Many people ask me what keeps me motivated in my Yoga journey. The answer to that question is very simple - Personal Progress!
This first sign of progress I saw was on day 6 when I could hold a side plank. The progress just continued from there. There were many poses I could get into from day one, but there were also many I couldn't for the first few months. There were some I couldn't get into in the first year. But I get kept practicing daily and trying each pose as Adriene introduced them.
Side Plank Progress Sept 2018 - Feb 2020
As I mentioned, on day 6 of daily practice I held a side plank. I continued to practice the side plank often, and after about 9 months I could raise my top leg to a tree position. After a few more months I could raise my top leg straight up. It took another few months until I could begin to reach my top hand to my lifted foot. I absolutely love practicing the side plank now. It is a true sign of how much progress I have made and of how strong my core truly is.
Bound Pigeon Progress 2019
When I first started my daily practice, I would get into a pigeon pose and then bend my back leg to reach for my foot. Honestly, there was a good foot distant between my foot and my hand. I wasn't able to reach my foot until about the six-month mark. I was elated when this happened! After that I worked hard to get my foot into the crook of my elbow. As soon as I was close, I began to reach my other arm over my head. It took me about a month to finally reach my hands together and clasp my fingers. I was both shocked and excited when this finally happened, as the picture clearly shows. Now I can hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and am working to turn my hips and shoulders toward the front of my mat. I also will begin to reach directly up and over my head toward my foot for the Mermaid pose.
Plank Pose - Extended Arm & Leg
The first time Adriene prompted me to raise my opposite arm and leg while in a plank position, I absolutely could not conceive how this was possible. I tried and failed many times. It wasn't until just over eleven months of daily practice that I could finally lift the opposite limbs from a plank position. I was so overjoyed that I could finally do this!
Warrior Progress 2018 - 2020
My first days of the warrior poses, individually or in series, was intense. I would sweat and shake when holding these poses for more than a few seconds. They slowly got easier with time. After around 6 months I could successfully hold a warrior 3 pose with arms extended fully and body at a 90 degree angle. I was so proud of this moment. Now I can hold a warrior 2 for a very long time and not shake or break a sweat.
Eagle Arm Progress
The first time I tried eagle arms, I was literally at “skinamarinky dinky dink” arms like Sharon, Lois, and Bram! As the months went on, I slowly advanced. Now I can almost get my top elbow to the bottom elbow crease, and my bottoms fingers can reach my top forearm. There are a few factors to this that I cannot control, however. I have short arms for my height, very tight, inflexible shoulders, and a very large chest which prevents my arms from getting any closer to each other.
Crow Pose - Dec 2019
When I first tried to practice a crow pose, there was absolutely no way. I couldn't even imagine my body balancing on my arms. I could feel it in my guts that I wouldn't be able to hold this pose for a very long time. And this was true. I would try here and there when it came up on practice, but I always went for the Yogic squat or frog pose as my variation. Even when training as a Yoga Instructor I was unable to hold a crow pose. It wasn't until after sixteen months of daily Asana practice that I successfully held a crow pose. I was so excited for this moment! It was a major milestone in my Yoga journey.
Half Moon - Feb 2020
It took a good amount of time to develop my half moon pose. When I started, my leg was parallel to the floor, but all of my weight was on my bottom arm. I was able to open my hips fully from the beginning, but it took months to be able to get up to my fingertips on my weight bearing hand. Then eventually I was able to raise my body to get my hand off the ground. From there I worked to get my gaze to the sky. This took some practice, but I can now hold this pose successfully.
The biggest progress motivation for me, above all else, was the weight loss and toning that happened steadily with each month that passed. I was becoming much more confident in myself and I was happier than I had ever been. Things in my life really began to change for the better and I found my new passion that would turn into a lucrative business venture and career. I continue to see all of my poses progress further and my body continues to change. The progress will be never-ending, and this is something I absolutely love about Yoga.