So the final day of the 30 day yoga challenge has arrived. I have thoroughly enjoyed incorporating yoga into my daily life and experienced so many benefits in mind and body. I will do a full blog article later on to provide a detailed review of the changes I have seen and felt, including how my metrics have changed in terms of body fat and muscle composition.
For my last video of the challenge I decided to go for a 1 hour session of the classic yoga we all know and love. Vinyasa flow is what you will most likely do, in a regular yoga class as a gym or yoga studio. And for good reason! Vinyasa flow let’s you enjoy the flowing movements as you transition from one pose to another in a rhythmical style, focussing on your breath as you go. This workout will give you lots of lovely stretching sensations, fill your body with heat, test your balance and build your strength all in one. Nothing new or too challenging here – but if you want to take it a step further Cat gives some options to incorporate more challenging poses if you wish to. 1 hour of yoga a day is a good amount of time to work to for daily practice, especially if yoga is your main form of exercise.
As this challenge ends, I plan to keep up daily yoga and incorporate some further muscle work as a new routine to build muscle and strength. This week I started incorporating some additional exercises into my sessions, by following up with bodyweight exercises such as crunches, hip thrusts, squats, Russian twists and a few more. This is a great way of getting the benefits of the gym at home with no equipment except your matt.
Today I wanted to try out 3 shorter yoga sessions for the morning, noon and night – so see how this compared to one longer session. You may find this easier to fit into your schedule, or enjoy the sensation of waking up your body in the morning, topping up your energy levels midday and winding down in the evening.
Yoga with Adriene: Sunrise Yoga – 15 min Morning Yoga Practice
For the first time during this challenge, I tried out a specific yoga practice tailored to helping you start your day right. This class by Adriene is the perfect pace and will stretch you out nicely. A classic combination of yoga poses flowing together, is what you can expect from this sunrise yoga practice. Try out morning yoga for yourself to feel energised in body and calm in mind for the day ahead.
Yoga with Adriene: Power Yoga, 45 minutes
Ready to burn some calories before lunch? Try a Power Yoga class to get the heart rate up. This one from Adriene is one of my go-to yoga videos. I like the variation of flows that give your whole body a workout. It also includes surprise and challenge by including a few sets of jumping jacks and squats. If you can’t squeeze a 45 minute workout into your lunch break (with time leftover to eat as well!) you can always substitute with a 15 or 30 minute power yoga class instead.
Jessica Richburg: 20 minute evening Yoga Flow: Daily routine to relax and unwind
When we have stressful or busy days it can be hard to switch off before bed. When this happens, sleep is often disrupted or it is difficult to fall asleep at all. We are all guilty following a busy day, of spending the evening crashed out in-front of the TV, or fixed to our phones. But when we do this, we are keeping our minds busy and cluttered, rather than clearing them out and helping us to press the reset button. With an evening yoga practice you are allowing yourself some me-time, some quiet time. We invite ourselves to let go of the day thus far and truly relax and unwind. That’s why I picked this class – it’s nice and slow, with a series deep stretch poses that will feel so good at the end of the day. Exactly what you need from an evening yoga practice. Perhaps meditation is more your thing? However you choose to relax, make sure to make it a priority. A clear mind and a good night sleep tonight, will do wonders for your productivity tomorrow.
FightMaster Yoga: Vinyasa Flow Yoga for Weight Loss
Today we are keeping up the faster tempo, but with one longer workout. FightMaster describes this practice as a HIT style yoga class as you will do a series of fast moving flows in between resting poses. It is hard to keep up on a few sections – especially if you feel a need to check in with the TV to see what you should be doing! It might be a good idea to watch the faster sequence through once before doing it yourself.
This is a full body workout that will help you build strength and burn calories. The full range of motion will feel so good after a day sitting at a desk. For me, this is what’s great about yoga. It feels like I can unravel the tightness in my body and prevent any stiffness and pain. One thing I know for sure after doing this challenge, is that yoga will become regular part of my routine for good now.
