Monday, December 28, 2015

Yoga (Almost) Every Damn Day

I've been doing yoga since I was diagnosed with PTSD my first year of college. The doctor at the health center on campus told me I had to take medication, which I told her was fine for a little while, but I wanted to make sure I didn't have to take it for a long time. We talked about what I did for stress and I told her about journaling and running. She told me to keep journaling and to try yoga and we'd check in after a few months. I practiced yoga and meditation a few times a week that year and was off of medication after six months. I knew this was the start of a beautiful friendship between yoga and me.

In the thirteen years that followed, I did yoga one to two times a week sporadically. I thought of it as one of my workouts, something I did in between running when it was time for a break. I always found comfort in yoga, especially this video, which I had on DVD from the sale rack at Barnes and Noble and used for years and years. 
Yolanda Pettinato's voice was my favorite and that one-piece leotard? Pulling. It. Off.

In September of 2014, I found Yoga with Adriene when I did a Google search for "morning yoga." I started doing this video a few times a week and then decided to tackle her 30 Days of Yoga Challenge in January of 2015. I wrote about it here and here. I went through some crazy job changes at work at the end of January 2015 and wasn't able to finish blogging about 30 Days of Yoga. 

Since January, I've attempted to do yoga every day and it--specifically Yoga with Adriene-- has changed my whole life. The longest I went without a video practice from YWA was about three days when things got too busy or I was sick. However, even on days where I couldn't find time to do a video, I did what Adriene always says--I tried to "find what feels good" for me that day... a forward fold in the shower, laying myself on the floor with my legs up on a wall, three deep breaths in the bathroom stall at work. I've done this every damn day this year. I just love that hashtag: #yogaeverydamnday

There are the things I can't do... yet. I can't do a handstand or twist my legs in cool directions. I'm not flying in crow pose for longer than five seconds. I can't touch my foot to my head while balancing on a rock in the ocean. I mean, I hope that maybe I'll be able to do that someday, but how about some baby steps? 

These are things I did in 2015 because of yoga:
-I spent nearly every morning with Hannah the dog in the first part of 2015. She loved being on my yoga mat with me and I'll never forget our precious time together before we lost her in April. Now I have an awesome and relaxing morning routine with our dogs.
Nipsy preferred her bed, but she still hangs out during yoga. 
-I made it through a stressful job transition, breathing deeply all along the way. 

-I stopped making excuses about not being able to find time for yoga. I've done yoga in hotel rooms (and lobbies) and Airbnbs all over the United States. :)

-I became okay with my giant feet. They are strong as hell and I don't care if they are out for everyone to see!
Takin' the dogs out for a walk. 
-I found a way to deal with my anxiety about the future-- again, the breathing thing.

-I lost weight, but I don't know how much because I stopped weighing myself in 2015. It didn't feel good to always rely on the scale to tell me whether I was going to have a good day or not. 

-I got to know our new addition, Louis, through yoga. 
He likes the mat too. Nipsy still chills in her bed.
-I tried a new way of eating with the Whole30 challenge. I knew I felt awesome from doing all of the yoga, but my stomach wasn't feeling great. I pushed myself to try strict Paleo eating and found that it is the best way for me to eat. I wouldn't have done it without the discipline of daily yoga practice.

-I tried new yoga-related things, like an event in town called Pedal to the Mat, where we rode bikes and did yoga outside. I was too self-conscious about doing something like this before 2015. 
Yoga with live music-- definitely something I'd do again.
-I did 30 days of power yoga with Adriene through her Empower program in August. Most days, I can now lower myself into chaturanga without flopping onto my belly. I also have a nice little line where my tricep is. I sang this song to myself whenever I struggled with chaturanga... hehehe

But the best thing I haven't done because of #yogaeverydamnday?
I haven't had a debilitating back spasm since February 2015. I usually have these 3-4 times a year and it is a painful few days full of muscle relaxers, pain pills, and sometimes visits to the walk-in for numbing shots into my back. My lower back still hurts almost daily-- yoga isn't pure magic, y'all--but now some days are less noticeable than others. This is what keeps me coming back to my mat every day. In the summer of 2014, I broke down during a particularly horrible spasm because I worried that when we decided to try for kids my pregnancy would be terrible because of the spasms. I worried that once we had kids, I wouldn't be able to pick said kids up because of the dang spasms. Now I have some hope that maybe one day the spasms will be completely gone and maybe this future pregnancy won't be so horrible and the future kids won't be so hard to carry. 
Don't get too excited guys... I'm still just carrying the dogs around. 
I never thought I'd get so much from an online person, but Adriene Mishler has been one of the best teachers I've ever had. The community she has created online is one of the most inspiring groups I've ever been a part of. I even got to take a live class with her in Chicago and I felt like a total fan girl. 
It's been a great year of yoga. Looking forward to Adriene's free online yoga camp in January. I'll be blowing up Instagram (@jheymossy) every day tracking my January yoga camp adventures. Please join me!

Some inspiration for ya...


Frikken Duckie said...

Wow! Congrats on sticking to yoga all year! I wish I had discipline like that - hopefully I can use your motivation to get me to do it through 2016!

do_it_ajen said...

Thanks! Tell me if you decide to do the free yoga camp!

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