I love working up a sweat in my workouts, feeling like I’m working hard and pushing myself whether it’s running, spinning, lifting, planking. You get the idea. I’m just not very good at stretching. Whether it’s the post-workout stretch, or a whole hour of stretchy stuff, I’d rather be doing something else. Which is why I am so unflexi, and therefore hate stretching even more because I’m rubbish at it. I can’t touch my toes, I don’t ‘relax’ into down dog, and I certainly can’t forward bend when my legs are straddled. However, this yoga challenge is forcing me to put the work into yoga and slowly I’m feeling a difference- both in my mentality towards yoga and my body’s ability (I can’t touch my toes yet but my down dog is getting there). I’m also learning that yoga can be a real toughie of a workout, particularly with instructors like Choi at Goodvibes. My abs, thighs and arms are always on fire at the end of a session with her and I feel like I’ve worked my whole body. We’re 13 days into January, and I’ve completed 7 days of the 21 daychallenge. This means that there will be a lot more yoga in the coming weeks, and more than a few ‘2 a day’ workouts. Thursday- Yoga class at TriYoga Friday- Yang and Yin class at Goodvibes Monday- Bikram Yoga at Sohot Soho (an absolute sweat fest) Tuesday- Vinyasa Flow class at my gym Thursday- back to Triyoga Friday- Yang and Yin at Goodvibes (another sweat fest and a real workout) I love how many of you are getting involved in the challenge, and I thought it might be interesting to see how others are getting on. I asked a couple of wannabe yogis to report back on how they’re finding the 21daysofyoga…. Lorna Mann– aka the best dressed lycra clad lady ever I don’t dislike many things in life – I’m generally a positive person, and like to see the best in everything. Except for Yoga. As a runner this is a problem. Yoga improves a runner’s flexibility in order to prevent injury, it gives the muscles need a break from pounding the pavements and also gives the mind a much needed rest. Well not for me it doesn’t. I find yoga one of the most brutal challenges on my training programme simply because I just don’t feel like I belong in the environment – I’m hyper by nature, I like to move at a fast pace and like to see improvements and results relatively quickly. None of these attributes match with yoga. That’s slowly but surely starting to change and I have Charlie’s #21daysofyoga to thank for this. Never one to back down from a challenge, I thought I’d use this opportunity to give yoga another chance to win me around, especially as marathon training is in full swing. I’m hopeful this will enable me to fall in love with the practise and forget about my absolutely unnecessary need to quantify training with quick and visible results. How am I getting on? Well – I still could cry each time I attempt to touch my toes, my heels are still sky high in “my dog”, and I continue to feel like the tin man after every round of sun salutations BUT I am enjoying the experience – a little. I’m mainly enjoying it because I’m using this challenge to try and learn a little more about myself. Rather than beat myself up for not “being in the moment” I’m accepting it and trying to work out what’s keeping that mind of mind buzzing when it should be resting. I also know that it is definitely doing me some good, I just wish my damn calf muscles and hamstrings would show some signs of loosening up – they are still as hard as rocks. The more I practise the more I realise that yoga and stretching is not an easy part of anyone’s training plan. My muscles (especially my core) are being blasted each and every time I land on the mat – it’s no easy ride I’ll tell you! I was ignorant enough to think that sometimes my yoga days were going to be “restful days” – how wrong I was!!! Inevitably I know it’s going to take a much longer period of time to make me fall in love with yoga, but I am falling for some amazing people whilst attempting this challenge – namely Choi and Emily at Goodvibes. Both very different in how they teach, but equally caring, kind and powerful. They are two very strong women that are worth getting to know! I know I’ll get through the challenge – but how I feel at the end of it is anyone’s guess!!!
It was only 2 months ago that I first set foot in the yoga studio at FrameShoreditch and fell completely in love with vinyasa flow. I had previously dabbled in a bit of bikram and enjoyed it, but found it quite time consuming and a little dull, working through the same postures each time. At Frame I discovered a completely different style of yoga. Vinyasa flow is dynamic, sweaty and invigorating. Each class feels like a real workout and at the same time leaves me feeling cleansed, calm and loose. Over the past two months my flexibility has improved and I feel much stronger in my core. Yoga works muscles that are difficult to target in the gym and leaves me with a pleasant ache the next day. Aside from the physical benefits, I also find that a class is a great way to get my day off to a refreshing start or to settle my mind in the evening.
