I’m not usually one for setting New Year’s resolutions but 2015 is going to be different. This year I’m going to set resolutions, goals, monthly targets, in the hope that it will stop me procrastinating. I’m one of the world’s biggest procrastinators and I’m not proud of it. It’s time to change.
I still haven’t finished setting my resolutions. I haven’t even started planning out my goals and targets. And yes, I’m very aware that we’re almost at the end of January. But hey, I’m a procrastinator and old habits die hard.
I did set one resolution on 1st January though (and I’ve managed to keep it so far!) and that’s to do some regular yoga practice. For years, I’ve been one of those people that reads yoga magazines… but never actually does any yoga.
At Christmas, my friend Nicky gave me a copy of Tara Stiles ‘Make Your Own Rules Diet’. It’s an oddly titled book (especially as it’s not about dieting!) but that aside, I found it a thoroughly great read. The book covers three key elements that Tara believes are important for well being – yoga, meditation and food (all vegan recipes, yay!)
Of the three sections, my friend thought the yoga would be the least appealing to me but, surprisingly, it’s the one that’s left the biggest impression. I’ve been to a few yoga classes in the past but I’m so inflexible that I really struggled in them. However, Tara has such a gentle, encouraging approach that I wondered if it was time to give yoga another try. She says ‘If you can breathe, you can do yoga’. Really? Is that all you need to be able to do? Just breathe? Well, I thought, I can do that.
On Christmas morning, my hubbie and I decided to try one of Tara Stiles yoga sessions. We searched YouTube and spotted Flexibility and Range of Motion Beginner Yoga, which sounded perfect for us. In a flash, this stunning, strong, super bendy Tara appeared on our TV, flowing gracefully from one position to another… And then there was us two. I thought I was inflexible. M was miles worse. He could barely bend over. ‘How did this happen?’ he called out in horror.
I decided I must have super short arms… either that or Tara has abnormally long arms because how on earth does she reach her feet like that? Laying on the floor, she encourages us to lift one leg and hold onto whichever part of the leg feels comfortable. I can’t even get my legs perpendicular. I can barely grab onto my thigh let alone my foot. M can get his leg about 2 inches off the floor. We try desperately to reach for our legs. Any part will do. We catch sight of each other and we look so utterly ridiculous that we can’t help but burst out laughing.
Our first session is 9 minutes long but it goes by in a flash. We wave goodbye to Tara and evaluate what happened.
Well, we definitely need to start some daily stretching. I’m pretty sure most 80 years olds are more flexible than us.
We make the determination to do a couple of sessions a day with Tara over the course of the Christmas holidays – one in the morning and one in the evening – and see how we go. We both actually look forward to the sessions. Tara has got such a calm tone to her voice and she’s super encouraging. She keeps reminding us to stay within our limits. No strain. No pain. Now that’s my kind of yoga!
There are tons of Tara Styles sessions to choose from on YouTube but, for now, I’m sticking with a couple of the beginners sessions. I’ll move onto something more challenging when I feel ready. I especially love this one, filmed outside by a beautiful infinity pool. Just looking at that gorgeous sunshine, blue sky and water is really uplifting on a cold, dark January morning.
After just a week of doing Tara’s beginner sessions twice a day, I was already a touch more flexible and I definitely felt like I was walking taller. Imagine how tall I’ll be if I keep this up all year!
It’s now week 4 of January and I’m still enjoying these mini yoga sessions. I love the fact that I get to do them in the privacy of my own living room. It feels like I’m having personal 1-2-1 sessions with Tara. And it’s free too!
Considering where I’m starting, I’ve set three modest yoga goals for 2015…
(a) Touch my toes from standing (with legs straight)
(b) Touch my toes from sitting (with my legs straight out in front of me)
(c) Get my heels on the floor in Downward Dog
Here’s how far off I am at the moment…
(a) 7 cm
(b) 4 cm
(c) 5 cm
Once these are checked off, maybe I can up the stakes and aim for one of these handstands. How cool would that be?
Do you yoga? If so, I’d love to hear what kind of practice you do. Do you attend classes or practise at home?
Have you set any resolutions or goals for this year?