yoga journey thus far

you know what is super daunting? moving to another country in a city where most people don’t speak english and trying to join normal activities that involve group classes. when you want to do all of those normal people things you used to do that get just a tad bit more complicated in your new environment.

the past few years before this big adventure abroad, i had only merely dabbled in yoga but i knew i wanted more. i used to go every so often to a beautiful studio in ballard (seattle), and i wanted to continue this venture while vagabonding across europe in 2012 and finally settling in the czech republic. yoga is just the perfect form of fitness for me, combined with other light cardio activities like hiking or power-walking; it does the trick. muscle strengthening! balance building! flexibility! relaxation! so many good things.

after i’d been in budejovice for about six months, i found a studio (which was incidentally, four doors down from my building) that had english yoga once a week – such a big success in a city that didn’t seem to speak very much english at all. unfortunately, the classes were at an inconvenient time (later evenings when i am definitely a morning person) and did not have quite the professional touch i was looking for. you are supposed to feel good after a class, and sometimes i felt like the instructors didn’t really plan the poses in accordance to what will be the most beneficial for the body. long-time readers might remember the time i remarked how strange it was that the whole yoga class went out for a beer afterwards! (i mean, now that i’ve lived here long enough, it seems more normal)

slowly, i stopped going… until i joined yogaglo on the recommendation of some twitter expats. i even remember the exact date of my first class: january 1st, 2015.  if you are unfamiliar to yogaglo, it’s an online subscription service (which is only $18/month – bargain, big time) that offers literally thousands of classes of all different levels, types, lengths, and specialties which are taught by internationally renowned instructors, with new classes coming out almost daily.

and guys, it’s been a game changer. to be able to practice when and where you want – unlimited! personally, i just knew that only once a week was nice but wasn’t going to change much or get me anywhere. so when i started with this subscription, i practiced three to four times a week and never looked back. (i promise that this post is in no way sponsored by yogaglo – i just love it)

so fast-forward to the summer of 2017 (which means two and a half years of consistent practice), i was in bend, oregon drinking at a downtown brewery when i noticed this sign.

life changing results. yes! i decided immediately that is what i wanted. life changing.

upon arriving back in czechland at the beginning of last month, i went into overdrive (with my abundance of free time) and began practicing every day. (also: all that delicious american food isn’t going to work off itself…benefit) it actually was life changing in that it became such a habit in the past month that the day did not feel complete without spending time on the mat. it feels like time for you, no matter what else is going on in your life, there is always that sacred time and space. i had never experienced a practice that became such an ingrained habit before, and it was amazing… while it lasted.

september also happened to be the instagram challenge #yogaeverydamnday, which vibed well with my own personal goal, but after a handful of days into the month, i somehow strained my shoulder during a particular rigorous class which made the rest of the month a challenge – how to finish out the month without causing myself more pain and having an altogether particularly unpleasant experience. so of course, there could be no more chaturanga, but i started realizing that i had to cut out other poses, too. there could be no more downward dogs or anything that put weight on my arms or shoulders.

fortunately i was able to finish out the month at an average of four practices a week in an incredibly modified fashion – fortunately there are several “no arm/shoulder” classes on yogaglo which assisted me quite a lot. i realized the importance of not overextending oneself or pushing too hard, and how important our shoulders actually are to us. anyone that has sustained an injury realizes right quick how important that body part was to your everyday life. no sleeping on my right side, no reaching up to the high shelves, carrying heavy grocery bags on my weaker left shoulder… it puts a lot in perspective.although the challenge didn’t exactly go as planned, i’m pleased i finished it.

not only can i recommend yogaglo to everyone* (not only those living abroad with a constant practice), but i can also recommend expanding your practice to upwards of six times a week. i can confirm the life-changing benefits. it’s all true.

i’m not exactly at six practices a week anymore because october has begun and time is less likely to be found… but i also have learned this year that the excuse “i don’t have time” is the fabric of lies. you always have time… it’s just the other things you choose to do with it that don’t make it seem possible. priorities, yo.

what’s your fitness or practice of choice? have you managed to stick with it while traveling or abroad? i always admire a runner’s dedication, but am not sure i could ever be one. never say never, though.

* i hear a lot of people really enjoy yoga with adrienne as well, which is on youtube and is free.