For years, I've focused on using weight and interval training to build strength and muscle while toning my body, but I've always wondered if yoga was the missing piece in my regular exercise routine. Victoria Chamron, yoga instructor and wellness coordinator for Birch Community (opens in a new tab) told Fit&Well that yoga is an exercise free of judgment or expectations. The researchers found that regular yoga sessions relieved symptoms of depression and anxiety among women and even noticed a reduction in headaches and back pain in participants who suffered from it before participating in the yoga trial. Sometimes, when people go through high-stress situations, they joke that they need a little yoga to relax, and they're not wrong.
But since COVID came on the scene, there have been strange moments of tranquility, so I decided to take this time to challenge myself to 30 days of yoga and see what changes I may or may not notice. After the humiliating experience of losing a baby in the womb and then the most humiliating experience of recognizing that no matter how much you want something, sometimes you just can't control when (or if) you get it, I decided to return to practicing yoga every day during the month of January for the simple reason that my mother told me to do it. Iyengar yoga is a branch of yoga that focuses on detail, precision and alignment, and has been used in research to treat symptoms of joint pain. But even though I enjoyed the mental and physical benefits of yoga, I won't continue to do it every day, as I prefer to spend more time on my regular strength and endurance exercises.
I'm not saying that I grew a six-pack with my daily dogs down, but practicing yoga helps you connect your mind and body and the more I got used to this, the more I involved the major muscle groups in a session. Even though I didn't feel like I was exercising as much with yoga compared to my previous routines, I realized that my balance had improved. If you're looking for a routine to immerse yourself in, I recommend that you try a yoga challenge, more specifically, something like doing yoga for 30 days. I myself noticed a real difference in my strength and capacity in yoga as I progressed through the days.
The effects of yoga on people's mental state have been the focus of multiple scientific studies over the years and the results suggest that there is a truly positive association here. Since yoga is a strength based practice, you should have expected to notice a change in this department. But my perseverance paid off, and the more I practiced being more present in my yoga, the more present I was in my daily life. At the beginning of my 30-day yoga challenge, I realized that, quite naturally, I gained more control of what I ate and not in an obsessive and unhealthy way, but in a way that made my body feel good.