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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Before I began practicing yoga, I failed to find peace and clarity in any form of exercise. After achieving my goal of training for and completing my first 5k, I evaluated my mental and physical state. This confirmed my suspicion that running may not be the best form of exercise to return to on a regular basis. Each person’s body is different, therefore, different forms of exercise better suit different lifestyles. I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and PFAPA (periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, adenitis). Having a hormonal disorder and auto-inflammatory condition means my body tends not to respond well to high-intensity exercise. Although weight lifting, my other primary form of exercise, could be considered a low-impact workout, it was slightly too strenuous on my cortisol levels. This caused me to feel fatigued often and suffer from more frequent PFAPA flares. 

In the past, I had never taken an interest in yoga. When training for my 5k, I discovered Yoga with Adriene. In addition to her pre and post-run yoga videos on YouTube, Adriene has hundreds of videos for a variety of different yoga practices. These videos consist of everything from “Yoga for Writers” to “Yoga for Upper Back Pain.” After enjoying many of her situational-specific videos, I wanted to make yoga a part of my daily routine. 

On her channel, Adriene has a yoga “journey” called Move which consists of 20-30 minute videos each day for 30 days. At first, this seemed impossible to me. I could barely make it through a 7-minute practice without checking my watch and becoming unfocused. As the days went on, I stayed committed to myself and my practice. I began to make my yoga mat a safe space in a time when I lacked consistency and stability. 

Each day, I journal after my practice, noting my strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between. This was not only a way to track my physical and mental progress but to also record how I was applying my practice to my life off the mat. There were high points in my 30-day journey. “It is possible to reset, no matter how late in the day or how late in the practice,” (Day 29) and there were lows, “Even holding poses that are physically difficult is ten times harder when your mental strength is low too.” (Day 27). Yet a journey is not a journey without both the ups and the downs. 

Yoga has now become a crucial part of my daily routine, and without it, I feel incomplete, restless, and mentally slow. I believe that while Adriene Mishler’s yoga videos were the best way to kindle my love of yoga, it took more mental work beyond the mat to dedicate myself to the practice. Taking classes 3-4 times a week at Black Swan Yoga studios has allowed me to create movement and space with my body in a positive and safe environment. It has also given me a community of yogi’s that I can connect with through our shared desire to strengthen and care for our bodies. Some days, my practice is more difficult than others, but I never come off the mat wishing that I would have stayed at home. My most important advice for future yogi’s; do not quit if your practice gets hard. When you feel as if you are about to break, you are the closest you have ever been to a breakthrough. 

Casey is a third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a journalism degree and a business Spanish certificate. She is currently a food editorial intern at Camille Styles and where she writes and publishes food and lifestyle pieces. In her free time, Casey enjoys cooking, traveling, and practicing yoga. IG: caseymckee_ Blog: KeenlyCasey.com Twitter: casey.mckee7