30 Day Challenges, Exercise, Self Improvement

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Beginner

#FitnessGoals are something you can’t escape from anymore. Everywhere you turn, there are women in activewear, work-out videos from super-fit exercise gurus, healthy diet plans, and gym selfies galore. But seriously, who in the real world has time for all of that? I barely have time to eat a healthy snack, much less block out an hour (or two, or three) for strenuous exercise and meal prepping. My life is averagely normal, therefore I have no extra time for all these #FitnessGoals I’m supposed to be working on. (There is is again! Things we’re ‘supposed’ to do, according to everyone else.)

Unfortunately for me (and the rest of us averagely-normal people out there) I also understand just how important a healthy lifestyle is – I’m fully aware that my butt being in an office chair from 8am-5pm every day isn’t cutting it. And let’s face it… my butt’s getting flatter and flabbier every day thanks to that stupid chair and ruining what little self-confidence I’ve managed to scrape together in the past few years of dealing with my new ‘adult body.’ This is the only, I repeat, the ONLY instance when I miss being high school… I looked freaking fantastic in high school. And it seemed to take considerably less effort than it does now. Go figure.

There are infinite benefits to practicing yoga, none of which are listed here, but I’ve been wanting to get into a routine for a while now. I even went out and bought a couple cute new yoga outfits (which have yet to be worn for yoga) and a new mat (that has been unrolled once since purchase). The problem though, has been 1. my extremely busy schedule and 2. lack of motivation (ie. laziness). Fortunately, those two problems are fairly easy to overcome – at least in theory.
So here’s my plan: First, I will start waking up earlier to start my day off with exercise. As much as I don’t want to wake up any earlier, it is the single easiest way to fit more into my schedule without rearranging everything else. Second, I will hold myself accountable by blogging each work out I actually complete. Flexible, toned, and sexy yoga bod, here I come!

[Edit: Find all of the videos listed in this challenge on the CurlyGirl Youtube Channel]

Note: I am the ultimate beginner in yoga, having only actually done one class one time ever.

30 Day_Yoga Image

Day 1 – Yoga for Weight Loss Workout 2 – 30 Minute Fat Burning Yoga Meltdown Beginner & Intermediate
I didn’t realize this was the second of two videos until I had already gotten started, oops. It didn’t really matter though; this flow was fairly easy to keep up with, the instructor was easy to understand, and I worked up a light sweat by the end. It worked my entire body, but I really felt it in my thighs and core afterwards. I did miss the last 2 minutes of the routine thanks to some over-excited furbabies and a tight timeframe, but I will definitely be doing this yoga flow again.

Day 2 – Morning Yoga Energy Boost for Weightloss & Strength – Beginners 20 Minute Workout
This beginner’s morning yoga video was a good start to my morning, even if it was a little slow and a little long (because of the slow pace) for my taste. All of the poses were great for doing so early in the morning – none were overly strenuous. This warmup-style flow focused a lot on flexibility rather than working the muscles. I felt relaxed and ready to start my day aftewards.

Day 3 – 15 Minute Morning Yoga to Wake Up
Apparently I need to work on picking out videos because this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Honestly, I only made it through about the first 5 minutes of this video before I switched it up. If you’re looking for an easy morning stretch routine to wake your body up, this is for you. Lots of breathing, lots of mindful stretches… not a lot of anything else.

5-Minute Morning Yoga
Since I used up precious minutes of my timed-to-the-minute morning, I quickly found a short video that would work my body more than my previous attempt. I enjoyed this quick flow, it lightly worked my muscles and helped to wake my body up. I did do a more strenuous muscle work out afterwards, just because I felt like I should. Hey, if I’m going to wake up at 5:30 in the freakin’ morning to do this, then I’m really gonna do this. I think I’ll try to move away from the morning flows though, and look for something requiring a little more effort.

7 Minute Bedtime Yoga
I desperately needed to wind down before I went to bed or I just knew it would probably take hours to fall asleep, so I decided to find a relaxing bedtime yoga routine… I actually found exactly what I was searching for this time! This flow was calming and relaxing, it helped me wind down my body and mind and at the end I was ready to climb into bed and fall asleep (*Note to self: next time, brush teeth and wash face first). I will definitely be doing this again – I’ve absolutely got 7 minutes to spare before bed.

