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This Is Your Sign to Start Doing Yoga: My 30 Day Yoga Journey

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

Yoga is something that I, like most people, have always wanted to try but believed it to be this very unattainable skill reserved only for certain people. Something always seemed to stop me. I didn’t even know where to start looking for resources, as well as telling myself I couldn’t because of my busy schedule, my lack of equipment, and my lack of flexibility and strength. But mostly I was afraid I couldn’t reach this mental and spiritual peak that’s always surrounded the conversion of yoga. However, at the beginning of the year for the whole month of January, I decided to try it out. I did 30 days of yoga.

In the most emotionally inconsistent month of my life in a long time, yoga proved to be the only thing that was always there. When I began this yoga journey, I was so unaware of what it would do to me and how much that would mean. So much so, that in the beginning I referred to it as a challenge in place of journey. I believed it would be a fiscal dispute, and although it was, it also became so much more than that. Through all of my emotional insecurity, I found a place of grounding and comfort within yoga practice. It gave me a reason to get up in the mornings and oftentimes left me feeling refreshed to start the day. Even on the gloomy days, when joining the practice was a pain, I pushed through anyway. In doing so, I had unconsciously dedicated time to myself. It was a time to untense, unwind and be aware of the present moment. 

In these practices I was forced to be with myself, since a lot of exercises and poses included focus on the breath and on stillness. All this quiet gave me a lot of time to think. About, well, everything. With this, I realized that oftentimes I never really allowed myself to stop, think, and feel all the whirlwinds of my mind. I always had the distraction of my phone, texts, rows of movies, or any other form of media I chose to distract myself from my thoughts. Yoga seemed to be the ultimate form of self-care, allowing me the space and moment to be with myself. To listen to my breath, heartbeat, and untangle the messy storm of emotions that made me so unstable. 

I learned a lot about myself and my body throughout these 30 days. Although, not in the transdimensional way that everyone speaks of (which was my biggest worry), but in tiny details. I’d heard so much about yoga and how it affects your state of mind, how it makes you feel peaceful and fulfilled, I was doubtful I would ever get to those places. Some very rare times I did, but a lot of the times I didn’t. 

In the first few days, the instructor would encourage us to find a “wide breath” or “a pull from the top of your head,” all these abstract concepts that in no way relate to the human body. And I didn’t ever think I would understand or internalize what it meant. Until suddenly, I did. It was something that crept up on me, that I didn’t understand until it made sense.

This turned out to be my first big lesson. I learned that in the end, it’s not about what you are able to do that means “success” to everyone, but what you are able to do that means success to you. Even if you don’t reach this complex spiritual space. Even if that is as simple as waking up, laying down a towel, and pressing play on that yoga video. Even if it’s as simple as starting. With this, I grew to be a lot kinder to myself. I came to realize the importance of balance. I pushed myself to new limits I knew I could achieve but hadn’t because of fear, and forgave myself when I couldn’t do things my body or mind could not yet handle. Especially during my period (another thing that scared the bejeezus out of me), I moved a lot calmer and slower, actively preventing feeling more pain than I already was. This is what defined success in yoga to me, this balance in kindness.

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Physically, I noticed a growth in my resistance, especially in my shoulders and thighs. I felt a surge of awareness in my body and how it feels before, during, and after the practices. This in turn nourished my other abilities like balance, stillness, and strength. I sensed an opening up in my chest, belly, and breathing which helped me keep my breath circulating during tough exercises like planks and push ups. I learned how to conjure stability and tranquility. I identified my flexibility increasing with the passing days, and became more comfortable in my own skin. Overall, in the end I felt a much stronger and healthier connection in my relationship with my body. Not to mention it felt amazing to successfully do the pose that had been killing me the whole 30 days!

Which came to be another lesson: you don’t have to be the most skilled to practice yoga. Strength and knowledge is not built overnight, so it’s okay if you forget the terms or stumble, fall, tremble, or have difficulty with any or all of it. You just gotta pick yourself back up and keep trembling in that impossible pose. I learned that you don’t have to be outstanding in order to partake in an activity, you can simply just enjoy doing it. I learned how that can be a good enough reason.

Each day of the practice, the instructor would thank us and congratulate us for showing up. I did not understand her constant affirmation until about a week left of my practice. Before, I did not identify with the praise because well, I had said I wanted to do the 30 days and there I was doing it. But, I started to think back on all the moments I had wondered and wished I could start doing yoga because it looked interesting and didn’t. Something always seemed to stop me. Until one day, nothing did. All it took was a casual comment from my brother about a friend of his starting with some YouTube videos to actually say yes to it, to myself. Somehow, day after day, I showed up and I did my yoga. No “ifs” or “buts,” I did all 30 days. (Even during my period okay! That hurt like hell!) And I genuinely couldn’t be more proud of myself for doing so. 

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Photo by kike vega from Unsplash
So, this is your sign—start doing yoga.

You don’t need a mat, you don’t need yoga clothes, you don’t need to be flexible, buff, spiritually in-tune or anything at all. You just need to be willing to show up. Yoga is for all shapes, sizes and strengths. Not to sound like a cheesy motivational speaker, but don’t let the fear of not fitting the yoga mold stop you from doing it. It’s not about being good at it; it’s about just being there, dedicating this time to yourself and your body, doing what’s comfortable for you, pushing yourself to do the best you can do and, fundamentally, to building a strong connection to the most important relationship you have: the one with yourself.

So, go ahead and start! I’ll be cheering for you the whole time. And if you need some help, here’s the link to the yoga journey I followed.

Allison Milián Sánchez is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus. She’s studying General Drama. When she isn't writing, she's either reading poetry, plays or screenplays or dying to get back on stage and acting. Allison Milián is here to change the world through art and its never ending beauties!