New Fitness Initiative: The 20 Minute Yoga Challenge

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?

Comments

  1. I just ordered Bob’s Yoga for the Warrior online yesterday! I can’t wait to get it and sweat it out. As for hot yoga, its amazing. You get such a deep stretch and deeper into poses b/c of the heat and being warm/looser. You should def hit up the hot yoga, you will love it!

    • YES! You will love it. The first time you do it- it’s HARD – but go back and do it again and again. He definitely kicks your butt!

  2. Amy Quinn says:

    I LOVE LOVE this challenge. I need this and I am sooo in! Even if I can’t figure out Instagram and Twitter. LOL

  3. ive actually taken heated yoga before, you will love it!

  4. I’ve really been trying to get into yoga lately, so this challenge sounds great! Can’t wait to see your list of best Youtube yoga videos :)

  5. I’ve never been bit by the yoga bug, sadly. I do love Pilates though… which I know is not Yoga but still :) Great challenge Lauren!! Rock it!

    • Pilates is great- and SO hard! We should take a yoga class together sometime- it’s such a good balance for those of us (like you) that kick our asses in the gym every day!

  6. I’m so glad you’re doing this. I need to do yoga. I don’t know if I can do 20 minutes daily, but maybe if I split it into 2 10-minute blocks? I will give it a try. If for nothing else, for flexibility. I can also cheat and do tree pose at my desk since I stand all day. ;)

    PS Lovely graphic.

    • Ha- thanks! :) 20 minutes broken into 2 segments is a great idea. 10 min when you wake up, 10 before bed. Or if you can only squeeze in 10 total one day- whatever. The point is just to make it a habit. I looooove tree pose.

  7. I LOVE this! I’ve been working to incorporate 20 minutes of yoga back into my life everyday again. in fact my new thing each night is to either do 20 minutes of yoga or read for about 20-30 minutes. It’s had such a huge impact on my mentality the past couple of weeks since I started. I might very well have to join you on this little adventure… ;)

    And I HIGHLY recommend YogaDownload.com. They have several FREE 20 minute podcasts or pretty cheap podcasts that are 30-60 minutes. They come with a PDF pose guide. I have about 6 different downloaded sessions and need to get my hands on a few more.

    • Awesome, Katie- I will definitely look at YogaDownload!! Thanks again for inspiring me to do this. When you commented, I was like “oh THAT’S who put the idea in my head!”

  8. Great post! I actually bought that Bob Harper series a couple weeks ago based on your recommendation and you’re absolutely right about Yoga for the Warrior- it kicks my butt!

    (On an unrelated note, theclymb.com is featured discounted prAna clothing today and I know you love that brand.)

    • Oh crap. Don’t tell me about PrAna discounts…. danger!!! :)
      I’m so glad you got Bob’s DVD. It is so awesome. I could do it over and over again and never get sick of it (I bet I’ve done it at least 100 times since I got it last year), but I know that I should probably switch it up a little bit. :)

  9. this makes me so happy! YOGA it up! it will love you back.
    <3

  10. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    I did a challenge like this last year and it was amazing. I really want to do it again, but since I’m also adding back in weight training right now I don’t think it’s wise to commit. I LOVE the idea though and I’ll share it with others. =)

    • That’s awesome! Did you blog about it?
      Even if you just commit yourself to doing yoga ONCE a week, it’s better than nothing!

  11. I like yoga, but foam rolling and stretching are by FAR my favorites! I do it 3x/week at least.

    Great idea!! You’ve got this :)

    • Stretching- yes. Foam rolling- I still am not great about that. I NEED to get better at doing it regularly!!

  12. I never do yoga enough!! I’m so in for this challenge!!

  13. i swear yoga is the best for my abs!!!! and it’s extremely energizing for me!

  14. Ahh, yoga. I do it at least every other day, it’s addicting!

    • I know you’re a Bob lover too- so you can relate to how butt-kicking his DVD is. Do you ever take classes?

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