Day 4 – 10 Minute Yoga Workout for Beginners – Improve Flexibility
I actually really enjoyed this video and yoga flow! It wasn’t too strenuous (it was 5:30am after all) but it had my heart pounding by the end and I could tell I had lightly worked my muscles, even with the focus on flexibility. This video was a little more upbeat than the other yoga videos I’ve done so far, but it was perfect for early morning. Since it lasted only 10 minutes, it was a little fast but I managed to keep up… mostly. I’ll for sure be doing this one again – especially since it only takes 10 minutes!

Day 5 – Yoga for Complete Beginners – 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout!
This is it! This is the video I’ve been searching for.  I definitely wish I had found it first, and plan on doing it again tomorrow. This beginner’s video takes it slow and easy while still working your body – I was pleasantly surprised to find I was a little sore the next day! The instructor does a great job of breaking down and explaining each pose and movement so you understand not only the correct way to use your body, but also how it is important and relevant to the practice of yoga. This is a fundamentals video that I recommend all newbie, beginner level yoga practitioners start with, and maybe even do a few times before moving on (which I did!).

Day 6 – I have to admit, it was really difficult talking myself into doing yoga on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon. Like really, really, almost-made-excuses, really difficult. But I’m proud to say that I did it anyway. As mentioned above, I did the Yoga by Adriene’s Yoga for Complete Beginners video again. Seriously, anyone can (and should) do this video!

Day 7 – Yoga for Beginners – 10 Minute Beginner Yoga Workout
The struggle was way too real this morning guys… forcing myself to get up from my nice, comfy, soft bed while buried under my adorable pile of puppies may be the biggest achievement of my week (good thing it’s only Tuesday. hah.) seriously though. I’m glad I did it though, this video helped wake up my mind and body for the day. While this is definitely a beginner’s video, it was still challenging – mostly due to a much faster pace. The poses were interesting and challenging, I got a light full body workout and good stretch without exerting all of my energy, and it only took 10 minutes.

[Side note: I’ve challenged myself to stop using ‘not enough time’ as an excuse because seriously, who can’t find ten minutes each day to work on improving your mental and physical wellbeing? Maybe an ER doctor but certainly not the majority of us. So right now, I will stop accepting my own excuses and make the time, make the effort. Because I am worth the effort.

Dog on Yoga MatDay 8 – Yoga for Weight Loss: 10-Minute Practice for All Day Energy
I was running a bit late this morning but doing this yoga flow (no excuses!) was worth having to speed-apply my makeup. This is an awesome, quick video for beginner yogis – it’s fast paced enough to provide a workout and be challenging, but still allows us newbies to easily keep up. This was the perfect flow to wake up my body and mind while allowing and encouraging me to focus on the day ahead. My only wish is that I had time to do it twice, and that my ornery furbabies would allow me to practice in peace.
*This video does use yoga blocks (which I don’t have) so I just made do with a slightly altered pose. I’m probably not flexible or strong enough (yet) to need the blocks anyway.

Yoga for Weight Loss & Belly Fat, Complete Beginners Fat Burning Workout at Home
I had some extra free time after work today and decided to go for another yoga routine (*pats self on back*), a decision I absolutely don’t regret. This video literally made me feel like I was in a studio at a class. The instructor was personable and talks to you rather than to a camera, which really helped me to focus on specific muscles and getting the pose right – she explained all of her movements and really just talked to you. The routine consists of a sequence you repeat a few times over. At first, I was a little disappointed in the repetitiveness of it all… but as I started the third cycle I realized that the repetitive movements allowed me to really focus on the working all of the muscles I was supposed to be working. As a result, I got a really great workout! 

Day 9 – Yoga at Your Desk
I managed to talk myself out of yoga this morning (I did stretch lightly to wake my body up, if that counts?) and I’m not too sure how my night is going to go yet, so I decided to do a quick search for a yoga flow I could do at my desk. Talk about options! I chose this video because I already know I like Yoga with Adriene and figured I couldn’t go wrong. This short, easy flow was perfect to do right at my desk. I felt a little silly bending in half sitting in my office, but I quickly got over it. My only complaint is that my 1990’s era rolling office chair wasn’t ideal for the back bend, but I made it work… kind of. I did this flow immediately after my lunch break and am now ready to jump right back in and finish my day strong (whereas before, I was dreading having to go back into the office after running errands on my lunch break).

