The pandemic is not over. And we haven’t yet come to the year-mark on quarantine. (I count mine beginning on March 15, 2020.) Nevertheless, I’m feeling something ‘yearly’ this week. It could be that we’re still close enough to the start of a New Year. Or, gosh, maybe something else new and refreshing started this week. In any case, today I had the impulse to look back at this past year of doing daily yoga.
Well, almost daily.
In the past 365 days I showed up on my yoga mat 310 times. So, just shy of 6 days a week. The first three months I went to yoga studios. These last nine months have been on zoom.
(Almost) Daily Yoga: Improved Flexibility
I have no way to really measure how much flexibility I’ve acquired over the months. Sadly, I didn’t think to have any taken Before photos taken. And I’m not too good at selfies. So any After photos will have to wait.
Not quite there yet on doing the splits. But I have more range of motion doing side bends and so forth. Or, at least, I think I do. And I am very sure my hamstrings are stretched out.
(Almost) Daily Yoga: Improved Stability
Yoga helps your body feel comfortable in any position. Many asanas involve twists and inversions. As a result, I have become very familiar with the view of my living room in the title image. All the Down Dogs and Humble Warriors turn my world upside down on a regular basis.
My condo is very small. I really have only one space where I can roll out my mat and do all the stretching required. So, as I’ve said, I am well acquainted with the underside of my coffee table. And of my bed. These are the only two views available to me when I’m upside down.
Side benefit of daily yoga: I’m able to monitor the build-up of dust on the coffee table and the dust bunnies under the bed. Often enough I’m motivated to dust and vacuum.
Then, too, increased core work had stabilized my balance. The hip strengthening poses also contribute to core stability. Brutal truth: I freely admit many balance poses are still challenging.
(Almost) Daily Yoga: Improved Nervous System
The 75 minutes of deep breathing a day has been a real gift.
I established the regular yoga practice mostly because I had the time. And figured I may as well use it for increased strength and flexibility. I had not anticipated that my bodily stability would have such beneficial effects on my emotional and psychological stability during this very stressful time.
Given that yoga is all about the mind-body-spirit connection, I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate the mental health benefits. But I didn’t. And have been slowly realizing them over the course of this past year. I think the yoga has helped me lean into my current conditions and to embrace them.
(Almost) Daily Yoga: Strong Communities
Once again, I did not anticipate how important regular practice with regular groups of people would become in my life. I don’t show up on my mat just for me. I show up for other people. And they show up for me. We’re “inside” each other’s houses, and we’re getting to know their pets. (Dogs seem especially attracted to yoga.) We take time to express concerns and gratitudes. Every now and then we speculate what it will be like to meet in person and do yoga in the same room. According to Dr Fauci, it won’t be for another 6 months or so. In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.
My gratitude today: I am grateful for the wonderful teachers at Dharma Yoga Studio in Coconut Grove, Florida. I am also grateful for Laura Phoenix of Warrior Pose Yoga in Durham, North Carolina.
Final Note: Of course I write these blogs to express myself. However, I hope also to inspire others. The point of today’s blog is not that everyone should do yoga. It’s rather that I am now seeing the benefits of doing a regular practice of any activity that is meaningful and pleasurable. If you haven’t establish one at this time, you can always start one now.
See also: Counting Blessings
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen