Things I've Learned from...

.... The March Insta Yoga Challenge.

This past March I participated in an instagram yoga challenge. (If you aren't already, follow me on instagram username: nothingwithoutyoga or click here.)  I really wanted to dedicate myself to my practice and learn new things so I chose the Journey to Handstand challenge hosted by @beachyogagirl and @kinoyoga. (Both great yoga inspirations)  Handstands were also on my fitness bucket list for this year so it was a great way to incorporate my goals into my new instagram. Throughout the challenge I learned A LOT about my body and my strengths and weaknesses.

 

The challenge started off easy enough with working on strengthening your shoulders and core. The first pose was chaturanga which I learned to do properly at teacher training.  It is amazing how different my practice is now that I know the proper way to do simple poses-- even simple ones like high to low pushup.

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Chaturanga!

There was also a mix of stretching for lower body and upper body that helped open the body up for handstands.  One thing I love about yoga is it trains flexibility and strength at the same time which is so important.  In order to be truly healthy and "fit", flexibility needs to be trained as well as strength. Most people forget about the flexibility part of the equation!

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A little hamstring stretch after a cold run with Casey at his parent's place.

 

The challenge took us through some great challenges that showed me where my strengths and weaknesses.  My shoulders are definitely the weakest part of my body and my core could definitely continue to get stronger.  I have been working on building core strength for a while but it could always use a little loving. The first time I tried to hold a handstand against the wall for 1 minute I was shocked by how hard it was!! My new strength focus was my shoulders for sure!

Here are some fun poses I got to play with during this challenge:IMG_7240

Scorpion handstand: definitely needed the help from the wall and definitely need to work on back flexibility.

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Crow pose on the beach on Florida! So happy I finally nailed it!

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Tuck jumps: These were HARD!

 

I learned that shoulder strength is really hard for me to build personally and that you can never stop working on your core.  Your core supports your through life and helps yogis get into all these awesome inversions. It is important to keep your core strong to keep your body healthy. I learned that I will not be able to do a handstand in a month or even in two months.  It is going to take some to build the strength needed to hold a handstand.  I can now hold it for a few seconds which is better than I was able to before. I also learned that there is a bit of fear involved with inversions.  Being upside is not normal for the average person, so handstands and inversions push your boundaries.  My yoga practice as allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and deal with anxiety and stress easily but I am ready for it to push me in other areas as well. Don't get me wrong I'm going to continue to use it for peace and calm but I want to see how it can help me in other aspects of my life. I'm ready to test myself and see all the amazing thing my body can do if I allow it.  I'm ready to feel strong and badass all the time.  I'm ready to push those boundaries in order to learn more about myself and yoga practice, are you?

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Learning to fall into wheel pose.

 

I'm so glad I did this instagram yoga challenge and learned so much about my body and my practice.  It's helped me look at my weight lifting routine in a new way and see where I am imbalanced.  While the yoga selfie is highly debated, I found it fun to track my progress through instagram and pictures.  It also was fun to share with my friends everything I have been doing lately in my yoga practice.

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Handstands in Florida! 

 

I am participating in another instagram challenge in april and I'm super excited! Follow my progress on my instagram: @nothingwithoutyoga

Anyone else want to join me?!

Namaste!