I am a week shy of finishing my 8 week program of Flexi Fit from Self Taught Yogis. I thought I should share my overall experience.
Yoga first came into my life around 2013. My boyfriend and I decided to try out the yoga class at our local gym. It was a simple class; Sun Salutations, Warrior poses, and a Savasana to wrap up the hour. Kolin and I made sure to go at least once or twice a week.
One night, I vividly remember at the end of a class an older woman turned to me and said, “This suits you, I hope you continue.” I still think of her til this day, and I thought of her when I put my deposit down for my Yoga Teacher Training.
Yoga has flowed in and out of my life throughout the years. For three years, yoga and weightlifting would interchange in my day to day routine, depending on the season. It wasn’t until I moved back to Iowa in Fall of 2016 that I really began to pick up my practice and make it an (almost) daily routine.
Of course, planning a wedding (aka the stress of wedding planning) halted my practice for a few months. Once Kolin and I’s special day passed, I knew I wanted to begin again. I kept thinking, Okay, I need something that will get me on my mat everyday. Something that will make me “better” at yoga.
This is when I stumbled upon Self Taught Yogis on Instagram. I noticed she had a beginner 8-week program for people to improve their flexibility. After months of disheartening realizations that I can not copy a famous insta-yogi’s pose after 5 days of trying (crazy, right?); I knew this is exactly what I needed.
I am currently in the middle of Week 7 with this program. All I can say is – wowza, it works! I couldn’t believe how fast my flexibility improved, I fell in love with the progress I made and would ensure I practiced 6-7 days a week.
I haven’t been sharing progress photos lately due to breaking my phone’s tripod, and since I only do yoga when my husband isn’t home – I have no way to record. BUT, that’s okay, because while this program has led me to touch beyond my toes in Standing Forward Fold, I have found something greater.
Once I master a pose, I will admit I become overjoyed. But then, this excitement fades away too quickly, as I want to learn the next big pose. Like with anything in life, I am always searching for the next big thing. The next goal. The next achievement. The next challenge.
I am realizing that if all I care about is being able to master wheel pose, or headstand, or handstand, etc., I will never be happy with my practice. The first 4 weeks of this FlexiFit program, I was all about advancing my poses and improving my flexibility. Now, I have been enjoying just being on my mat. Being in the present moment. Listening to my body. Tuning in. Where is it tight? Where is it sore? Am I activating all the muscles that I can be? Am I taking deep breaths?
Slowly, my body and mind are realizing the true benefits of this practice. A yoga instructor once said, “If it hurts, don’t do it.” …It’s such a simple and obvious statement. But, in the light of yoga it’s a really great sentence to hear. At times, it’s overwhelming trying to keep up with advanced yoga instructors or picture-perfect yogis on social media. I attempted to advance my splits progression too quickly, and here I am with an inflamed hip flexor. Now, I can’t practice the splits at all until this heals. I hope people who are curious about yoga are not threatened by what they “think” their yoga practice should look like.
Yoga is about feeling great on the mat, followed by feeling great for the rest of the day. It’s about remembering to take a full breathe; like right now. Inhale slooowwwly. Exhale slooowwly. Feels good, ya? Yoga is about being aware of your posture. During the practice and throughout the day. Be aware of your body, always. Even if you don’t practice asanas today, just take a moment to sit and breathe. Calm your mind and focus on nothing but your breath.
I loved this 8-Week program, thank you, Clare, for creating this. It created a routine for me to practice everyday, which allowed me to find a reason to keep practicing. As Jocko Willink says, motivation and inspiration are not always there to keep you going. They will diminish. It takes discipline. I am more than excited for my Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) Training in Costa Rica this coming March. I am ready to completely immerse myself in this practice with like-minded individuals, all in the middle of nature.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged, I kind of just let the words flow through my finger tips. I felt the need to express these thoughts and hope to update you once I finish my RYT 200 in March.