Boho Beautiful: Yoga Workout, Better than the Gym, Abs & Core
So after a few lower body/butt workouts – we move onto the lower body. We will also be shaking it up with a few examples of ‘yoga workouts’ as in – taking things up a level to resemble something a little closer to a gym workout. The perfect compromise with the gyms closed, but still delivering a yoga-based exercise routine. In this blog I will share 3 short videos that will work your core and arms. Don’t be fooled by their short duration – you will be working very hard!
With this first video from BohoBeautiful you can except to be sweating after a few minutes and begging to make it stop! Enjoy that burn. Lovers of HIT workouts will favour videos like these due to the power and speed combination. A great ab and upper body blast. Expect lots of plank variations, lunges and arm and leg raises from table top position.
Ready for more?
SarahBethYoga: 10 minute power yoga workout: Quick arms & Abs
Don’t put those abs too sleep just yet. You will be working them again in this video. But the good news is, it is only 10 minutes and you will be working your arms too. This one is slower paced than the first and broken up with lots of child’s pose. You can expect to be doing yet more planks but modified with the knees down to put more focus on the arms than the core. In this video you will get the chance to practice your ‘hopping’ which I actually found really fun. You will feel this one working with a nice reassuring ache/burn in your arms afterwards.
BohoBeautiful: 5 minute workout for toning: How to loose arm fat
Now this is not strictly yoga. But it is delivered by a Yoga Youtube favourite BohoBeautiful – and as she mentions, it will help strengthen the arms to improve your yoga ability. Plus, I spotted this whilst looking for videos and thought it would be a great one to share. I have done similar short arm workouts and could not believe how much they hurt so quickly! You will know 100% this workout is building those muscles. Trust me, 5 minutes with this exercise is enough! This would be a great short video to do everyday if you want to tone your arms. Who needs weights with workouts like this?
Yoga with Adriene: Yoga for your Butt and Thighs: 30 minutes
Today we are keeping the theme of working the lower body – in particular the butt! Why so many butt focussed videos you might be wondering? Well 26 days into my challenge now – I am amazed by the differences I have seen in my body. I noticed a new muscle at the top of my arm (part of my lower shoulder) that I have never seen to become visible before in my life. My arms, upper body and stomach are looking toned and strong. My legs are also looking more toned particularly in the calf’s.
But naturally, I have a pear shaped figure. I have a big butt and bigger thighs and hips. This is where I carry my weight. So to tone up and trim these areas – I am keen to try a few more workouts that focus on the lower body. Hopefully, I will see some of the same results I have for my upper body and stomach. If you have different target areas – you can switch up your practice with yoga videos specific to your body shape..
With this video, Adriene will get you doing lots of variation of lunges, forward folds and leg raises to get your heart rate up and feel the burn. Enjoy!
Shona Vertue: Yoga for the butt: 40 minute Dynamic Yoga
This yoga video is all about working the butt! The great thing about yoga is that there are so many variations of classes to match the muscle groups you want to target. This video was from an instructor I have never come across before – Shona Vertue. It is a totally different style of video from anything that I have posted before. The instructor is fun and a bit silly which you will see as soon as you press play. More of a classic ‘youtuber’ vibe – you will either love or hate this video. Perhaps you are more clined to the chilled out style of Boho beautiful or FightMaster. I went from initial scepticism whether this video would include ‘real’ yoga – to enjoying the energy and enthusiasm the instructor gave to the practice. To my surprise, other than a few specific gym style bum workouts – the rest was filled with yoga flows and poses that we have all come to recognise.
This is a great video if you want to feel the burn in the glutes but still get all the amazing feelings and benefits that a classic yoga class will bring. With gyms still closed here in the UK – it was great session to get those post-gym feeling when you have worked your lower body.
