For nearly 6 months, all I talked about was doing yoga. “My back hurts when I wake up,” I’d say. Or “God, my posture is terrible!” These exclamations were inevitably followed by “I’m going to try yoga—maybe that’ll help.”
But I didn’t. Sure, I talked about doing yoga every day. I even took the opportunity to snag a yoga mat and a few yoga DVDs from a coworker who was cleaning out her office, but I didn’t actually do yoga. (Attention fellow time-challenged folks: Prevention’s Get Fit in 10: Slim and Strong for Life serves up 10-minute workouts and 10-minute meals for serious, undeniable results. Try it for FREE today!)
After getting off work at 6:00 PM, taking the hour-and-a-half-long subway ride home, making dinner, eating dinner, doing dishes, and getting myself ready for work the next day, I’d glance at my yoga mat gathering dust in the corner and flop into bed to watch Netflix instead.
Eventually, I got tired of saying the same thing over and over again (and I’m sure my friends got tired of hearing it). So to make myself accountable, I told my editor I’d volunteer to do a whole month of yoga, at least 10 minutes every day, and write about it. I found some online yoga classes to stream and diligently followed along. Here’s what I learned.
Bending myself into a pretzel wasn’t the hardest part.
I went into this ready for my muscles to scream at me and for my body to yell, “I just can’t bend that way!” Which, to be honest, it sometimes did. But it came as a total shock to me that the hardest part wasn’t trying to stand on one leg while I held my ankle in one hand and pointed toward the wall with the other (a pose I was finally able to accomplish by the end of the month!). It was breathing.
Practicing yoga is as much about being aware of your breath as it is twisting your body into different shapes. Breathing deeply in and out of your nose supposedly helps you melt deeper into a stretch, while also aiding in stress reduction, lowering blood pressure, and lifting your mood, yoga instructor Kristin McGee writes on her blog. But it was surprisingly hard to match my inhales and exhales to my movements. At the end of the month, I still haven’t mastered it.