Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Yoga Chart

I have never been a fit person. I don't like sport, I don't see the fun in exercise, and frankly I'm too lazy to do exercise. Over the last year, I have suffered quite a lot from illness. Usually it's no more than a cold, but they came far too often, and sometimes were unbearable. My step-dad said that I should get more exercise.

I joined the gym at school with my friends, and most weeks I would go for at least an hours session. I was quite motivated for it because I was with my friends (one of which took it on to be my personal trainer, nearly killing me several times!) but towards the end of the school year, we all began to lose it a bit. Once the summer started I lost it completely. I tried to keep it up. I even downloaded a workout app for my phone. It just wasn't happening.

Last week I went to Alton Towers. I was suffering all day from back pains that made it difficult to move in any way. And no it wasn't because of the roller coasters, it was hurting before we had arrived. Although admittedly they probably didn't help... I also have very crunchy, and clicky joints, so I decided that I would try some yoga. I had a look through all of my mum's yoga books, and picked out one that I liked the look of, and tried all of the poses. What I like about the book (The Easy Yoga Workbook by Tara Fraser if you're interested) is that the instructions are clear, there are pictures and suggestions for alternatives in case you are having difficulty with a pose, and it tells you what each of the poses are good for. With this in mind, my sister thought it would be a good idea to make a chart.

My sister loves to make charts. She has one for running, and says it really motivates her to do it, maybe not every day, but at least try for most days. I thought I'd go along with it because it does make it easier to choose which poses I want to do that focus on improving certain areas of my body at a time. This is what she came up with.

It's quite impressive. And colourful, colours are always good. The idea is that the top half of the chart is a check list of all of the poses, and what they are good for, and the bottom half is a check list of all the days I have done the yoga, which I can take away and replace once it is full without having to remake the whole thing.

Having all of the poses and benefits together like this means I can cross reference them really easily, and make a list at the beginning of the week of what I'm going to do for the rest of the week.

Having the check list at the bottom can help me reflect on what I have done over the week, and if I think it is enough. For example, the first week I did roughly 30 minutes for 5 days, and the pain in my back was gone, so that was enough. I changed my focus for the second week to shoulders and stress because I woke up yesterday with achy shoulders, and I have my results day on Thursday so I could get stressed! If by the end of the week my number of minutes isn't as high as I want it to be, I will continue my focus for another week. Otherwise I will start again.

I don't know if it was the yoga that helped to cure my back pain, or it just naturally went away, but it still has to be doing me some good. I want to stretch out my joints so I don't click so much, and I don't get so achy and stiff. My aim for the end of the summer is to be flexible enough to touch my toes without bending my knees, something I have never been able to do. Here's hoping the chart helps!

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