40 Days of Yoga – round 2 complete

Done. Another 40 days on the mat, every day on the mat, every day a little time to breathe, to connect, to forget, to remember.

I actually finished a week or so ago, but haven’t had a chance to think about it until now. My hubs has been away for the past eight long days, and I haven’t been on the mat at all during that time, and I’ve missed it.

Like the first time, I went through stages of mat-resistance, where the last thing I wanted was to do yoga, but I pushed through, and the desire to be on the mat always came back. I found my flexibility and strength came back quickly too, which gave me that extra motivation when I needed it most.

I did fall off the wagon when it came to posting photos on Instagram though…there are only so many yoga-selfies that one can take without hurting oneself!

For now, I’m looking forward to starting a new yoga class this week, and will aim to practise at home at least twice a week; I do find daily is a stretch (pardon the pun) at the moment when my boys are so little, but I could manage a couple of times a week until I feel like it’s time to do another 40 Days.

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Progress Report: 40 Days of Yoga 2

I’m almost halfway through this round of 40 Days of Yoga – it’s going much faster than the first round, and I’m enjoying it much, much more. I have just come out of a few days of mat-resistance, but on each of those days, I still practised and allowed myself to not feel guilty about taking it easy. And I came out of that yoga-funk, and am back to loving it.

Plank1 Plank2 I’ve found my flexibility and strength have returned very quickly, and it’s very easy to over-extend myself…I have to remember that it’s been a good long while since I last practised so regularly, there’s no one here to adjust my form, and throwing myself straight back into intermediate level poses might not always be the best idea.

YogaKnowing that I’m doing this alongside Cat makes it even more fun, and seeing her progress on Instagram is great inspiration; knowing I’d be letting someone else down if I miss a day is all the extra motivation I need.

Forty Days of Yoga – Round 2

It’s been a long, long time since I was last on my yoga mat, and for a long, long time I’ve been telling myself I would do another 40 days, to get myself back into the groove.

When I mentioned it briefly last week, Cat said she was keen to join me, and so as of yesterday…we’re on the mat for 40 days. We’ll be documenting our journeys on Instagram, and blogging, and there are another two lovelies (that I know of!) who are also playing along.

This time, we’ve made our own rules – we’re sticking to doing 40 days in a row, back to day one if you miss a day, but we’re being more flexible about the type of practise that counts (DVDs, apps, classes), which will make it more achievable for those not comfortable with a self-led practise.

I started strong, with a 60 minutes practise that reminded me why I do yoga, and in contrast to the first round, I was excited about getting back on my mat. Here’s hoping that enthusiasm will continue!

Forty Days of Yoga

Done. Just like that.

40 days. Every day – or night – on the mat, stretching and flexing, contorting myself into poses I thought my body would have forgotten.

The first few days were hard, physically, but I was amazed at how quickly my body remembered each pose, and how fluidly I seemed to move beyond my initial comfort zone.

It wasn’t always easy, getting on the mat every day. Some days, I was tired and I just did not want to be there. I wanted to pour a glass of wine and snuggle on the couch with my husband, watching mindless television and eating chocolate.

But I did it. Even if those sessions were shorter or gentler, I did it. The important thing for me was to still get on the mat, to do what I felt I needed, and to not beat myself up if my practise wasn’t very strong.

Some days, I was champing at the bit for my babies to go to bed so I could get on the mat. Those were the sessions that were the most energetic, the strongest and the most focussed. The sessions where I knew I could push myself just a little further.

Now that my 40 days are over, I’m having a few days off. I don’t think I’ll go for another 40 days in a row without a break, but I will continue to make getting onto my mat a regular part of my week. I feel too good to not carry on – mentally and physically. I’m regaining the tone I lost from my arms and legs, and I just feel stronger.

I’d like to do five days a week if I can, which gives me the flexibility to have a glass of wine or blob on the couch or just do something else if I feel like it. But I will keep up a home practise, because I have loved it more than I thought possible.

