Breathing in and out .. while stretching ..

I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for over 10 years, however I would say the last year has proven to be my most motivated study.

A friend of a friend started a ‘karma’ yoga class – one at which you pay what you can. It was beneficial for the instructor, a registered holistic nutritionist Elizabeth Campbell, as she was looking to further her practice as teacher. And we, the students, reaped the benefits of a structured class that both challenged us and catered to our practice needs.

I’ve grown in incredibly powerful ways because of this yoga practice being more regularly integrated into my life, both mentally and physically. (I plan to eventually articulate it at some point here on this blog but not today).

And so, on a recent business trip when I was faced with a wall of magazines in the airport convenience store, I was drawn to the Yoga Journal magazine.  It was packed with inspiring stories and excellent home practice tips. The structure reminded me of when Shape first came out, providing relevant guidance on how to be healthier and feel better though. I stopped reading Shape when it became a ‘fitness-themed Glamour’ magazine and had missed being able to reach for something that just kick started me into injecting the feel-good into my day.

The next month, I purchased another copy of the magazine and found myself actually energized to try the featured poses at home. For all this talk of the dying of the printed word, it’s been great to have a magazine at hand to reference when I miss yoga class.

And it’s got me going that much further. Enter: The 21-day yoga challenge. Couple that with a January resolution to add more yoga and meditation into my day and you’ve got a perfect combo for motivation.

Yoga Challenge – Main Page

 

The magazine has put together a diverse set of video exercises, arranged in order by day, to work you through various poses and types of yoga over the course of three weeks.

Select the week tab you want to view
Yoga shown for each day

 

I started the challenge yesterday, though it appears all of the videos are up so others may have started earlier or even choose to start later.

The first session was intense – 45 minute flow. I had not really met with my mat properly in  December because of the holidays so getting going again the second week of January was always going to be tough. I certainly felt it today .. but .. was rewarded with a short 15 minute practice today that focused more it seemed on connecting your breath with poses instead of pushing through them.

Another neat component is the audio features section. It provides three distinct types of meditation guidance – perfect lengths to attempt at the end of each of the pose session. I have been attempting meditation on and off only for a couple of years but it was great to have a bit of fresh audio to guide me through.

Plus, opened my eyes to this great site, Sounds True. It appears there are some interesting products to purchase off the site but what I found instantly valuable was another section or affiliate site, Within Sight, which provides streaming of a wide range of meditation guidance audio tracks.

Provides list of free audio

 

If you’ve ever tried meditation, it’s certainly not something that comes easy, immediately however I do find that the state of mind I’m in at the end of yoga practice puts me in a focused enough place to be still and rest my mind.

I’m interested to keep going with this challenge. It’s great to be doing yoga every day and, working from home gives me the flexibility to add this into my day quite easily. And, since I’m finding my most productive times tend to be early morning and late afternoon-evening, it’s the perfect reason to step away from the computer midday, pull out my yoga mat and just release.

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