I began doing daily yoga on September 1, 2015.
I have not stopped.
I used to have a daily yoga practice at various times in my life, dating back to the late 1990s. Yes, I have VHS yoga tapes. (I still have to donate those! Haha!).
Besides my current streak of 455 days (as of this writing), I also had a daily practice before I began writing my first book in 2011. During my book publication journey, I had stopped all my positive, daily habits. It’s taken me close to four years to get them back to autopilot. It’s been quite the long road.
I’ll share a list of things that I’ve learned having over one year of a daily yoga practice. The thing is, there’s so much more I have learned than these things. These simply are a summary and well, I’m a work in progress. Please don’t read folks’ lists online about their growth journeys and think you totally get what is going on with them, okay?:
- I learned that it takes more than 21 or 28 days to build a daily habit. I don’t believe the studies that say you can create a habit in a month or less. For some of us, it takes way longer and that’s okay.
- I need accountability and support when creating a habit. I have a best buddy of mine who began this journey with me. We text each other daily with our “I did yoga today’.” Yep. This is how I roll. I’m so grateful to have this pal of mine! I love her!
- I learned that some days, all I can do is 5-10 minutes of yoga, due to illness, fatigue, or just life being life. Those 5-10 minutes DO count as yoga. Having a dedication to a practice or a self-care ritual isn’t an all-or-nothing thing.
- I’m more peaceful, calm, and happy, but I still have my stressed out moments. Yoga always makes me feel way better!
- I’m not enlightened. I have a LONG way to go with this, but I do feel that I am more patient with others. I also feel more accepting, kind, compassionate, and loving towards myself and others.
- I prefer to do yoga in my pajama pants at home with a DVD or recording or my own flow. I don’t like studios as of yet, but hmm, maybe I will find one I enjoy one day in the near future?
- Yoga does me now. I don’t do yoga, to be honest. I feel that sense of flow or being in my body, which is hard to explain.
- I take my yoga off the mat. I’m that kind person who lets folks cut into traffic, holds doors for others, and smiles at most people. Yep, I’m “that” person! Haha!
- I do yoga in public places in line at the grocery store, for example. I don’t notice if others’ give me strange looks. I work on my balance or breathing. Yoga has become a way of life!
- I feel more flexible. I still can’t touch my nose to my knees in forward bends. That is not point of yoga. I have tight hamstrings from years of being a competitive runner and cyclist. These days, I prefer to walk and do yoga. I have let go of all of my competitive nature as an athlete. I’m a yoga athlete, but I don’t really compete with others. Nope.
- I still have days when I don’t feel like doing yoga, such as when I have bad menstrual cramps, fatigue or autoimmune symptoms or when I am feeling run down from anemia. I still do a bit of yoga. I sometimes challenge myself to do a full practice and it’s interesting…99% of the time, it helps me feel 200% better! Yep!
- Resistance to doing a daily habit or practice is normal. I work with it and talk to it, not to sound too crazy. I will just tell my ego or resistance, “Hey, we are going to do this, okay?”
- I have become more and more sensitive to energies. I feel others’ pain, heartache, and sadness. I feel everything. I just let it wash through me or around me and don’t take it on or into my being. I breathe it out and breathe in love.
- I feel I’m more part of the oneness of the universe. I don’t see things as yes or no or black or white or this or that. It’s much more complicated, but not really. We are all one. Everything is one. We are even one with Donald Trump. Yep, I went there! I didn’t vote for him, but really, I don’t think you need to know any more about my political views here.
- I’ve learned that love is needed. We are love. You can’t love too much.
- I’ve learned that I’m badass. I mean, about four months after my mom passed, I began my daily yoga practice up again. I knew that I had to work with grief. I chose to become friends with grief. In 2015, I went to six funerals. I’ve wrote about this here quite a bit, but I have learned that it’s totally possible to be happy and healthy, no matter what is going on outside of you. Actually, there is no “outside.” Everything within and outside of you are the same. It’s all one thing…at least, to me!
- I don’t study Buddhism much any more on a serious level. It was making my head hurt. I prefer to be open-hearted, not up in my head! I do enjoy yoga as a philosophy for life, but I’m not religious. Yoga is not a religion. I am a yoga geek and I do read books on it, however. But, I don’t think you want to know about my spiritual beliefs, haha! Long story short, I don’t follow anything or anyone too much any more and I’ve even discarded 99% of the New Age teachings I once adhered to as a student.
- Life isn’t about acquiring things, people, or status, etc. For me, I’ve discovered that the more I’ve let go, the happier and healthier I’ve become. Learning how to relax my body has helped me relax my mind. I’ve also taken this off the mat on a journey of mine to become a minimalist. I’m a work in progress, but slowly and ever so surely, I’m reducing possessions, time sucks, and yes, even people who drain me.
- Yoga is a tool. It’s a great tool. You might find a tool that works better for you. Although I LOVE yoga, I wouldn’t want to push it on you or others. However, since 1997, I’ve been contemplating doing my yoga teacher training and teaching. I still might become a yoga teacher. I’m working on finding my yoga tribe and where I feel I will thrive and fit in the best.
- The world needs peaceful folks. It’s so tempting to caught up in a few media sources’ take on the world and its events. The thing is, one more peaceful person does help the planet. If all you did was meditate and/or do yoga daily, you’d be working towards world peace. I’m no longer feeling like marching or protesting or being physically political active. I do most of my activism on my yoga mat, sending peace and love to the planet. I mean, I do some work with animals and the environment, but I’m not wanting to write about it here. It would seem like humble bragging and that is not who I am at all.
Yoga rocks! I’ve known this though for many years. I have been enjoying the path. I chose not to share which yoga DVDs I do or which teachers I follow because then, it would seem like I’m endorsing a certain style or set of teachers. I will just say that I’m a bit eclectic. I do what I feel is needed for the day in my body, mind, spirit, and heart. That is quite a way to do yoga. I feel it’s a great way to live…follow what feels right for you in the moment. I might eventually change up things or find some teachers I want to focus with, but for now, I’m enjoying the flow. I’ll be continuing forward with my daily yoga practice, intending to do so for the rest of my life. Yep!
Thanks for reading,