Day 10 – 10 Minutes Yoga Workout Lose Your Belly Fat 
I was not prepared for this video! This is an intense, fast-paced workout that will probably leave you a little sore the next day – I know I am! I was sweating and my abs were killing me after this, and it only took 10 minutes. The instructor’s personality is fun and bubbly, she definitely keeps you entertained and motivated. The only problem I had was that it was so fast paced, it was hard to figure out some of the movements correctly and I missed doing them. Doing it again will help; now that I’ve already done it once – I’ll definitely be doing this one again!
*I highlyadvise stretching out before doing this video – I hurt my hamstring not doing so

Day 11 – Yoga for Strength and Flexibility
I had to skip two days and allow let my leg heal up a bit after a minor muscle strain (always properly warm up before exercising!) which I am actually pleased to report really threw my whole weekend off – I’ve started really building this habit and looking forward to my daily yoga routines!
Because my leg is not 100% yet but I was more than ready to get back to my yoga practice, I looked for a flow that would focus on flexibility rather than working my muscles. And this video was perfect! It is a slower-paced (but not horrifically so) routine that allowed me to really stretch my muscles and yet still lightly built strength. In my opinion, this is a great morning routine – after it, I felt awake and energized… at 6am… on Monday morning. If that’s not an impressive feat, I don’t know what is. Go yoga!

Day 12 – 15 Minute Yoga for Flexibility
This video is another excellent early-morning or pre-workout yoga flow. It really focuses on flexibility (as the title suggests, of course) but many of the poses required a little bit of strength as well, so the entire workout felt more rounded. This goes at a good pace, not too fast or too slow, but the instructor does talk quickly and sometimes softly so you have to pay attention. The best and worst part about this flow is that the last 5 minutes are dedicated to Savasana, which I usually love ending a flow with… but 5 minutes of laying down at 6am only meant falling back asleep so I decided to skip the last 4 minutes and instead did a quick squat sequence, just because.

Quick Yoga at Your Desk
This short video is perfect for doing at your desk. The sequence is very subtle but still gets you moving around and the blood flowing again. The instructor is bubbly and fun and filmed this flow in business attire at her desk – real life scenario’s leave little room for excuses! I personally liked this routine better than the previous desk routine I tried, but I wish she had addressed the fact that my lower body needs to get moving too, not just my upper body. She takes the last couple minutes of the video to talk about another course she is offering, so the actual sequence itself takes less than 5 minutes out of your work day.

5 Minute Before Bed Yoga
I highly recommend this yoga sequence to anyone who has trouble relaxing before bed or falling asleep – I know I’ll definitely be doing it again! This is a slow-paced, easy flow that anyone can do. This really helps your mind and body rest and relax before bedtime. I was so relaxed after completing this routine that it was all I could do to put my pillow back under my head before falling immediately asleep! Just be sure you’re ready for bed before doing it – I guarantee you won’t want to get back up after this.

Day 13 – Yoga for Beginners – 10 Minute Beginner Yoga Workout
This is the second time I did this video and I’m really glad I did! It was easier to follow the sequence this time, and was over before I knew it but I still felt satisfied with my workout after. I somehow talked my guy into doing this sequence with me… and as it was his first yoga video ever, he struggled a little bit but didn’t find it impossible to do. He even admitted he do it again with me! #win

Day 14 – 10 Minute Total Body Yoga Flow
Have you noticed the 10-minute yoga flow trend I’m setting yet? I just did! But seriously, it’s the perfect span of time for a quick, early-morning flow that I have no excuse for not doing! This flow has a lot of poses, which kept things interesting and my body moving. I didn’t warm up before this video but was conscious of that fact and ensured I didn’t push my body too hard. This flow is more challenging than the other sequences I’ve tried so far, I had a hard time accomplishing a pose or two! But I’m determined to keep working and improving and can’t wait until I’m ready for more challenging flows!

[Side note: I was running late this morning (like really late) but I’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel weird not starting my day with yoga so I buckled down and made it work – goal achieved! Score!]

