Ah yes, another rambling paragraph about how I was busy and/or had nothing exciting to blog about and/or plain old forgot to blog… Except I was super busy and none of it really warranted its own post, so I really spared you. Anyway, here are a few things you missed while I was off doing who knows what: We just reached the end of the third week of a six(ish) week kitchen/dining room renovation. Yikes. I have survived thus far with plenty of binge-watching—The Office, 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things, and New Girl thus far (Any recommendations for which show I should delve into next?)—and puppy cuddles and cute little rabbits. I had to get my first root canal. I have been patiently awaiting the release of Taylor Swift’s sixth album (and ignoring everyone who still hates on her). Oh, and I am apparently allergic to everything!
I had patch testing done last month that revealed that my eczema is most likely caused by allergic reactions to a number of alcohol-based ingredients and topical hydrocortisones. More than half of the cosmetic products I was using contained at least one of my newfound allergens. How fun! After some extensive research, I had to part ways with the prescription steroid ointment I’d been using since college, my beloved hair conditioners, and many of my other cosmetics. Even the lotions and creams I had been using for years, which were specifically designed for people with eczema, were no good. I have since scoured at least half of the Internet and the highest shelves at health food stores just to find basic skincare and hygienic products that are allergen-free, cruelty-free, and not loaded with tons of chemicals or shitty ingredients.
It’s been an exhausting few weeks to say the least. I could have easily just nama-stayed in bed and tried to avoid all of my apparent bad luck, but one of the things that helped me focus my attention elsewhere and chill the heck out was practicing yoga.
Toward the end of October last year, I was really unhappy with myself and where I was in my life, mentally and physically. I wanted to make a change. I had tried yoga here and there before, but never got serious enough about it to fall into any sort of routine. I really wanted to make a change though, so I decided: I was going to do one hour of yoga, every day, for the entire month of November. It was challenging at times, and I wasn’t very strong, and there were days when I had to drag myself to my yoga mat (especially when curling up under a blanket seemed much more enticing). But every day for that month, I rolled out my mat and did it. December came along, and I practiced yoga every day of that month too. I slowed down a little by January, and opted for half hour programs sometimes instead, but I still did my best to practice yoga nearly every day.
At the art camp I worked at over the summer, we started a few new classes, including an hour of yoga once a week. The campers often dragged their feet or complained, counting down the minutes until lunch, but I looked forward to actually trying yoga outside of my house for once. During our time in the pool every morning, I started practicing poses I’d learned in class or at home and was surprised when some of the campers decided to join in. We were definitely limited to standing poses because of that whole inability-to-breathe-underwater thing, but it was much easier to balance when necessary. By the end of the summer, I was thrilled that nearly all of my campers wanted to be part of morning pool yoga!
It’s somehow already November again, and officially one year since I began practicing yoga regularly! I don’t always have the time or the energy to practice every single day, but I am proud of how far I have come in the past year. I practice as often as I can, and I love what yoga has done for me and my body. I have biceps for the first time in my life! My calves are so strong! I actually have decent posture! With a good breath, I can let things go and calm my racing thoughts. On days when I can’t or don’t make it to my mat, I definitely notice a difference in my body, mood, and general stress level. Even if I can only show up for thirty minutes, I find that yoga helps keep me relaxed throughout the whole day.
I’ve said it before a hundred times, but I am still not where I want to be in my life. It’s no one’s fault but my own, but I’m working on making the changes I need to lead a life I am happy with—at least most of the time. At the end of the day though, I am eternally grateful that I decided to start something new. That such a seemingly small change has had such an incredible impact on my life. That I have stuck with yoga for an entire year, and that I am a better person for it.
What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try for yourself? I challenge you to stop making excuses and just try it already. You may be surprised where it takes you. What’s stopping you anyway?