21 Day Yoga Challenge: Halfway Point and WIN a Lululemon Yoga Starter Kit

I’m just halfway through the challenge, having completed 11 yoga sessions over the past 20 days. Which means I’ll be completing 10 session in the next 11 days- cutting it fine! In truth, I started out so well, but have let it slide a little as my workload has increased and running has reappeared on my training schedule. I’m definitely feeling a difference though, and I finally touched my toes in a forward bend in a class last week! I’m also beginning to feel like a real yogi, with a greater understanding what the teacher is talking about, knowledge of the poses and more confidence in my ability. I’ve also discovered that Goodvibes have SAD lighting to combat the depressing winter gloominess, and give you a dose of Vitamin D which means I bound out of my Friday classes feeling relaxed, reinvigorated and motivated.

As I progress with my Paris Marathon training, I need to ensure that yoga stays a priority. It will mean some two-a-day workouts but that’s fine with me. I’ve realised that I work best when I’ve got a plan written out and can stick to it, as well as making dates to workout with others.

Last week’s yoga sessions;

Tuesday- Vinyasa Yoga Class

Wednesday- Bikram Yoga class with Lululemon ladies

Thursday- 20 Minute Yoga for Runners youtube video

Friday- Yang and Yin Yoga class (aka my favourite class)

Monday- 20 Minute Yoga for Runners youtube video

This week I’m showcasing some more of my fellow yogis (yes I sort of refer to myself as a yogi now!) to see how they’re getting on with the challenge!

Beki AKA Miss Wheezy

Yoga has been something that I’ve practised on and off over the past few years but it wasn’t until last November (or Yo-vember) that it became a regular occurrence. This was due in part to my physio telling me that I need to focus on stretching my tight muscles and working on my flexibility to avoid re-injuring myself after struggling with ITB issues.

When browsing the internet I came across the “30 Day Yoga Challenge” from doyouyoga.com with Erin Motz, and immediately signed up. I fell in love with her teaching style as she was so straightforward and focused, but with a great sense of humour! In fact, so much so that I’ve backed her Kickstarter project MyYogaPro, a web based yoga community that will be launching in April with thousands of videos for you to download and follow (this isn’t a plug, I just genuinely love the idea!). I’ve been to a few classes in London, but not living directly in the city it’s often difficult and expensive for me to travel to a studio, and can take up the whole evening.

So far during the 21 Day Yoga Challenge most of my practise has been at home – I have a fab sticky yoga mat which I love, and I started out the month following Erin Motz’s 10 Day New Year Yoga Ab Challenge. When that ended, I turned to my YouTube playlist of some of my favourite routines, which mostly include Yoga for Runners sequences, Hip Opening Flows, post-run Yoga cool-downs and some Yoga for Better Sleep which is great! I’ve always struggled with the meditation and “spiritual” side of yoga, and to be honest I still do. I find it hard to relate to and often feel a little foolish “omm-ing” or whatever. However, I love the focus and distraction yoga provides, and the relaxation aspect has been a lifesaver these past few months. Just taking the time out of my day for even 15mins where all I think about are the movements and my breath is really refreshing.

The plan for the remainder of the month is to try Bikram Yoga – something which has been on my “To-Do” list for a while, but this yoga challenge has given me the push needed to actually give it a go! There’s a studio near to where I work, so it should be relatively easy to take a class after I finish at the office…here’s hoping I can stand the heat!

Lissy @lissyruns

It’s been almost a year since I started practicing yoga. I started as soon as I arrived in London – I’d never found the quality, breath and frequency of classes elsewhere before. After only a couple of visits to The Power Yoga Company, and I was pretty much hooked.