Yoga Weight Loss Challenge! 20 Minute Fat Burning Yoga Workout Beginners & Intermediate
This video gave me a good ab workout and introduced me to some new beginner and intermediate level poses… and unfortunately that’s the only good thing I have to say about this video. The instructor is over-the-top bubbly in a sorority girl kinda way… which I can tolerate in general conversation (to a certain degree) but is NOT what I want from a yoga instructor. She and her girlfriends spend a lot of time giggling during this sequence which is annoying. To top it off, they spend a huge chunk of time talking about a contest/promo they had going on forever ago so it’s not even a full 20 minute workout… I don’t think I’ll be doing this video again.

Day 15 – 15 Minute Yoga For Beginners, Ideal for Beginning Yoga!!
This is the epitome of a beginner level yoga sequence. While I did get a good stretch in, I felt like it was a little slow and a little repetitive – I had a really hard time getting into it. I wasn’t feeling the instructor either… she didn’t do a bad job, she just isn’t who I would want to take a class from. I did finish the sequence because I was just squeezing it in my day where I could (and because when I got tired of it and went to stop it, there were only 2 minutes left so I said what the hell) but I won’t be doing it again.

Day 16 – 15 Minute Yoga for Flexibility
This is the second time I did this sequence – and I still found it to be a little challenging! (Which is awesome BTW.) For me, it’s a Monday morning after a long, exhausting weekend of yardwork and I needed to really stretch my body out before going to sit in my office all day at work. Once again, I did cut out the last 4 minutes of the video which are dedicated to Savasana however I did lay there for the first minute listening to her instructions, and wished I had time to lay there for the rest of the time.

Day 17 – 20 Minute Total Body Beginner Flow
This is an awesome video to start your day off the right way. It is gentle enough to do first thing, but challenging enough to give your a work out. Full disclosure, I struggled a little bit with a couple of the standing poses but they weren’t impossible or overly difficult. As is typical with Yoga by Candace, the last five minutes are dedicated to Savasana so it really only took 15 minutes from my morning. (Someday, I’ll have time to Savasana for the full five minutes!) This is what I would call an advanced-beginner sequence and I can’t wait to do it again.

After Work Revitalizer with Rachel Scott
I had no idea what to expect from an “after work revitalizer” and was pleasantly surprised at how much better my body felt after completing this sequence – it’s seriously perfect for us crazies who sit in a chair all damn day! This flow really focused on stretching out your muscles and getting them, well… revitalized! She focuses on specific leg and back muscles that need extra attention because of your office chair. My only complaint is that she spend a tiny bit too long on some poses but overall, this was a great after-work video.

Day 18 – 15 Minute Yoga Flow for Strength
They aren’t kidding about the “for strength” part of this yoga sequence! I really enjoyed this flow and plan on doing it again, maybe even tonight! She goes at a faster pace so as a result, you get through quite a few poses. The poses ranged in difficulty, from beginner level: easy, to beginner level: hard… I definitely struggled with one or two! If you want a full-body workout that will get your heart pumping and cause you to sweat a little, for sure try out this flow!

Day 19 – Beginner Morning Yoga Sequence for Greatest (15 min)
First, I have to admit that the only reason I chose this video this morning was because of the location she filmed this sequence in. I want a roof-top to do yoga in the tree-tops on!! Besides the fabulous landscape, I found this sequence to be “alright.” All the poses are great for early morning, but weren’t very strenuous. Flexibility and awakening your body are the main focus – which is fine, just not exactly what I’m wanting. This flow starts out pretty slow (I promise she’ll eventually let you come out of child’s pose!) but really picks up toward the end.

Day 20 – 15 Minute Yoga Flow for Strength
I decided to give this video another go since I enjoyed it so much, and and very glad I did. This flow is a great workout! I struggled just a little less with the poses I had a hard time with (and worked on those after this video to prove to myself I could do it. It was hard but I did it!) and moved much easier through the entire sequence. I highly recommend this for a true beginner’s yoga workout routine.

