging in. It’s not that I haven’t been active. I’ve been running and going for walks with my family almost every day.

But that’s all I’ve been doing. No strength training, no yoga classes, no stretching. This has all led to my hamstrings tightening up and my hip flexors giving me pain when I sit cross-legged on the floor. Not to mention without any kind of activity that quiets my mind, I’ve been feeling the full effects of perpetual stress for five months straight.

Enough is enough. It’s time for a change.

Time for some yoga

I need to open my mind and my hip flexors. I need to find my inner peace, even if it’s only for 45 minutes a day. I need to do some yoga.

Yoga is full of benefits for mental and physical health, including lowering stress, helping with sleep, lessening anxiety, reducing inflammation, and boosting moods.

I used to do yoga somewhat regularly at my gym. But thanks to coronavirus, I haven’t been there in months. So, this morning I pulled out my yoga mat and announced to my family, I’d be busy for the next hour.

Since I can’t get to the gym, I did a YouTube search and found a multitude of yoga videos. Yoga for beginners. Yoga for experts. Yoga for morning. Yoga for bedtime. Any kind of yoga you could ever dream of, and it’s all free.

My 30-day self-care challenge

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I settled on a channel called Yoga With Adriene. It had good reviews, and it’s one of the first videos that came up. Even better, she has a 30-day yoga series. 30 days of yoga! It was as if triumphant music was playing in the background of my life. I would do a 30-day challenge! It’s just the motivation I needed to start a new healthy routine.

Somehow this morning, the stars aligned, and my family, even the dogs, stayed quiet and left me to complete the entire video. Seeing this as a sign I’m headed in the right direction, I vowed to follow Adriene’s series each day for the next 30 days. She’s friendly and likable. She has a cute dog.

More importantly, she does a great job of explaining every movement. But what I love the most is that she’s starting this series off slow. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, you could get through Day 1 with little trouble. And if your muscles are wound up as tight as mine, a slow start is just what you need.

It was bliss

When it was done, I felt a quiet peace that I only feel after yoga. Usually, when I do yoga, I am in a hot room in my gym with a lot of sweaty strangers. Today, I was in my living room with my pugs softly snoring nearby. But the effect was the same. And as the day goes on, maybe it’s my imagination, but I feel more patient. I feel more mindful. I also have the excitement of starting something new. I love a fresh project.

And by writing this, I’m holding myself accountable to finish what I started. It’s pretty hard to announce you’re going to do a thing and then not do it. Not that anyone would ever know or check up on me. But I would know, and isn’t that all that matters in a self-challenge?

I am sure not every day will go as smoothly as today. There will be days everyone needs me, and I’m interrupted, and it starts to feel like it’s not worth the trouble. But when everyone is home all of the time, you’ve got to do everything you can to carve out time for self-care. I need to remember I’m a much better mom when I’m taking care of myself as well.

Join me for a 30-day self-care challenge of your own

What 30-day challenge would get you excited? If you’d like to do my yoga challenge, you can go here for Adriene’s kick-off to the 30-day program.

Or choose your own 30-day challenge. It can be anything. It can be whatever it is in your life that you want to improve.

Here are some ideas:

  • Overall fitness
  • Walking
  • 10,000 steps a day (or 7,000 or 12,000, it’s your challenge, it’s up to you)
  • Strength training
  • Cardio
  • Pushups
  • Meditation
  • Healthy eating

Do a Google search for a 30-day challenge and your choice of activity, and you are guaranteed to find a program for anything you’re looking for. It doesn’t have to be nutrition or fitness-related.

Mental health is a prime aspect of self-care. Maybe your 30 days should be writing in your journal or thinking thoughts of gratitude or spending time in nature.

The rule here is, it’s not something you’re going to dread each day. This has to be fun, and you have to want to do it. For example, a 30-day decluttering your house challenge might be helpful for me, and I might be happy at the end of it. But I know myself, and I doubt I could get through a week before feeling desperate and quitting. But that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t be excited at this idea.

Maybe you want to blog every day for the next 30 days. If that makes you happy, go for it. But if forcing yourself to publish a blog each day for 30 days makes beads of sweat start popping out on your upper lip, well, I’m not saying don’t do it. It could be great for your profession. But it doesn’t fit the definition of this self-care challenge. This challenge is fun, and it’s for you.

Don’t misunderstand me. You can have discomfort and difficulty in your challenge. After all, you can’t have a challenge without some level of discomfort or difficulty. But you have to like the activity you choose. If you hate running, don’t make running your 30-day challenge.

This is about inner peace, happiness, de-stressing, and feeling a level of accomplishment to make you proud.

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Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash (This will be me in 30 days. Well…maybe not. But it’s good to have goals.)

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL
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