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Yoga Challenge — Week 1 Update

I decided to kick off 2014 with a one-month yoga challenge. My goal is to do yoga five days a week with the hopes of healing my ornery lower back. I’m day three into week one and all I can say is, if I could figure out a way to bottle yoga and sell it, I’d be a billionaire.

On day one I felt 100 years old. I couldn’t lean over to touch my toes without the help of a yoga block, and even then my knees were bent to protect myself from the shooting pain. I felt weak. I hate feeling weak. Any movement that required up and down action — from cobra to downward dog, for example — had me cringing and kneeling for support. If someone has a voodoo doll with my picture on it I wouldn’t be surprised because that’s what the pain feels like — sudden, unexpected, piercing jolts. I am glad I decided to do day one in the comfort of my own living room rather than at yoga class. It would have been too pathetic.

But the unexpected happened after day one — my back felt great. I went through my workday and while there was the occasional out-of-nowhere twinge, it was nothing like what I was used to.

On day two, things got even better. Today, day three (It’s only day three!), I was able to not only touch my toes but reach the floor. I could sit upright while on the floor which, previously, had been sadly difficult. It was as if my body would not fold to a 90-degree angle, forcing me to balance myself at about 110 degrees instead. I could even arch forward from a seated position, reaching toward my calf. I felt slightly flexible. I am starting to feel strong.

I have to admit that getting myself to do yoga every morning is a stretch (ha!). I hit the mat once the kids have left for school and my mind wants to be other places — there’s so much to do at work, so much to prepare for and plan. Settling my mind is difficult but that might be part of the healing process. By letting go for 40 minutes I might actually be gaining more control over my tasks by summoning the energy to get them done.

If I feel this good on day three, I can’t wait to see how  I feel a week from now. I’ll definitely check in and let you know. In the meantime, I challenge you to challenge yourself. What can you commit to for five days a week that will leave you feeling stronger, more energized and healthier? Let’s encourage each other.

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