Before the start of the year, I’d been worrying that my yoga practice might have to take a bit of a back seat as I plunge headfirst into marathon training until April. But then on the train back to London on New Year’s Day, I decided to sign up to the #21daysofyoga challenge – as it would mean I still gave some focus to it, even as the miles started to rack up. I planned out meticulously when I was going to fit the 21 days in, and I had wanted to do all of them at a studio, rather than at home. As usual though, life has got in the way a bit and I haven’t managed to get to every class. I’m also a lot more worn out from my long runs than I thought I would be – and as I practice a fairly demanding style of yoga, they’re not always great to follow up a hard run with.

That being said, the challenge is helping me to get to at least 2 classes a week, and along with some home practice thrown in, I’m seeing some real benefits. Yoga has improved the tone of my arms, shoulders and middle, plus the stretching and strengthening poses definitely benefit my legs. Personally, I think the biggest benefit I see from yoga isn’t physical – discovering more about breathing techniques, mindfulness, dedication and mental strength are what keeps me going back for more. 

Becca – From Snickers to Marathon

I’ve been practicing yoga for just over two years now and I really enjoy it. I’m not a naturally flexible person, quite the opposite in fact, so I find many poses quite challenging. As I’m also a runner I know that yoga is a really good way to counteract the effects of pounding the pavements, but I’m not so good at making time for it. I tend to let yoga drop off my to do list when life gets hectic, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. When my life feels frantic that’s when I actually need yoga the most.
Towards the end of last year I’d really let my practice slip, so when I read about the 21 days of yoga challenge it seemed like the perfect way to re-establish yoga as a regular part of my routine. I’m training for the London Marathon in April so it seemed like a good addition to my training plan. 
I’m loving the challenge so far – I’ve just finished Day 13 and yesterday I touched my toes in a seated forward bend for the first time ever, so I’m seeing the benefits too! I’m combining classes at Good Vibes Studios with home practice which is a new thing for me. I’m really enjoying it and it’s made me realise that it’s quite easy to fit a 30 minute session into my day when I don’t have the time to get to a studio based class. The challenge is teaching me to be as disciplined about my yoga as I am with the other aspects of my training plan. That’s going to be a great thing to take into the next few months in the lead up to the marathon. So thanks Charlie for setting up the challenge!

I hope this challenge has inspired some of you runners to make yoga more of a priority in your training schedules- I know I will! 

WIN- open to everyone, not just those that are taking part in the challenge, but leave a comment about your yoga experiences for a chance to win a Lululemon Yoga Starter Kit. This includes a mat, towel, strap and block. 

14 Comments

  1. 21st January 2014 / 8:42 pm

    I too started the 30 day Yoga Challenge, Erin is great and I’ve really learnt from her. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish the 30 days but I’m going to start it over again. I really want to get into Yoga more, Its one of my resolutions for this year too!

  2. 21st January 2014 / 9:30 pm

    I mostly practice yoga at home, any kind of yoga for runners video or hip opening are my favourite. I’ve really been slacking on the yoga front lately, but I did my first video in ages yesterday, need to continue on that trend as it makes it a huge difference alongside running.

  3. 21st January 2014 / 10:39 pm

    I’m going to try that Yoga For Runners video as I really think some yoga would help to stretch and strengthen my hips in particular. Thanks for the link – jo x

  4. 22nd January 2014 / 10:07 am

    Hey Charlie! Sounds like the challenge is going great (I too was ecstatic when I first touched my toes after about a lifetime of not being able to..!)

    I got into yoga properly a few years ago when I somehow stumbled upon/into a yoga retreat when I had a few days to spare in Nepal… and I ended up staying for 10! Since then I’ve incorporated yoga here and there into my schedule though admittedly when I’m time pressured I’ll even just try to do a few minutes of my favourite poses at home 🙂 Good luck for the rest of the challenge!

  5. 22nd January 2014 / 10:29 am

    Thanks for featuring me Charlie! 🙂 Sounds like you’re doing great with the challenge. X

  6. 22nd January 2014 / 10:53 am

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m enjoying the challenge so far! Like Beki, it’s been mostly home practice for me and, like you, I have to do a session a day until the end of the month, but unfortunately, I can only hope to finish 20 days in total. I missed one day because of a painfully long day at work with a trip to Paris and back – we only saw the inside of a meeting room while we were there. Guh!

