New Year, New Yoga practice

One facet of my 2018 self improvement goals started with a yoga journey. Every day in January I have spent some time on a yoga mat in my living room in various poses. My regimen follows a 30 day video series. It has been a positive experience that has helped me grow in body and mind. I can feel my core strength as I plank with much more ease than I used to. I am trying to find a way to "breathe" love or send positive affirming thoughts to my muffin top. That is much more challenging than the physical stretching part.

As I've talked about in relation to mindfulness, I struggle with a practice tied to inhaling and exhaling. Give it my best effort to slow and quiet my breathe. I try to find a pace that I can coordinate with the poses and stretches the video instructor asks me to do. Last spirometry tests put me very close to the expected values for my height, weight, gender, and age. I tell myself this means when I'm having a good lung day I should be able to keep up. It is a concerted effort but I am getting closer to the video's prescribed pace of inhaling from this pose to exhale into another pose.

It is hit or miss for me on if I need to premedicate before yoga class. On the occasions where I have done yoga at a community center, park, or studio I always premedicate. However, since I'm in my living room, alone, I don't have to worry about inhaler shame. Some days the yoga video is more meditation and less workout. These days I don't need the inhaler and spacer sitting at the top of my mat. Other days my lungs are cranky, I take some Ventolin before I even unroll the mat. Or the instructor says to get ready for a fast-paced series.

All in all I've only found one part of the yoga series that doesn't work for my lungs. "Tiger breathing" does not help me deepen my connection to my body or bring peace to my soul. Without fail it sends me into a coughing fit and I bring up some mucus. With or without premedicating for the exercise I can not breathe like a tiger. If I want to incorporate airway clearance into yoga time I know exactly what to do.

This month I have found mental and physical benefits from doing yoga every day. I can feel the strength in my body as I do everyday activities. I bend further and lift things easier. Plus extra core strength makes a coughing fit when I'm sick less painful. On the mental side, I am at peace when I set aside 30 minutes of me time away from my phone. The yoga experiment is going well as a stepping stone towards my goal of better self care in 2018. How are you taking care of yourself in 2018? Are you trying yoga or something else as "me" time?

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