50 Days of Yoga Challenge

At the start of the month I signed up to the 5×50 challenge and committed to doing 30 minutes of yoga every day for 50 days. 
My yoga journey started in BodyBalance classes in Edinburgh around 6 years ago, which introduced me to some of the breathing techniques and classical poses. I also tried Yoga for Runners classes, which focused on particular poses and stretches that as runners would be more beneficial, particularly those that opened up the hips and stretched the hamstrings, quads and calves. Back then, I used yoga as a class to relax and stretch, and never found it challenging enough to be worthy of the ‘workout’ title. That really changed when I moved to London and found classes at yoga studios that were challenging and pushed me towards a new kind of workout experience.

I started trying out different forms of yoga, never knowing what to expect before I turned up to the class, from vinyasa flow, iyengar and ashtanga to yin and jivamukti. A standout moment from one of my first yin yoga classes with Emily Cohen at Paola’s Body Barre one Saturday morning was being given a strap to put around the back of my head and my foot in a loop, creating one of the most intense hamstring stretch I’ve ever found. One thing I love about all the yoga classes I’ve tried is that not one was exactly the same, there were always variations, different routines and focuses and each instructor has their own unique style of teaching.

Here are my 3 favourite yoga classes I’ve tried:

  • Jivamukti yoga at Paola’s Body Barre with Melody Hekmat
  • A very physical, stimulated and flowing practice including headstand practice and the most divine hands-on massage with essential oils to finish

  • Rocket yoga at Sweaty Betty Fulham with Kathryn Fielding
  • Another high speed, flowing and challenging class in which Kathryn encourages you to use your Ujjayi breathe (which should sound like Darth Vader!) to bring focus to your mat

  • Candlelight/ chillout yoga at Slice Studios with Dionne James
  • A perfect end-of-the-week chilled out yoga session incorporating comfy bolsters to relax and relieve all tension and stress

So back to the challenge: yoga, at least 30 minutes a day, for 50 days.
30 minutes sounds like nothing, especially as most classes last an hour or more. I would usually go to a class 2-3 times a week, so despite being able to include my classes in the 50 day count, I had to add in my half hour of yoga practice into my own time on the other days. I have picked up a number of the classic routines and poses over the years that I could definitely fill 30 minutes doing my own thing, but what I’ve found really useful are online tools. In particular, Yoga with Adriene and her range of yoga videos on YouTube. She has a number of playlists including 30 days of Yoga, Yoga for Runners, and Foundations of Yoga, in which each video focuses on a different pose.

We’re 20 days in today, so only 30 days to go! If I’m not doing a yoga class, I’ll save my practice until after my run or workout so it’s an opportunity to stretch, or I’ll do it before bed as a way of relaxing. It’s becoming easier to add it into my routine and so far I’ve only missed one day (Easter Monday).

What are your favourite yoga classes or routines? Do you think you’d be up for the 5×50 challenge?

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