    I’ve been practising yoga on and off for more than a decade (goodness, typing that made me feel old!) and because I haven’t been consistent and dedicated all this time, I haven’t made the sort of progress you might imagine (still no handstand or forearm stand *sadface*). However, I’m a believer in celebrating all achievements, no matter how small. Thanks to yoga, I can now not only touch my toes, but put my palms flat on the ground! There was a time that I thought reaching this stage would be impossible.

    Yoga has helped me realise that ‘impossible’ is a shit mindset. Yes, it might never happen. But I’ll be damned if I don’t give it a go! Though I didn’t consciously think of it, this was my philosophy during last year. I got back into more consistent yoga practice, I tried all sorts of different fitness activities, and I my entire perspective on how I view myself and my body has evolved to something much healthier.

    If there’s one thing I love most about practising, is the opportunity to blur out everything that surrounds the mat. During my practice, whether I’m in a class or at home, it’s just me and my mat. It’s not always a happy place, but yoga has taught me that that’s OK. For a near-pathological perfectionist, I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling that is.

    OK, gushing is now over! Enjoy the remaining half of the challenge and thank you for encouraging me to get on my mat more often!

  7. 22nd January 2014 / 1:14 pm

    Charlie, I can’t tell you how much this challenge has transformed me and my marathon training. I had never really done a yoga class until the 2nd January this year and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying lots of studios and styles and doing some home practice. It’s helped my hip injury, my running (especially long runs) and my sanity as I started a new job and have been feeling a little wired.

    I’ve also been doing most of these with my two best mates. It’s been a fantastic way for us to get together and feel connected whilst on the mat! Downward Dog – ONWARDS!

  8. 22nd January 2014 / 5:01 pm

    I enjoy yoga and try to do it at least once a week, but I am building up to more often. I either do the programme on the Wii (I call the instructor Yvonne) or find a YouTube video. Perhaps something like this challenge would help me to make it a habit once and for all.

  9. 22nd January 2014 / 5:23 pm

    I’ve loved this challenge! I’ve been into Bikram yoga for years but recently found myself 80miles from the nearest studio which has meant a lot of home practice and trying different styles of yoga. It’s definitely improved my practice – you should make this an annual challenge!
    Jill (@logoffdoyoga)

  10. 22nd January 2014 / 8:53 pm

    I got in to yoga about 5 years ago through doing Body Balance classes at my local gym. Bikram Yoga is my favourite style of yoga, I tend to practice Bikram most often but have recently tried Ashtanga, Power and Yin yoga. I love how the heat aids flexibility in a Bikram class, and the postures have really helped strengthen my running and stretch out tight muscles. My favourite yoga experience was doing a roof-top class in London last summer, it was lovely watching the sunset over the city whilst in a downward dog pose. I’ve also recently been doing some You Tube videos particularly hip opening sequences.

  11. 22nd January 2014 / 9:16 pm

    I know that I won’t reach 21 days but I love that I will do more yoga this month than I did all last year. My goal this year will be to average 6 yoga sessions per month because this means at least 1x per week which helps me so much!

  12. 22nd January 2014 / 9:24 pm

    Thanks for featuring me Charlie. I’m loving the challenge. Such a great idea Beccax

  13. 23rd January 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Thanks to you, I found out about the 30 Day Challenge and just did day one yesterday! I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for about 5 years, but recently got way more into running (finishing my first half marathon last year). Now that I’m in the winter slump I’ve been looking for something else to keep me on track fitness-wise without having to run in the snow all the time. What a perfect time to get back into yoga! Can’t wait to get home today and do day 2 of the challenge!

  14. 25th January 2014 / 8:21 pm

    I’ve only ever done yoga at home…the one that is part of P90X