5 Unexpected Side Effects of Yoga with Adriene
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
After I had my son, I suffered a pelvic injury and was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's. I didn't have the energy or ability to run or do other exercises I had done in the past. I had always practiced yoga but it had been years since I really dedicated myself to a daily practice so I did what everyone does now and went on YouTube looking for some ideas. I found Yoga with Adriene. I gave one of Adriene Mishler's videos a try and now almost three years later I practice yoga with her every day. I am healthier and more confident to practice on my own but I don't want to. I think I kind of love her. At first, I was limited on time and energy and I would try to skip over Adriene talking but then at some point I started really listening to what she had to say and that changed everything. I realized yoga was not something I did for my body but for my whole self.
It became the true yoke that keeps my life in balance.
If you are not familiar with Yoga with Adriene, I highly suggest you check her out. YWA has videos for all levels of fitness, videos at various lengths of time, a free monthly calendar to follow and on the membership a ton of amazing videos well worth the subscription price. Adriene suggests modifications and makes it so you can do yoga anywhere at anytime no matter your resources or abilities. When I think back to my 12-year-old self who wanted to study yoga but no studio was near my rural town, it feels good to know now that people all over the world now can have access to free yoga.
I could tell you how I am thinner now than when I would run 8 miles regularly or that I have no asthmatic symptoms. I could also tell you how I take the mantra Find What Feels Good to heart and how that has led to all kinds of wonderful changes in my life. I could also tell you how my whole family has joined in on different videos and we are all closer for it. Or that all the pets in the house flock to yoga time and I swear they know Adriene's voice. Or that at 36, I was able to hold my first crow pose. But instead, I want to share with you the more unexpected gifts of a regular at home practice of Yoga with Adriene.
1. I have much nicer feet.
2. I have cleaner floors.
3. I breathe deeper all the time.
4. I feel like I am part of something bigger.
5. I don't hate my body anymore.
My feet are nicer for two main reasons: I see them every day and Adriene suggests we massage them often in her videos. So I will be clear that I am not a huge fan of feet. I prefer to wear socks all the time even with sandals but with yoga my feet have to be on the mat to do things right. This has led me to polish my toenails every week and invest in nice foot lotion and seek out comfortable shoes (Hello Birkenstocks). I actually treat my feet with love.
We vacuum every week and I mop and swifter weekly as well but nothing will keep your floors clean like an at home yoga practice. You are on the floor level and can really see when things need a clean. But I am also upside down and am able to see hidden cat and toddler toys under bookshelves and couches. Every time I practice yoga in a room, I leave it tidier.
I have always known the benefits of deep breathing but years of anxiety led to a lot of shallow breathing. From daily yoga practice, I am more in tune with my body in general. I know when to rest, when to take a deep breath, when to eat. I am even aware of what poses or sequences my body needs. I find myself taking deep breaths all day, especially, in moments that may be stressful otherwise. I also understand a root lock and use my yoga techniques while doing other exercises or hiking.
The YWA community is real and it is huge. In my rural town, I don't have a lot of people I truly click with. I have felt "weird" a lot of my life. People can find my love for the Earth annoying. But in the Kula (which is a free community), I am treated as a family member. We celebrate each other's wins, share our struggles, read books together and offer help where we can. It is not like any other place on the web. I often share things with the Kula that I don't share with anyone else besides my little family. It is truly a beautiful place of love and makes practices alone at home not feel lonely.
I have always worked out to relieve stress but I didn't believe a twenty minute yoga video could give me the same relaxation benefits of hours of running but it does. But it does, if you are doing things right. After practicing with Adriene for years now, I understand how to really do the poses. In the past, I could do the pose but not really feel anything. In her foundation videos she explains which muscles to turn on and how to make space in the poses. These cues have been a huge game changer. I practice every morning and sometimes again in the evening depending on the day. I am nicer because I am nourishing my body and listening to it. Many people are grumpy because we are not treating our bodies with the care they need making us feel terrible and take that out on others.
Once I started really listening to my body, I stopped hating it. I made a commitment when I had my daughter that I would not talk badly about my body in front of her. I grew up in a family where women were always dieting, always hating on their bodies and who never wanted to be photographed. I didn't want my daughter to grow up like that, but it didn't stop me from thinking those things. Adriene often suggest rubbing our bellies, patting our bellies or placing our hands on our bellies. At first, these moments made me uncomfortable. So did certain poses. The discomfort had nothing to do with my physical ability but my mental and emotional ability to practice. I used to truly hate my body, I was a cutter and a binge eater. I thought I was ugly and fat most of my life. Becoming a mother and seeing what my body could do began to change that perspective but really listening to Adriene truly change my thoughts.
To the outsider, yoga may seem easy but it is not. If you are truly doing it right it is a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual experience. It is like a moving meditation that makes you sweat and shake. On this International Yoga Day, I want to thank the team at YWA and the Kula for all the positivity and love, I am a better person because of you.