Day 21 – Day 7 – Total Body Yoga – 30 Days of Yoga
This video is from Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day yoga challenge (maybe I should try this next!) which was surprisingly easy to jump into the middle of, you know… since it’s day 7? She did mention the possibility of your abs hurting form yesterday’s flow, so I may be checking out Day 6… anyway. This is a little bit longer of a video than I’ve been doing – 30 minutes rather than 15 – but it really didn’t feel like it was so much longer when I was doing it. I was able to move well through this video and follow along perfectly. It gave me a good workout and got my heart pumping. This would be a good video for anytime of the day.

Day 22 – Yoga for Digestion Flow
I did this video after eating way too much mexican food… I was a little worried about working out on such a full stomach but it was totally fine. This sequence is more intense than previous sequences but not impossibly so. I’m finding I’m a little sore the next day! This is more of an intermediate level video so it was a challenge for my beginner status and really made me work up a sweat while making me excited to try it again and do even better.

Day 23 – Beginner Morning Yoga | 10-Min | Energizing Wake Up Vinyasa Flow
The true title of this video is “Beginner Morning Yoga for Women…” but I don’t get the ‘for women’ part – this flow would be good for anyone! Unfortunately, I also don’t agree with the ‘energizing’ part either. This flow did wake me up some, but it was too slow to really get my blood pumping and body moving. I also felt like it was too short to really accomplish much… the sequence left me felling like I needed to do more to get in a decent yoga workout – which I did by free-styling some poses I know I should work on. Overall, this is a good warm-up sequence but I wouldn’t use it for your full workout.

[Side note: I had to stop this challenge for three weeks due to getting sick TWICE. So not only have I started from square one again, I’m re-starting starting again. I’m sure my comments will reflect such =)]

Day 24 – 15 Minute Power Yoga Practice
I may have discovered my favorite yoga channel in SaraBethYoga – her videos were perfect for a beginner with a little bit of knowledge and a lot a bit of work to still do physically. This video was challenging and gave me a great workout! I did it first thing in the morning, and went home from work and did it again because it was such a great workout. The flow is fun yet challenging – I was definitely sore the next day. I did have a hard time keeping up with her, especially the first time, but she makes it easy to continue at your own pace. I know I’ll be able to keep up soon!

Day 25 – Thursday – Twist & Rinse Vinyasa Yoga Routine | 7 Day Yoga Challenge
I was looking for an abdominal workout to get ready for a wedding I’m attending (my ex-boyfriend’s little sister’s wedding – more on that drama later) and this flow delivered! It was a challenge to keep up with her but I managed for the most part. I also did this video first thing in the morning and again the same evening, simply because it made working my abs more fun than I thought possible. I did get a better workout the second time around because I knew what to expect in the short time-frame of the video.

Day 26 – Wednesday – Power Yoga Workout | 7 Day Yoga Challenge
I totally found this video from yesterday’s video and got such a hardcore workout from it that I did this one two mornings in a row #NoRegrets This one was pretty challenging, especially because I did it the same mornings I cam down with the sickness going around, so I will be doing it again now that I’m not coughing up a lung anymore when I breathe too hard. Prepare to sweat during this 15 minute video! I’d also like to note that SaraBeth’s personality is half the reason I enjoy her videos so much (the other half being it’s always a great workout!) because she comes off as a real person rather than someone reading off a script and/or performing for a screen.

Day 27 – Yoga Full Body Flow Workout – Caitlin Turner

While I enjoyed this flow – it was relaxing, set at a good pace, and worked my muscles well – I have to admit I almost turned it off because the instructor wasn’t someone I could easily listen to all the time. She comes off as the stereotypical barbie yoga instructor who teaches because it’s “in” right now and shows off her body. That may be totally off, but that’s how she came across to me. The workout is worth checking out for sure, I would do this flow again for sure if someone else were the instructor. Sorry Caitlin!

Day 28 – Monday – Morning Vinyasa Yoga Routine | 7 Day Yoga Challenge
I’m thinking I need to check out the missing days in SaraBeth’s 7 Day Yoga Challenge because now I have 3/7 completed. Even though it’s labelled as a ‘morning routine’ it can really be done at any time during the day. It is a nice way to wake up because it works your body more than other morning flow videos I’ve done that don’t even get your blood moving, but isn’t overly strenuous because, you know, early morning. I don’t know if it was coincidence or not, but I had a great day the morning I did this flow =)

Day 29 –

Day 30 –

Find all of the videos listed in this challenge on the CurlyGirl Youtube Channel

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