This month marked one year since we began our now-infamous quarantine. About one year ago, I had my last day of high school on an unremarkable Thursday without even knowing it. The beginning of quarantine, however, offered us the opportunity to begin new routines and do our best to stay healthy.
For some people, this meant reading books they never got around to or giving their best shot at 1,000-piece puzzles. Others embarked on socially-distant physical activities such as long-distance running or biking around the neighborhood. For me, I challenged myself to begin doing yoga. I had some experience with doing yoga in the past, but I struggled with holding myself accountable to maintain the habit — I would fall victim to making up excuses that I was “too busy” and didn’t have enough time for such a frivolous thing.
The pandemic eliminated all of these excuses. My era of procrastinating yoga had finally come to a fantastic end. I realized that in order to stay sane at home, I needed to establish a packed schedule of things to do and stick with it. While I enjoy sleeping in and watching TV all day as much as the other person, that kind of lifestyle can only go on for so long before it would drive me to madness.
The very first thing that occurred to me to begin my day was to do a simple morning yoga. I found an instructional video on the Nike Training Club app for a morning yoga routine — only 15 simple minutes that I would have to dedicate to my mornings before I got to work with the rest of my day. Little did I know that such a short amount of time would have such a great impact on how I approached my mornings from then on.
I faithfully stuck to my promise to myself to do yoga, and it did wonders for my body and mind. I would end up feeling more refreshed and energized after each session. It enabled me to take some time to care for myself and strengthen my body. The poses challenged me to become more flexible while improving my breathing. It has been especially helpful for my posture since I spend so much time at my desk working. I often catch myself slouching, so my yoga practices help remind myself to sit up straight.
I also credit yoga for also improving and maintaining my mental health. It’s been really difficult to manage school from my laptop while being completely socially deprived for an entire year. So, getting to quiet my mind and meditate for just a few minutes in the morning has definitely helped alleviate some of the stress. Yoga enables me to recharge and reset my mind, so that I don’t drown in a tidal wave of worry.
Even though practicing yoga was a relatively small addition to my day, this habit helped me structure my life during a time when I lacked it. It also pushed me to incorporate other helpful routines such as taking a daily walk and exercising for an hour. I’m not going to lie — it hasn’t been easy to maintain these routines. It’s not uncommon for me to slack off on some days. And that’s OK. I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely not a professional yogi. I also enjoyed changing up my routine some days and even taking a break for a little while. I want to have a schedule to abide by, but I don’t want to torture myself into monotony either.
If you’ve been thinking about starting some kind of daily habit like yoga — this is your sign. Go for it! Challenge yourself to start something new that will enhance your day-to-day routine and keep you on your toes. Find something you’ve always wanted to try out and do it. It won’t always be easy, but it’s definitely worth it. If applicable, invite your friends to join you in a new activity as long as it’s COVID-19 safe. Most importantly, don’t feel bad if you mess up or skip some days. Do what you can manage while still challenging yourself.
I’m not a yoga master. After a year of practice, I’d still consider myself a beginner. But, I don’t have to be an expert to know that my little daily routine lifts my spirits and has made me into a better version of myself. Even if it’s not a morning yoga routine, I recommend trying something new today.
Cecy Juárez is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.