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Benefits of Yoga

I’ve been doing yoga for a couple of months now.  78 days to be exact (I have a counter on my phone).  I’ve been doing short video as well as my own practice for the most part.  Today I finally got the cable company to figure out why my internet was so slow.  You see, I do most of my yoga through my Blu Ray player and with my internet running so slow I was unable to watch long videos.  This has restricted me to short videos and shorter yoga work outs.

Today, with the internet speed fixed, I pulled up an hour-long ashtanga yoga video.  I decided I would go as long as I could as it is a pretty intense workout.  Yes, for you non yoga practitioners, yoga can be pretty hard.  Much to my surprise, I was able to finish the full house.  Yes, there were two or three times where I had to stop for a minute to rest.  My arms became tired after doing chataranga so many time. In the end, I was able to hang in there and finish strong.

So what did I learn from this?  Well, for one, I learned that I could do an hour of yoga.  Second, I realized that I know enough about yoga to keep up with a class or video.  I’ve avoided the thought of going to an actual class because I wasn’t sure I could keep up.  Now it is something I would consider.  I would still like to get more time in with the video before doing so but I’ve moved a step forward in my practice.  All of this is on top of the half hour of yoga I did earlier today.

After my practice I took a cold shower and cooled off.  I feel really good.  I may be a little sore or tired tomorrow but I’m drinking plenty of water and will have some protein and do some light stretching later.  I can’t wait to do this video again.

I have reached the end of my 30 day yoga challenge.  I’ve done a supported headstand every day for 30 days straight.  This was a great challenge and I feel I’ve reached a great mile stone.  To do anything 30 days in a row is quite an accomplishment.  So what did I learn?

Day 1 was rocky to say the least.  I could get in to a headstand but not very well.  In fact, I have a camera app called Blink which takes several pictures in rapid succession.  I had my wife use this app to get a picture of me with my feet straight up and had to pick the best one to display in my Day 1 blog post.  I was only able to hold this pose for a couple of seconds before falling over.  Many times I would fall backward which resulted in me rolling over my interlocked fingers which kind of hurt.  Still I pressed on.

Day two I took a picture but did not post it here.  My legs were slightly forward.  At this point in the game it was a little tough getting in to a headstand.  I struggled with it a little.  By day 4 I definitely felt like I was making some headway not only in getting in to the pose but in balance and staying in the pose.

Somewhere around day 16 I had a bad day.  I felt like it was very difficult to get in to the pose.  I got in to the pose and felt like I couldn’t hold it.  I felt tired for some reason.  Later I figured it was that I hadn’t done any warm up and my back was stiff.  A great lesson to learn and from that day forward I had no problems at all once I was properly stretched.

So now that I’ve hit day 30, I can get in to this pose very easily and hold it for a lot longer.  I tossed my wife my phone and asked her to take a picture of me.  I don’t think she realized what was going on.  I quickly got inverted and was standing on my head for about 15 seconds before I called out to her.  She responded, picked up my phone and as she was about to take a picture someone called.  She hung up on them and went back to the camera app.  I stood straight up on my head for about 30-40 seconds total before she took this picture.

Supported Headstand Day 30

Supported Headstand Day 30

What I love about this picture is how my back is almost straight but my legs are aligned over my head and my toes are pointed up about as much as I can point them at this time.  I held pretty straight like this for a good amount of time and it is the first time I’ve seen my accomplishment since day 4.  I am celebrating this victory today and feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Interestingly enough this fit really well in to my minimalist theory.  I took less than a minute a day to learn a new pose that was quite hard in the beginning.  I really had it learned in a little over 2 weeks but continue to perfect my skill and gain strength.

Strength is something that I still have to work on.  This takes a lot of arm and back strength to hold for this long.  I will most likely keep doing my headstands almost daily.  I really enjoy doing them because they give me confidence and for the strength.

Do you have pics of you doing headstands?  What should my next 30 day challenge be?

Namaste my friends.

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