As much as I love summer, I’m definitely anxious for fall to get here- and it’s coming fast! The theme of August certainly was creating a new routine- and adjusting to it. Since I had been traveling for a good portion of June and July, August was all about getting down to business. Most days were spent studying for my PFT exam (as will most days in September) and teaching 1-2 classes at the gym.
I’ll be honest- the adjustment hasn’t exactly been easy. And I know exactly how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to pursue my dream job as a personal trainer, and I’m certainly not complaining about my life. But, that doesn’t mean that it was exactly a “smooth” transition going from a job that had me on my feet most of the day to spending 4-6 hours all day sitting at a desk reading material, taking notes, watching lectures… and doing it over and over again.
One thing that really has been my saving grace in this new transition was the 20 Minute Yoga Challenge that I set for myself at the beginning of August.
I’m happy to report that I made time for yoga every single day during the month of August! And trust me- there were some days (particularly if I had to teach multiple classes at the gym) where I just really didn’t want to do it. But, I made myself- even if it was just a very short practice- and I always felt better afterward.
And I did something huge yesterday- after saying that I wanted to take a hot yoga class (for … um, forever?) I finally did it! I went to Ananda Shala, which is where I’ve been taking classes for the last month.
AND- I was right next to the heater, so it was…. extra hot.
The class was a little over 90 minutes long- and I’d say that I started to really sweat about 10 minutes into it. It was pretty much a standard Vinyasa flow class that happened to be in a room that was a lot warmer than usual- and it was tough. I remember looking at my legs while in downward dog at one point, and just watching the sweat dripping down- thank goodness I brought my yoga towel to put on my mat or I would have been slipping all over the place!
There was one point where I started to feel a little nauseous, but then I grabbed some water and was okay. And by the end, I felt awesome! I can only describe this look as “yoga drunk.”
I was pretty much wiped out for the rest of the day (just like I heard I would be!). I’m kind of amazed at just how much that class took out of me. And I felt more sore in my legs than I do after teaching back-to-back Spinning and Bodypump (we did do about 1,000 lunges in the form of crescent and warrior poses). I will definitely go back to hot yoga, but I’m thinking that I’d rather go in the evening… and then come right home and go to bed.
One other thing that I loved about the class was the instructor, Aimee. I’d taken one class with her before, and she’s just gifted (she also happens to own the yoga studio). And she has played this song during both classes that I’ve taken with her, which is just downright sexy and kind of transports you somewhere else during your practice…
Oh yeah, baby.
Here are some things I learned about myself during the 20-minute Yoga Challenge:
- I need to take more time to slow down, disconnect, and just breathe
- Practicing yoga = gaining flexibility, which is a good thing!
- It’s very easy to practice yoga at my house with a DVD or Podcast (or freestyle), but I get the biggest benefit from it when I actually go take a class (which I’ve been doing at a local studio once a week)
- My hips were really weak! I never knew that until I started doing pigeon pose all the dang time
- Yoga is a really important part of my physical routine- and I need that balance (especially with teaching such high energy classes like Spinning and Bodypump)
- The observations about myself that I’ve learned from the “yoga mind” have made me take a hard look at some of the lifestyle habits I have that are making me unhappy and hindering my success in certain areas
- I benefit from doing yoga at any time of day, whether it’s first thing in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon when I need a “break” or at the end of the day before I go to bed. I really can’t pick a “favorite” time of day to practice.
- Yoga is such a great form of strength training (and even cardio – depending on the class)!
Will I continue doing a yoga practice every single day now that the challenge is over? Probably not. But, I will continue to make it a part of my lifestyle, and at least try to take a few moments out of each day to reflect inward, and focus on slowing down and not making everything so complicated.
What’s the last habit that you created that made you feel awesome? Have you done hot yoga?