Since starting my attempt to make myself enjoy yoga for the Lifehacker Fitness Challenge, I successfully managed to squeeze one daily yoga workout in all but one of the past nine days. And I have to say, it feels like an accomplishment. As someone experiencing a moderate level of pandemic-related burnout, finding the motivation to stick with something new and that requires me to actually make time for it feels like a real feat.
So what if on some days I only chose a 12-minute video? The point is, I made a conscious effort to make time for something I’m not inclined towards, and actually followed through. And just this simple act is teaching me a thing or two.
Two weeks in, I noticed more mindfulness
When setting up my laptop and selecting a Yoga With Adriene video, I’m also subconsciously choosing a set amount of time that I’m going to focus on just my breath and my movement. Whether it be 17 minutes or a longer 36, from the moment I select the video I’m also telling myself that for this set amount of time I’m not going to think about anything else. And though I didn’t set out on this endeavour with an aim to be more present and mindful, that’s what I find myself doing at least once a day.
Of course, I do find my mind wandering from time and time and sometimes anxiously thinking about the things I need to do immediately after my yoga session, but the actual act of doing the poses is a constant reminder to come back to the present. And to sound like a true yogi cliché, finding this mental space once a day feels like a real treat to myself (to which science would agree).
I found a routine that works
Because of poor planning I found myself doing yoga at all times of day, which was actually convenient for figuring out what routine suits me best. And so far, it would seem that either the afternoon or evening are more enjoyable for me than practicing in the morning — a time when I’m more alert and energised to do something more fast-paced like a run or a brisk walk.
There have been some days where I plan to do a 20 or 30-minute mid-afternoon yoga session (a time when I often hit a wall and can use a little bit of a physical refresher), and then inevitably work tasks take priority and my yoga routine is pushed to a pre-bedtime ritual. And while yoga before bed feels less like exercise than a way to wind down for the day, I’m ok with that, because there’s nothing more relaxing than a good Shavasana on a hard floor.