New Fitness Initiative: The 20 Minute Yoga Challenge

Yoga Badge

Helllooooo August!

How many blogs are you going to read today (or have you already read) that say this very sentence: I can’t believe it’s August already! Where did the summer go? Well, I have good news for you, my friends. There’s still over a month and a half left of summer. Having been a teacher the last eight years, I completely forgot that summer goes until September 21st- and does not, in fact, end the second week of August. :)

I’ve been thinking a lot about some new fitness challenges that I want to take on- things that will benefit my body and my mind. I don’t really want to add “more” workouts, because I pretty much get enough with the classes that I teach, plus a few extra boot camps or hikes thrown in.

What I’m really lacking is recovery- and stretching! When I put all of these ideas together, the answer is loud and clear: YOGA!

In the past, I’ve had an on/off relationship with yoga. When I have made time for it in my schedule (and made it a priority), I have seen the benefits in so many different areas. My flexibility improves greatly, I sleep better, feel more refreshed, and just feel “better” in general. When I practice yoga, I leave everything at the door and work hard to be in the present, focusing on my breath, and the moment that I’m in.

With all of these benefits, you may wonder “well, why did you stop doing yoga?” Here’s the answer: I’m very much an “all or nothing” person. I guess I feel like if I can’t do 60-90 minutes of yoga, it’s not worth doing. WRONG. What I’ve discovered is that just taking twenty minutes for yoga makes me feel the benefits- and that’s how I came up with the idea for the twenty minute yoga challenge.

I’m pledging to take (at least) twenty minutes out of each day to devote to yoga. On days that I have longer or more aggressive workouts, I’ll focus more on gentle Hatha yoga and deep stretching. Other days, I’ll do a longer yoga practice that works the muscles a bit more, like Power Yoga or Vinyasa Flow. And maybe I’ll even knock that one item off my bucket list: to take a hot yoga class (finally)!

I know that there will be days that I don’t feel like practicing yoga- but I’m hoping that once it becomes a habit, it’s something that I can’t live without. And I know that every single day might sound like a lot- but really- it’s only twenty minutes. (And if it only ends up being fifteen one day, that’s fine too!)

My gym offers a few different yoga classes during the week, and there’s also a few great yoga studios near my house. But for me- I’m much more likely to practice every day if I can fit it around my schedule and do it in my own home. I have a few different yoga DVDs that I like to use, and my favorite is Bob Harper: Yoga for the Warrior, which will make you sweat. (And by the way- his entire Inside Out Method series is awesome- and you can get four DVDs for $20 through the link I posted!) I also like Shiva Rea, and have a great DVD that lets you “custom-build” your yoga practice, making it as long or short as you would like.

If you go to YouTube, there are endless amounts of yoga videos- and I’ve been taking full advantage of this lately. I will post some of my favorites that I discover, but for now I subscribe to Yoga Journal at Home, which has a bunch of different yoga videos- (but really, there are so many to choose from on YouTube- just search “yoga” or a specific type or time frame and see what you find!).

I’ve been posting photos like this on Instagram for the last few days, just showing proof that I did my “20 minutes” for the day, and added the hashtag #20minyoga.

As you can see, I’m really into Wheel Pose. :)

If you think that you would benefit from committing to (at least) twenty minutes of yoga each day, then I encourage you to join me in the challenge! If you use Instagram or Twitter, post a photo or tweet with the hashtag #20minyoga to hold yourself accountable.

You can also grab this badge to add to your sidebar by copying the text below:

Oatmeal after Spinning

I’m really excited about committing to this new challenge, and ever more excited about improving my flexibility, mental clarity and sleep- and quality of life in general. After all, it’s only twenty minutes. :)

I’d also really love to know your thoughts- whether your a newbie or an experienced yogi: How has yoga benefited you in your life?