(If you’re on Instagram, you can see my yoga journey in pictures here)

Musings on my Yoga Mission

Today is Day 8 of my Forty Days of Yoga.

I was already feeling pretty good about how I was going, but now I have extra motivation: my friend with MS.

She’s trying to lose a little weight and keep herself fit and healthy, but has lost the motivation. Her partner is less-than-supportive, and as we were talking about what she could do, I mentioned Forty Days of Yoga and how one of my main allies is Tall. He is my motivator, my (nice) bully, and my supporter, all rolled into one. She sighed and said, “I need someone like you to motivate me,” and immediately, I responded, “I can do that for you.”

We sat down and worked out an exercise schedule for her (she likes to have things planned), and I was able to apply the Forty Days of Yoga principles to her chosen form of exercise. She’s starting today, and my role is to send her a text every time I get onto my mat; we’re going to remind each other, and be accountable to someone other than ourselves and our partners, which is an important part of this process. We all know that we can fool and justify to ourselves, but no one wants to let someone else down!

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Part of the challenge is also to keep a journal. It’s a way of recording how I feel each day when I get on the mat, what I do when I’m there, and anything else that is pertinent to the whole challenge. Rather than bore you all with posting daily updates, I’ve added a page up there ^^^; if you want to follow along and see how I’m doing, I’ll be updating it regularly.

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I’ve also been posting a daily photo to Instagram, which I may or may not continue, depending on how many postures I can take photos of! As I go on, I should be able to contort myself into some strange shapes… 🙂

Forty Days of Yoga

I haven’t been to a yoga class or done any serious yoga since I was about 22 weeks pregnant with Pickle. That was over a year ago, and I miss it. So much.

I miss the way it makes me feel physically: strong, flexible, toned, fit.

I miss the way it makes me feel mentally: calm, relaxed, capable, sharp.

I miss the way it makes me feel emotionally: in-tune, settled, balanced.

I miss the way it makes me feel as a parent: like I can cope with all the new challenges thrown at me daily. The way it makes me strong enough to stop, breathe, think, listen, respond. Not shout and react, as I’m doing all too often right now.

At the moment, I feel like something essentially me is missing, like I’m not operating at 100%. Part of that is tiredness, and breastfeeding a hungry 10-month-old, but when I do yoga, none of that is an issue.

I’d like to go back to classes, but they’re not cheap, and are often on at awkward times. I have DVDs, but I find them quite distracting when my pace of breathing through a sequence of asanas is slower/faster than theirs. I’ve been meaning to start a home practise for months, but always felt that I didn’t have the knowledge, or the discipline, or the time to do it. But the thing is, an internal practise (ie: one led by me) is the only way I can overcome the barriers my mind sets for me; an external practise (ie: in a class or following a DVD) only serves to cover up those mental barriers for a while.

IMG_3560When I heard of Forty Days of Yoga, I knew that if any book could get me out of that mindset, this would be the one. A good friend of mine knows the author, and she said it was likely to be a really good book.

What an understatement.

The book is amazing. Inspiring. Encouraging. From the first page I was hooked. I was nodding silently in agreement with everything she was saying. I felt as though she was talking directly to me. Everything she described, the reasons why people don’t start a home practise, the reasons why they should…it all made sense.

So here I am, about to embark on my forty days of yoga. And then, hopefully, I’ll choose to do another forty days…and another, and another, until it’s no longer a choice…it just is.

IMG_9961The rules are simple: miss a day, and you start back at day one.

That’s motivation enough in itself, but if I feel my resolve start to falter, I’ll just look at my husband and our boys. This is for me and it’s for the three of them. They are all the inspiration and motivation I should need.

(The images here have nothing much to do with yoga…they just serve as a reminder about beauty in the small things around us x)

What I’m Making (!!)

I’ll preface this post by saying that I am NOT a sewer. It took me three tries to get my sewing “licence” in Home Ec when I was 11 years old. I struggle to sew slowly and in a straight line.

A sewing machine. Awesome.

I hemmed a pair of trousers once.

Inside out.