Saturday means some extra time for a longer yoga workout. One of the hardest parts of sticking to an exercise routine is often fitting it in around your life. For me, weekends are a great time to give yourself a little more ‘me’ time and prioritise exercise and fitness. Otherwise it might require a change of routine – either getting up a little earlier or using your lunch breaks to exercise. What matters is that you find something that works for you and you can stick to.
So this is a first from the KinoYoga. KinoYoga channel has a wide range of yoga classes including a pose encyclopaedia. I would highly recommend watching tutorial videos dedicated to showing you individual poses in detail, as they help ensure you are getting your form right. I did this recently with forward fold, as I sometimes didn’t know which muscles to focus on and was worried I was slouching. Doing the tutorial video I now understand exactly how to position my body before folding, to bend from the hips and bend the knees when you need to. Before I was obsessing that I needed to have straight legs even if that meant losing the correct positioning of my back.
This class is quite different from any I have done previously so far. You can expect to hold poses for long periods of time. This is challenging for the muscles and will test your strength. The video focuses on holding a series of poses and switching up with a flow of plank, chaturanga, upward dog to downward dog in between. Without a doubt, this was the most advanced yet of the practices I have done. It includes Grasshopper pose (I could barely attempt this), forearm stand and shoulder stand. 70% of the class is suitable for beginner/intermediate level with the rest pushing your limits and only achievable for advanced yogis. Overall I enjoyed it and just accepted that it will take a while to get to the advanced poses – but great to get some inspiration!
Cat Meffan: 40 minute Power Yoga: Intermediate Level
I kept changing on my mind about whether to go for this workout as it had intermediate in the title. But eventually I decided to just give it a go. I am glad I did as whilst it does provide challenge there is nothing too scary in here. Well there is a headstand – but just skip it or take baby steps. If you look at advanced poses like this and feel that you are so far away – that’s OK. I looked into it and it can take years of daily practice to achieve headstands and full splits. If getting to this level is really important to you – you will need to put some serious work and dedication in.
Achieving the really challenging poses isn’t what yoga is all about. I would much prefer to perfect the standard poses – like being able to forward fold with completely straight legs, hold balance postures with no shake or hold plank pose for extended periods of time. These are more important measures of increased strength and flexibility for me. Everyone is different – so set your own goals to work towards them over time.
This is another Power yoga video which means you can expect flowing faster paced movements working your whole body. A perfect workout to incorporate 3-4 times a week to continually build muscle and lose calories.
Boho Beautiful: Yoga for Flexibility to achieve splits 30 minutes
Ready for a real challenge? Already very bendy? Then try this one out. If you are a beginner however, or get intimidated by the word splits – skip this one. Just for the record – I can’t do splits. I am far from it. But I like the idea of increasing my flexibility. I didn’t go into this workout expecting to be able to achieve a full split, I went into it knowing I would only go as far as my body would allow. If you have the same mindset you will be OK with this practice.
Seeing the Boho lady in full split did make me quite envious. This woman is like a piece of rubber! Just shows what yoga can do if you really commit to it. Most of the poses in this workout are challenging. Only those at intermediate to advanced will be able to mirror the positions shown on the video. Just focus on your version, what feels good for you. There is a section where the instructor stays in split for quite a long time – you may wish to use this time for yourself to do some poses your body is craving. This workout is for those focused on flexibility rather than strength and weight loss. So if you want a more up-tempo workout this isn’t for you.
I took a shorter practice today as I had took a few short yoga sessions both before and after. Not following a video, but just a combination of flows that I have come to enjoy during this challenge. I particularly like the Vinyasa plank to chaturanga to upward dog to downward dog. I then follow this up with knee to nose in plank multiple times to work the core. This combination you can do slow or at speed to work up a sweat.
Being a good way through 30 days of yoga – I am seeking out longer practices to keep up the level of challenge. Here is a great 45 minute workout with moderate intensity that will make you break a sweat. Although it has ‘for weight loss’ in the name, this is still a very typical yoga video with familiar poses, just with quicker transitions and a slightly higher tempo.