The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Final Thoughts

8 Jul

A little over a month ago, I decided to take up my yoga studio on their 30-day yoga challenge. For the next 30 days, I worked my schedule like it was a puzzle, figuring out how to fit in 26 practices.

Here are my final thoughts about the experience: the good, the bad, the funny.

My Broken Body

I started this challenge because I am on a hiatus from running caused by my bitchy IT band. Said IT band was hell bent on punishing me for transgressions I committed against my body while training for and running pirate peg-legging my way through the Flying Pig Marathon.

The doc ordered strength training in my legs and core and lots and lots of stretching and boy did I cover those in June! My arms and shoulders feel stronger than ever and I find myself having oddly amazing posture. My legs and hips feel super stretched and there’s not an overly tight muscle in my body. My body feels amazingly relaxed, which is a vast contrast from how it tends to feel during marathon training.

However, I did slack on rolling my IT band with the foam roller and the stick. Because of that, I still have scar tissue that I think needs to be broken down on my right leg. I could feel the results on this when I went for a test run on Thursday after yoga. I was only a quarter-mile into my run when I felt that familiar pressure next to my knee, so I started walking immediately. But let me tell you what, that first quarter mile was amazing! I couldn’t help but smile when I felt the wind blowing through my hair. Oh, how I miss exercising outside!

Also, I have a bit of tendonitis in my right foot that I developed during my Flying Pig Marathon pirate peg-leg run. I have done little to rehab it and started to hurt more towards the end of the challenge. I’m now doing yoga with an ankle brace on and sleeping with a different compression brace and already I’m feeling better.

Two Pounds

That’s how many pounds I lost with 26 days of yoga. Considering I spent most of my time doing low impact Hatha and Ashtanga practices, and had zero free time for cardio, I’m not disappointed. I tend to gain weight when injured and not running, so I was happy to avoid that fate this time around.

Six Loads

This is how many loads of yoga clothes I had to wash in a span of a month. However, the rest of my laundry took a hit and as a result I did much exploring of my closet towards the end of the month.  Thanks, yoga challenge, for helping me get creative with old (but the only thing I had clean) clothing!

I must say that I am very impressed with myself for not buying any yoga clothes during this challenge. I managed with what I had: a bunch of running clothes that would have to make due for yoga.

My favorite article of clothing? An old, faded pair of yoga pants I got from Old Navy ages ago. They were the only pants I had that I didn’t have to constantly pull up between sun salutations. One day, when my budget allows for it, I will go stock up on some yoga pants.

The oddest thing I wore to yoga class? A black leotard with some old sweatpants. I needed to do laundry. 🙂

Hair

My hair was a hot mess during the month of June. Too avoid frying my hair too much, I spent much of the month wearing my hair in ponytails and twists, similar to this:

And then at the end of the month I had my sad ends trimmed. Yeah! My hair survived the yoga challenge!

Home

I didn’t get to spend much time at home during the month of June. This was partly due to the yoga challenge and a lot of celebrations with friends.

It was also partly due to our house hunting. Yes, that’s right. House hunting.

D and I have been discussing buying our first home for a while, and decided to start the house hunting process after I returned from my Cincinnati marathon trip. Big fans of shows like House Hunters and Property Virgins, we knew we could be searching for quite some time before we actually found our first home.

Well, our search didn’t last as long as we thought it would. We fell in love with the sixth house we saw. And if everything goes well, we’ll be closing on our very first home later this month!

By the way, I have to give my friend Beth big props. I met Beth in my marathon training group. She’s hilarious, fun … and happens to be a very knowledgeable and hands-on realtor. Since D and I are property virgins, she has essentially held our hands throughout this whole process. We feel so blessed to have had her by our side! If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Central Florida area, I highly recommend Beth.

On a related note, never ever go house hunting while doing a 30-day yoga challenge. I spent the first three weeks of the challenge, viewing houses, meeting with our amazing realtor, negotiating, attending inspections, etc. … all in between work and yoga classes. While the yoga was helpful in helping reduce my stress levels, the time spent on yoga and house hunting almost killed me. Which brings me to …

Sniff, Sniff, Cough

Three weeks straight of going full force finally caught up to me on the fourth week of the challenge. I got a cold that left me sniffling my way through downward dogs and coughing through shavasana. Sudafed was my best friend, and I somehow managed to work my way through the last week. I’ll make a note to take vitamin C next time around.

Wait, you would do this again?

Heck yeah!

The Rewards

Aside from increased flexibility, stress release, increased strength and glory, we also received some rewards for completing the challenge:

  • Discounted monthly rate (which I’ve already taken advantage of)
  • Free guest pass (which Donnie took advantage of yesterday)
  • Gift certificates to local spas and restaurants
  • Yoga photo shoot (hopefully I’ll have some pics to share soon)

I’m going to keep up 3 to 4 yoga classes per week for the rest of July, while rolling my IT band daily. I’ll also continue to do these short test runs weekly and hopefully I’ll be back to running by the end of the month.

Thanks everyone for your support along the way! 

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10 Responses to “The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Final Thoughts”

  1. marianamcloughlin July 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Did you notice any impact on your mood/stress level taking classes during 30 days (beyond helping keep your cool during the house-hunt)? I find yoga uplifting, relaxing and invigorating at the same time (that’s one of the things that keeps me going back to the mat).

    • Hemarie July 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      For one, all of the yoga kept me too busy to dwell on the small things. So that right there kept me from over stressing anything. 🙂

      I agree with you thought… yoga is definitely relaxing and uplifting. I’m not so sure about invigorating because I’m used to those runner’s endorphins. 😉

      • marianamcloughlin July 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        Every time I’ve tried running my knees have complained A LOT, but I can imagine the endorphins a good run can give!
        I hope after your T-band is OK you still go back to your mat. 🙂

      • Hemarie July 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

        I plan on it. Yoga compliments running!

  2. yogaforhooligans July 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Just read through all your yoga challenge entries, congrats! Definitely going to stop back and take a look at the marathon training ones, I’m trying to decide what my next fitness “project” will be, either a big ole run or finally getting serious about strength.

    • Hemarie July 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      For reals! I’ve found that if not for “projects” I lose motivation.

      I just checked out your blog and love it. *Follow*

  3. Brandi@StringCheeseRunner July 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I love yoga! I used to hate it, but I had no idea what I was missing until I went to a class with a great instructor. I feel you on the whole posture thing. I just started back doing yoga and after only 2 classes I’m noticing a difference. I love it!

    • Hemarie July 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      We should measure our heights and see if we’re getting taller. I’m pretty sure I grew. 🙂

  4. Carolina @ Peas in a Blog July 9, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    I’m proud of you for completing the challenge girl, it was not easy that’s for sure. But just like you, the benefits far outweight all the schedule shifts needed to fit the 26 practices in — well worth it! I plan on yoga-ing it up again in July so let’s catch a class together soon!

    • Hemarie July 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      WE DID IT! What now?

      Maybe we should run a race together next. 😉

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