For the next year or so, I would smile and say, “Cool, huh?” whenever someone commented on the “embroidery” (read: overlocking) at the top of the hem.

My nana was a dressmaker (a very good one, too), and my mum is an amazing sewer. She sewed my sister’s wedding dress, three bridesmaids dresses and her own outfit for the wedding, and she made my wedding dress without a pattern, based only on the quick pencil sketches we did after I tried on the St Pucchi dress-I-loved-but-could-not-afford. The bulk of it was made while we were living on the other side of the world from each other, and it wasn’t a simple dress by any stretch of the imagination.

My dress. Even better than the original.

Despite my distinct lack of skill with a sewing machine, I’m going to share with you a couple of things I’ve been making over the last week or so.

Be kind.

Not-So-Scary Little Monsters

Slightly Lopsided Owls

Not-Quite-Completed Cushion Covers: to buttonhole or not to buttonhole?

So there you have it.

I have been creating. And it feels gooooood.

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Also?

I’ve been exercising. Yeah yeah.

My abs are aching after Monday night’s yoga class (yes, for all those who think yoga is all “ohm”s and half-lotus-positions – it’s a workout), and the weather has been so lovely the last couple of days that we’ve been out for walks, and we’ve been weeding (which is hard work when you’re battling an obnoxious weed like oxalis).

I feel good.

Mission: Apparently Impossible

I am officially my own worst enemy.

I started this month with a hiss and a roar – yoga sessions at home, with a couple of good walks and resistance workouts thrown in for good measure. I was drinking loads of water and nibbling on carrots and fruit when I was feeling peckish.


Then we were all struck down with a four-day stomach bug, followed almost immediately by a nasty cold I picked up from our friends’ almost-two-year-old son in Auckland. Sick mummy + sick toddler-who-woke-a-lot-in-the-night-because-he-couldn’t-breathe = very sloooooow recovery.

Then the weather played up; there were some less-than-pleasant days where I decided going for a walk or run in “that wind” would be further detrimental to my health, and days when my sinuses were so clogged that attempting even a few yoga poses was out of the question.

And then I lost all motivation. I decided that this month’s challenge was already a failure, so why bother trying to chase after the wagon and haul myself back on??

:/

I’m disappointed that once again, the invisible brick wall I always build between myself and fitness has risen up and prevented me from achieving this month’s goal. I know I shouldn’t berate myself for getting sick and not having the energy to do anything physical, but I also know that I probably held onto that excuse for a few extra days, when I would have actually benefited from some light exercise.


The good news is that today, I’ve managed to catch up to that wagon (swimming lessons with Tiny plus a big walk, plus yoga tonight), and I’m determined that next month, I’ll conquer two challenges instead of just one. I know that I’m only accountable to myself for this, but having written it down, for all-and-sundry (or no one) to read, I feel like I need to make this happen. I need to be able to say, “Yep, I did everything I set out to do on this journey”, otherwise the whole thing will seem pointless.

I thought that my first month‘s challenge – confidence – would be tough, but it turns out that was a piece of cake compared to this!

Let’s Get Physical

Now that the weather is getting warmer and slightly more settled, and the daylight hours are getting longer, Month Three of my year-long challenge is going to be all about exercise.


I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with sweat. When I’m exercising and in The Zone, I absolutely love the feeling of pushing my body to its physical limits, and the good muscle pain afterwards. But getting there is my biggest stumbling block. In the words of John Walker:

“The hardest part about running is putting your shoes on and getting out the door.”

That’s definitely true for me – I am the Queen of finding excuses not to exercise. Tall used to tease me about not going for the run I’d sworn I would. “Is it too windy? Too calm? Too hot? Too cold? Too sunny? Too dull? Too wet? Too dry? Too early? Too late?” Once upon a time, I asked him to push me and encourage me to run, because I thought that answering to someone else would get me motivated.

It didn’t.

