|My current favorite posture - Bow Pose. Requires extreme quad strength to pull your upper body up. :)|
Well, 7 days down of my 30 day yoga challenge (actually I've completed 8 now..). I've learned a great many things even in just the last 7 days.
What have I learned?
- You have good days and you have bad days in yoga. But you don't beat yourself up or act like anyone is watching. You do yoga for you.
- Techniques help. Let your body talk to you. If you're hurting a lot, don't push it. I started using a technique in yoga that I created that I call "Back N Forth." Now, I know some people won't agree with this. The idea in Bikram Yoga is that you give 110% all the time. Which I agree with! BUT I think when doing a 30 day challenge you have to treat it as a marathon, not a sprint. Idea behind Back N Forth: It is kind of taken from weight lifting techniques; Bascially you one day you focus more on going deeper in forward bends and barely do backbends and switch the next day. You still do the opposite action but you just don't go as deep as possible in that posture. For me, having a very sensitive back due to surgery & hardware I just can't push 100% everytime... just hurts too much.
- My skin is clearer and softer than it has ever been.
- My core is tighter than it has ever been, and I feel more power come from my belly than before.
- I have new favorite postures and postures I don't hate as much as I used to. I still struggle very much in certain postures that depend on hip flexibility and lower back strength.
- My hips suck. My hips are hugely inflexible which I have noticed largely affects how strong my lower back is. Also, I've noticed that since my hips are inflexible but my hamstrings are very flexible, that is the next step in my practice: Deep focus on hip flexibility. I feel that many postures I struggle with are due to the hip inflexibility and even the postures I rock but can't quite reach full expression, the lack of progression is due to those darn hips.
- I miss weight lifting. My yoga teacher just doesn't get this. :) I've made a point to focus on muscle activation to compensate the longing I have for training. Focusing on tricep activation when reaching, core activation in all forward bends, sitting deeper into awkward pose, kicking harder in bow poses, etc. It does help some, but the reality is I love the challenge of reps, sets, and cardio. I'm not totally sure how this will look coming out of the yoga challenge... Because my body feels the best when I'm actively doing both.
- Diet is hard. In yoga I tend to crave a lot of juice or coconut water. My first week on this keto diet was awesome, until I got a taste coconut water on my carb refuel. Trying to think about how to compensate for this. But I have read a lot that during a 30 day it is a good idea to give your body what it wants. :) But I am convinced that keto is for me and just as well that it will be what works for me in competition prep. Dieting is much easier when weight lifting as opposed to hot yoga.
- I know I go back and forth on this but for me its a serious decision: I'm rethinking being a yoga teacher. Part of me wants to. But part of me is very selfish and isn't sure how I would balance a second job as a yoga teacher as well as training for figure (and PRACTICE my yoga 3x a week at least). I need to decide which is more important, because I don't think I could juggle all of those things. But maybe I'm just one of those people who truly just needs for yoga to be my practice, not my job. Still unsure. :)