Since quarantine hit and I was forced to stay home for the Fall semester, I had noticed I was extremely stressed, tense, and constantly having shoulder and neck pain from slumping in front of my computer. My friend and I were talking about how we wanted to become more active and slowly bring ourselves back from being a couch potato for the past five months. September is National Yoga Month, so I looked around and found a 10 minute yoga a day challenge that went for a month on YouTube through Yoga with Kassandra.
So I decided I would make it a goal of mine to complete this challenge, and not only was I surprised at how not easy it is, but how beneficial it has been for me! I did this yoga every morning before classes, and I kept notes of how I felt each week to compare it with my friends, and this is what happened;
Week One: I am NOT Flexible, and This is Weird
Obviously if you haven’t stretched a certain muscle in a long time you are going to feel the burn. But the stretches she took me through were pretty simple for beginners and stretched me out pretty well. The background music is super calming, and almost meditative where I didn’t feel I was going to fall asleep, but I did feel weird doing some of these newer poses. However, I do recommend you make sure you don’t overstretch, and take slow deep breaths in between for a nice long stretch of your muscles. I may or may not have pulled a muscle in my back from overdoing a certain pose, so make sure to do these with caution and don’t overdo!
Week Two: Better Posture and Mental Clarity
The second week was pretty good overall! I felt that I had gotten down some of the poses (yet I was still not flexible enough to do downward dog properly). One thing I did notice was that I also was feeling pretty happy with myself mentally. At the beginning and end of the “class,” Kassandra would pick some intentions, and we would chant a few times, which I thought was pointless in the beginning. Nonetheless, I did it, and truly started to feel stronger feelings with setting mental intentions for things like happiness and mental clarity. I also noticed that when sitting at my work desk, I am beginning to correct my posture more and realize how bad I was sitting before!
Week Three: I Can Touch My Toes!
I never thought this day would come! I’d say I am a “tall” person, with a height of 5’6 (and 3/4 – yes it matters to me!), and have very long legs. I was so proud of myself for being able to reach my legs, and could slowly feel myself beginning to become stronger in places I didn’t think I had! The stretches vary each day, and I definitely treated myself to a nice Epsom salt bath afterwards. I still haven’t been able to fully do some of the stretches, but that is totally okay! It’s all a learning process and you just have to take things one step at a time.
Week Four: Increasing Energy and Great Attitude!
Week four was tough for me, with an incoming workload of college work and being stuck at home to help care for my brother. However I feel that by getting up in the morning and doing yoga, I was accomplishing something small in the beginning of the day and it helped me.
Week Five: Overall Better-ness and Calming Effects
After week five, I was feeling stronger about myself. My mental health was feeling pretty good about myself. I also felt I could achieve almost all the poses we had worked on throughout the month. I know that overall I had missed a couple of days due to random bouts of laziness, but that’s part of life. I also noticed my shoulders and neck weren’t as nearly as stiff and tight as they used to be, which was a great feeling knowing that I was taking care of myself.
Overall I felt that the yoga for 10 minutes a day were extremely beneficial and easily accomplished for those with a tight schedule. I know yoga isn’t for everyone, and at first, I was pretty skeptical myself. However the more I thought it through, the more I realized I was doing it for me. By setting aside 10 minutes a day to stretch my body and focus on myself, I was putting in the effort to create health benefits that were tailored to me. Yoga can be done by anyone at any level, and I think if you haven’t tried it already, its definitely worth a try.