a shared yoga challenge

“What’s up Party People?” (LOL! Inside joke!)

For the past 2 years, I’ve done a Yoga With Adriene (YWA) video every single day (except during those 5 weeks in Dec-Jan 2021-2022 after I’d broken a rib). 

At first, doing a YWA video was what kept me grounded during the pandemic.  It gave me something to look forward to – something that was just for me.  It felt as though after I hit ‘play’ someone was telling me it was okay to just think about me – no one else. 

After a while, I roped my sister in.  She lives in the Northwest;  I was in the Southwest.  But we called each other on Facetime, chose a video by deciding which part of our bodies hurt or which body part we wanted to strengthen. And we’d do yoga ‘together’ while apart.

Even now, we still do this.

A few weeks ago, I asked a friend whether she’d like to join me in a yoga challenge.  The challenge was simple.  She’d choose a week’s worth of YWA videos for me and I’d do the same for her. Then we’d both write about our experience and / or our yoga practice.

Below are my choices for my friend.

One of my all time favourites – love this one so much, I do it once a week.
Probably my second favourite! A great practice with a little bit of everything
Such a great video. If you only have a few minutes, this is the video for you.
A lovely short(ish) practice that’s gentle and kind
Can’t not feel good after this practice!
Sigh … love this one a lot! I did this video 1 week straight summer 2022
A little tough but you’ll feel SO accomplished afterwards

These are her picks for me:

perfect for bedtime yoga
great (but tough) practice with some side planks (can’t have side body flow without side planks, right?)
24 minute practice – offers several great poses like goddess and pyramid posture
Love this one – a little bit of everything in 25 minutes
a good (tough-ish) practice with hip-dips and extended side angles
you’ll feel very accomplished at the end

Over these two years I’ve learnt many things from being consistent with my yoga practice. 

  1. Dropping my shoulders down from my ears. 

    For most of us, when we’re stressed, our shoulders creep up higher and higher.  Having this regular practice reminds me to drop my shoulders down and pull them back. Then I often get a little pop – a release between my shoulder blades – and it feels great.  I stand up taller as a result. 

2. I’ve also learnt to control my stress and anxiety with the ‘ocean breath’.  

Traffic bending you out of shape? 
Someone annoying you at work? 
Too much bad news on the internet?

“Ocean breath’ works every time. Whenever I do it, I can actually feel my heart rate slowing down.

Doing yoga everyday has definitely made me stronger and it’s helped me to stay connected to myself and to people I care about – in a true and really meaningful way.


Thoughts from my Yoga-Challenge Friend

Yoga.

Another week, 7 days, of videos picked by someone else. Excitement and transformation without following my own plan.

When does that feeling ever happen to me? Every day presents this opportunity, but not usually in my yoga practice. My yoga practice is fairly mapped out in a predictable schedule. Usually that schedule is simple – one of Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day challenges in between the random back catalog videos that I’ve not yet completed, peppered with some oldies but goodies as a sporadic break between the 30 day challenges.

In this way, my year is completely planned out. The overall effect satisfies me and sharpens my day with the momentary insight that will guide me in situations in which the best action is not a habit, and a decision needs to be mindfully mediated—quickly.

This mindset is the effect of my personal regular yoga practice. The exact video doesn’t matter, so long as I do some yoga every day.

Still, I did not pick my own yoga schedule for a whole week this year. This is MAJOR. Not because I thought the effect of the videos would change, but because I was asked to reflect on the experience. And I was presented another possibility of communicating my experience through a blog entry that could be read by others.

How should I journal about this experience? Should I even journal? But what else would I do to absorb the experience and share it with a receptive audience?

Conversation, sure…in real life, the comments made with my husband during the experience were an immediate part of the week-long challenge. But of course, that happens slowly, every day, without the time to take note of it, and dialogue is so hard to nail down.

Should I write an essay that’s planned out, drafted, proofread? Or would I simply get the feeling of creatively surrendering control out there more efficiently? If so, a washi tape underlining of a word might suffice. If made with the right intention.

Maybe this writing can lead me to my answer. Maybe I’ll do an art piece in addition to the essay, bust out that washi tape and cut up some nice flair for a journal entry, not just a single word.

Though – come to think of it – that journal entry probably would revolve around a single word. It would be written in marker and with brush strokes so broad they take up most of the page.
Near the single word, I would write the following entry: “Yoga DONE!

This challenge was like reading a book or sharing in a movie together.  An exercise in sharing and in communication as well as bonding through experiences.


My friend and I would like to offer you a challenge. Try our favourite yoga videos and see which ones leave you feeling just a little stronger at the end.


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