How Doing Yoga Every Day Changed My Life

by Reyna Eisenstark

On an ordinary day in October of 2015, I made a simple decision that totally transformed my life. As with many major decisions in life, it happened completely by chance. I was looking at some online yoga videos and came across a 30-day yoga challenge: Do yoga every single day for 30 days. I had been doing yoga at my local studio for two years (which I had also fallen into somewhat accidentally) and already knew that yoga would be a part of my life forever. I was taking two yoga classes a week (one was quite challenging even after two years) and I wondered if I really could manage yoga every day. The online classes were about 30 minutes long, shorter than regular studio classes, and just challenging enough. After the 30 days were over, I did another 30-day challenge. Then I did another. Then I was just simply doing yoga every single day. And now I can’t imagine not doing yoga every single day.

What is it like to do yoga every single day? First of all, I never think, Will I do yoga today? The only question is, When will I do yoga? Some days (often the best days) I do yoga early in the morning. Some days I don’t get to it until the end of a very long, exhausting day. In the morning, doing yoga feels like a great accomplishment. Even though it’s something I choose to do every day, it’s still nice to get it out of the way and not have to think about it until the next day. (I’m the sort of person who writes “eat lunch” on a long to-do list just so that I can easily cross it off later. Why not set yourself up for success?) At night, however, yoga can be an incredible “undoing” of all the things we do all day that are hard on our bodies, such as sitting and typing at a desk for hours at a time.

I have done yoga in a hotel room, in guest rooms in people’s homes, on hardwood floors, on plush carpeting, in a narrow hallway in my dad’s New York City apartment. Most often, though, I do yoga in my own bedroom. When you roll out your mat on your bedroom floor and it sits there taking up a good portion of the floor, you know you’re not getting out of that room until the yoga gets done.

I have done yoga when I was sick, taking it very slowly, with lots of breaks, and yoga when it was really late at night and I just wanted to be in bed. I have done yoga when it was so cold I had to have a space heater blowing directly on me, and when it was so hot I had to stop every few minutes to drink water and gasp for air. 

Every single day, I roll out that mat. Is my experience amazing every single day? Certainly not. There are times when I feel distracted, or even bored, times when I am just not in the mood, wishing I was doing something, anything, else. But because I don’t give myself the option to skip it, I get through it. And, every single day, I am grateful that I have. This never changes, no matter where I am, no matter what time of day it is, or how I felt beforehand. When it’s over, I am always grateful that I did it. And honestly, if there is only one reason to do yoga every day, it’s this: Every single day I get to lie in Savasana, which means that for at least a few minutes every day I am totally relaxed.

Every single day I have to push through something, and every single day I get to deeply relax. Just think about what that can do for you over time.

Another thing about doing yoga every day is that you get better at yoga. Which isn’t to say that, if you saw me in a yoga class, you’d marvel at my remarkable strength and flexibility. But it does mean that I am much stronger and much more flexible than I used to be. I once complained to a yoga teacher that I thought that I would never get good at doing Chataranga. He asked me how long I’d been doing yoga and when I said “Two years,” he laughed and said, “You’ve just started!” But after doing yoga every day for a little over a year, my Chatarangas really did get better.

Though I mostly do yoga videos at home, I still like to take classes at yoga studios whenever I can. There is nothing like that communal feeling of a full class chanting “om” together or the guidance from a teacher who can place a hand on your arm or leg and make a slight adjustment. And these days, whenever I write a to-do list, I always add “yoga.” I know I’ll always be able to cross it off.

Reyna Eisenstark is a freelance writer living in Chatham, New York. You can read her blog, inspired by stories from her life, at reynaeisenstark.wordpress.com.

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