I was eager to take on the 21 days challenge because it would coincide with the first 4 weeks of my half marathon training programme. I knew it would make a great antidote to a heavy schedule of running and strength sessions and that regular practice was just the thing to bring a smile to my face in dreary January. By the time you read this I will be 7 days in and I am loving the challenge so far. It has been quite tough to fit classes in around my other training sessions, medical school and social commitments but I’m always really pleased that I’ve made the time to practice. I might try a few yoga videos at home over the next few weeks, which should leave me less time pressured and be a little easier on my wallet! Having said that, Frame are offering an awesome January yoga deal, which I’m going to get involved in too.
I’m a real A-type personality and always considered myself more suited to deadlifts and hill reps than downward dogs, however I am living proof that there’s a style of yoga to suit everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying the challenge as much as I am, namaste!
‘I was doing my usual trick of whiling away the hours on Twitter instead of working when I stumbled across Charlie’s post on #21daysofyoga. I’d already been planning to try and do at least 10 minutes of yoga 5 times a week on my own to try and turn it into a habit whilst my favourite yoga teacher is away in Jan, and so this seemed like the perfect challenge and a way of keeping myself motivated. January 1st rolled around and as the rain poured down outside I decided that it was an ideal time to start, and so after a miserable strength workout (that I ditched after day 3) I found myself on the mat wondering what the hell I was going to do without a teacher to follow. I’ve been practising yoga for about 3 years, but I’ve always been entirely useless about practising on my own – I use some of the stretches after I’ve been running, but that’s about the extent of my solo yoga. But once I put on my playlist and zoned out I found that my brain could actually remember what it needed to do without a teacher talking me through each pose. Soon I’d somehow managed 4 days in a row of yoga before the wheels came off in a prosecco-based fashion. But that’s the beauty of this 21 day challenge, you don’t have to do it every day so you can inhale multiple glasses of fizz and ignore the mat without the usual January guilt of an overly ambitious regime kicking in. I’ve just finished Day 9 and I swear that I’m starting to see a difference. For a start I’ve never practised so regularly on my own before and am really enjoying it, but I’ve also managed to comfortably reach my toes in seated forward fold for the first time ever – OK so it’s not exactly as impressive as the sudden ability to do scorpion pose but who cares, this is a big step forwards for me! I’ve done yoga retreats before where I’ve done 4hrs of yoga a day for a week, but when you practice on your own you get time to focus on the areas you really need to, which for me is my hips and hamstrings, and bloody hell does it help! Plus it’s also just been awesome going to yoga classes and seeing other people there who are also taking part and are encouraging each other to keep going, keep stretching and keep aiming for the elusive moment of touching our toes. So here’s to the challenge, bring on the next 13 days…! I’ve been dipping my toes into yoga for a few years now and I’ve found that the more i go the more there is to learn. After starting a as an Educator at lululemon in 2013 (a predominantly yoga apparel brand) yoga became a part of my work life as well as personal life. I would listen to all the conversations about yoga and learnt more about the different styles and schools of yoga which made me decide I’d like to try them all to find which one is for me! I decided I’d up my yoga game in January anyway when I came across the #21daysofyoga challenge. It put a goal on the list for January and I knew there would be support via social media, blog posts etc and getting to read about everyone’s journeys. Last year I wanted to increase my flexibility, work on my core and increase my upper body strength – all of which I could have done with yoga. In the past couple of months I’ve noticed so much progress such as being able to get my heels closer to the ground in downward dog and being able to keep up with all the flows – plank into cobra / upward dog and into downward dog. So far I’m loving the challenge but realising it is actually going to be a challenge. To date I have completed 6 days out of a possible 10 (7 hours of yoga in total) which realistically only leaves me with another 6 days off in the next 21 days. I will be using the Nike Training Club app and online videos on the days I can’t make it to class though and I have a couple of workshops booked too! I’m currently a huge fan of Rocket Yoga (sweaty, fast flowing, advanced class for beginners) as well as the more relaxed styles such as Yin (where you hold postures for up to 5 minutes each). I’m determined to succeed in this challenge and come out the other end of January feeling lengthened, toned, less tight and stronger!
How are you finding the challenge? Are you a lover or hater of yoga? If you’re taking part and want to be featured in the coming weeks, please send me an email at Charliewatson88@hotmail.co.uk.