Lessons from practicing yoga every day for a week.
As you may have seen, I’ve just recently come back from a week in Montenegro; a trip spent hiking, wild swimming, kayaking and – importantly – daily yoga sessions for an all-round mind & body wellbeing getaway (let’s just ignore all the wine and cheese that was consumed, kay?).
Each morning we got up for our 7:30am yoga sessions on the villa’s terrace, facing out to incredible views of the mountains around Lake Skadar, taking in nature and testing our flexibility! Here are some things I learned:
1. Creating a healthy habit takes time
I’ve been doing yoga on and off for the last 8 years, but have always found it hard to create a habit of doing it. It’s easy to start skipping sessions when you don’t do it regularly, which is why doing a week of daily sessions is a great way to kick-start a habit! I’m hoping to continue more regularly now I’m back (though I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit it in every single day in day-to-day work life), but watch this space!
2. Everyone’s bodies & abilities are different
It’s no secret that I’m hugely un-flexible. I have short Achilles tendons and short calf muscles which mean I’m miles from touching my toes and doing leg stretches is really hard for me. However, my balance is pretty good and I’m fine with hip opening poses, whilst others find this the hard part. We’re all different! Luckily there are so many yoga poses to choose from and find what you’re good at, and the whole point is to stretch and work on your problems anyway!
3. What you wear affects performance
I recently got in touch with Claudia from Island Feather, an upcoming yoga and surf brand based in Southsea. I first read about her story in Surf Girl Mag and fell in love with her designs! This yoga holiday was the perfect place for me to try out her new Raw Coast Collection; a beautiful selection of slick & modern fitness wear with bright, summery, Ibiza-inspired prints.
But it’s not just the cute design that’s important, yoga-wear also needs to be super comfortable and able to stretch with your poses easily, whilst being breathable not too tight and not too slippery (for those ‘tree’ poses!). I personally like to wear yoga clothes that fit tight to the body so that I feel supported and don’t get tangled in loose clothing draping down during a ‘downward dog’ or ‘shoulder stand’. Island Feather’s leggings use flexible, lightweight and breathable materials with 4-way stretch and minimal seams, creating a durable multi-purpose design that’s great for yoga, jogging, workouts and even surfing!
Claudia’s vision is to empower more women to get out there and take charge of their health and fitness in a fun and positive way with her ‘Find Your Freedom’ social impact programme, another awesome reason why I wanted to support her brand!
4. Yoga is a great way to prepare you for the day
Previous yoga classes I’ve been to have usually been evening sessions, but I have to say, starting the day with morning yoga is my new preferred time to practice! It’s the perfect way to wake your body up by stretching and preparing for the day ahead, whether that involves sitting at a desk or hiking up the Montenegrin mountains!
5. Yoga is for everyone, and comes in different styles
There are so many different types of yoga practice; from Hatha & Iyengar, to Vinyasa or more commercial styles like ‘hot’ or ‘flying’ yoga! There’s something for everyone, but more than that, there are different ways to approach your yoga practice as well.
Taking up yoga doesn’t have to be a serious & dedicated pursuit of spirituality; if that’s what yoga means to you then that’s great. For some people, practicing yoga is a sacred experience, but for some people, it’s simply a great way to stretch, get stronger, and start the day with a relaxed mind-set. I think it really doesn’t matter!
It was awesome to be in a group of people who were like-minded in our approach to yoga during this trip. We all wanted to relax and have a mindful start to our day whilst improving our flexibility, but we had fun with it and weren’t afraid to follow-up with a few glasses of wine in the evening too!
6. Nothing beats outdoor yoga
At the end of the week, all I could think of was ‘when am I ever going to get to do yoga with a view like this again??’. Each morning, we were outside on the terrace, listening to the birds, and twice we left the villa to practice on old stone ruins facing the lake, which was amazing!
Outdoor yoga is truly peaceful, and hard to compare to practicing within a studio, but it’s tricky to do regularly – especially in England with unpredictable weather and less-than-optimal temperatures. However this Summer I would love to make the most of the beautiful Cornish landscape and get outside for a few yoga sessions when I can! Who’s joining me??
Never miss a post! Follow on Bloglovin:
* This post is a collaboration with Island Feather, but I specifically reached out to Claudia because I love her brand, so obviously all opinions are very much my own :)