Thing is, up until about five years ago, running was My Thing. Every morning, bar Sundays, I’d get up at 5.50am, and be out the door by 6am. I’d run for an hour, come home, and do 20 or 30 minutes of resistance training. Six days a week, rain, hail or shine. I even ran in snow a couple of times, which was tricky and beautiful at the same time – making the first footprints in thick white powder is pretty amazing, even at 6am.


Every year (probably twice a year), I dust off my running shoes and proclaim, “I’m going to get back in to running”, but something always seems to stall me. Glandular fever, a pulled achilles, an aching back, pregnancy, sleep-deprivation, breast-feeding…but mostly, my own mental brick wall.

Now, I’m out of excuses. I’ve stopped breastfeeding and I’m not pregnant. My back is at a level of (dis)comfort that would benefit from more exercise, and I have new(ish) shoes which will support my achilles. I am physically well and feeling energetic, so the time is nigh to get off my backside and get fit and healthy.

My goals for this month are to:

  1. stop making excuses for not doing any exercise and just do it!;
  2. start practising yoga at home;
  3. spend less time worrying about my body shape and embrace the changes that age and motherhood have brought to it;
  4. drink more water!; and
  5. think about what I’m putting into my body, and make sensible snacking choices.

Inspired by the notes from my previous Active Mums sessions, and by the tips here, I’m going to write myself an exercise plan at the beginning of each week. I’m going to make a list….and we all know how much I live by, and love crossing things off, lists. I’m going to be sensible and ease myself in, and I’m going to make the most of living near the beach and having an easily-manoeuvred buggy.

I have notes from my favourite yoga teacher, and a mat gathering dust in the spare room. I know that doing yoga once a week is not enough. I love the time spent on my mat, and I have plenty of time and space to do more, especially now that Tiny is back to sleeping in his cot during the day (wheeeee!).


I have two water bottles that I plan on carrying with me everywhere, and I’m going to set myself a goal of finishing 750ml by a specific time each day, twice. I do need to work on Tiny not drinking from (and backwashing into) them though….

I’m going to model good eating habits for Tiny. I’m going to get out of my, “[insert name of a well-known fastfood joint here] once a week is fine. It’s fine – FINE – honestly” mindset. I’m going to make better choices for my little family, because eating better is not going to do Tall any harm, either.

And I’m going to enjoy being able to race around after my toddler, and I’m going to relish being physically able to chase him and get down on the floor to play with him. I’m going to be thankful that this body of mine gave him life, and that every little – or big – change has been worth it.

**Please note: this is NOT about me losing weight, but getting fit and healthy. I won’t be keeping an eye on the scales or counting calories, but I will be tracking my energy levels, whipping out the tape measure occasionally, and keeping a healthy food journal, just to keep myself focussed.

Feeling Grateful

Each week, the teachers at my yoga studio decide on a theme for their classes. Sometimes they share the theme with the class; other times they just bring it into our practise. The theme for this week was “Grateful”, and we were asked to think of three things we are grateful for about our bodies, and three things we are grateful for about life right at this moment. We were also asked to mentally shout a big “THANK YOU!” to our bodies, which gave me a bit of a giggle.

One of my goals for the month was to focus on the physical and psychological positives about myself; to be grateful about the things I have, not resentful about the things I don’t.

It seems rather apt, therefore, that this week’s theme ties in so nicely with the end of this first month of my journey. It was nice to take this time to sit, to observe and to think positive thoughts about myself. I don’t think people do that often, and while I know I say nice things about other people all the time, it’s a different story with myself. I wonder why we can so easily find the positives about others, but find doing the same for ourselves such a challenge? Is it an acceptance thing, or merely an innate defense mechanism to make sure we’re not all walking around like we’re the cat’s pyjamas??

Image from here

Three things I’m grateful for about my body?
~ that it is strong and healthy
~ that it is pain-free
~ that it allows me to move, to breathe, to live fully

Three things I’m grateful for about life right now?
~ my husband (especially for doing the 5am shift when Tiny wouldn’t re-settle this morning!)
~ Tiny (despite the aforementioned not re-settling!)
~ sunshine!