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As the temperature started to rise this summer, I realized that I had no desire to work out or do anything that might make me sweat even more than I already was. And then I stumbled upon YouTube yoga classes and thought “Wow this is perfect!” I had very little experience with yoga, but I thought that it could be a cool way to try something new and move my body without breaking too much of a sweat. So, I decided that I would try a 30-day challenge with the content creator Yoga with Adriene.

At the start of this challenge, I found it difficult to pace my breathing with each of the movements. I also found it difficult to constantly be aware and mindful of every aspect of my body. She would tell us to ground ourselves and then feel the power coursing from the floor and through our body to help with particularly challenging sequences of moves. Now, I don’t want to say that I have perfected these two skills, but I have found it is easier for me to incorporate my mind into my practice. For example, balancing in an awkward position or holding a plank has become easier now that I use my breath to fuel my movements and that I check in with my body to engage other muscles.

I’m not going to sit here and argue that this challenge is the best thing that ever happened to me or that it is the best type of exercise, but I did truly find some benefits to my practice that have encouraged me to continue my practice and try some harder classes.

Morning Workouts Prepared Me for the Day

I found that rolling out of bed and jumping straight into yoga was a great way to wake up and get ready for the day. Practicing coordinated breathing while moving my body helped stretch out any aches and pains that I had gained while sleeping, while also oxygenating the rest of my body. I found that I often felt more awake and lighter when I started my day with yoga. Plus, who doesn’t want to start their day off feeling like they have already accomplished something great?!

Evening Workouts Prepared Me for a Good Night’s Sleep

If I was too busy with work, or just didn’t feel like doing yoga in the morning, I could always do it later in the evening and stretch out any aches or tightness from my day. I found that my night practices were a great way to shut off my brain and feel calmer before bed.

Yoga Helped with My Chronic Pain

I suffer from chronic migraines and pain from weakened/injured joints, but I found that yoga was a great way to help with my pain. Moving my body right when I woke up was a great way to get blood pumping through my body and warm it up for the day. My lower back was stretched out and reminded how it can move after being flat all night long. My core was being strengthened to help better support my back throughout the day. I even found that my shoulders and elbows were cracking less and in less pain after my practice. The practice of yoga helped my head feel awake and often helped alleviate the pain as a migraine was starting to hit (and even stop it from really starting), but I definitely had to sit out of yoga and delay the challenge on days where my headaches were bad. While I didn’t try to practice on any of my bad days due to the fear of increasing the pressure and pain in my head, I did notice that there were some videos on this content creator’s YouTube page that were specifically made for headaches. I would definitely be interested in trying one of those videos out in the future.

As you can see, I have discovered that I am quite the fan of yoga and I highly recommend that you all give it a try in the future as a way to wake up, get ready for bed, or even to try and workout quietly without disrupting any roommates or neighbours.

Fourth year Nursing student at uOttawa, who spends way too much time at Starbucks and finding excuses to go for walks.
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