What happens when life gets too stressful and too unexpected? You decide to commit yourself to something that you can control, in my case to Yoga with Adriene True 30-day yoga challenge.
Normally, I practice hatha yoga twice a week through an online class hosted by my dear friend Sara. However, as I was getting more into yoga, I wanted to explore it more on my own.
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Why Yoga with Adriene True?
I was never the person to finish any challenge that included anything connected to exercise or nutrition. It is because I never fully commit to it from the start. So, I don’t take it seriously and I stop in the middle of the journey.
This time, I decided to write a post with my review of the Yoga with Adriene True challenge and journal through the whole process. Well, that did the trick. Although in the midst of it I took a small break (period cramps 🙁 ), I continued after it diligently and finished strong.
The True challenge is, as Adriene puts it, ultimate at-home yoga practice, and since the start of the pandemic, I believe more people look towards shifting their exercise to be at home permanently.
I was drawn specifically to this challenge because of Adriene’s description of it.
She says that in True “you don’t need to become someone else, but rather take time to uncover what is already there”, it is an “exploration of your true self”. During this challenge, you get to truly know yourself, and therefore feel your best.
I can testify to that being true.
About Yoga with Adriene True
Yoga with Adriene is a YouTube channel hosted by Adriene Mishler, a Texas-native actress, and a yoga instructor.
At the beginning of each year, Adriene organizes a 30-day yoga challenge with a different focus each time. One of those 30-day challenges was True.
The main themes of the True yoga challenge are self-reflection and self-familiarity. There are no yoga teachings, like chants, that turn off many people who don’t want to get too spiritual.
True is more about self-reliance and learning to deal with different situations in life. It is more about getting introspective and listening to yourself and trusting yourself.
I loved that Adriene always makes it clear that it is ok not to feel what she is practicing and it is fine if we don’t feel into it on that specific day.
That’s exactly what it was at the end for me, an amazing toolkit for the future.
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Is It Suitable for Beginners?
Yoga with Adriene True is suitable for beginners, but there are also terms she mentions that were new to me and I had to google them after practice.
Here is a small glossary of terms to help you from the start:
- Pranayama: Prana is a vital life force and Yama is to control, used for regulation of breath through certain exercises.
- Ujjayi breath: breathing from your throat with lips closed, so-called “ocean breath”.
- Vinyasa: to move with intention, to move with the breath, flow.
- Salve: to do something in order to feel less guilty.
- Sternum: a long bone located in the central part of the chest.
There are a bit more difficult poses only towards the end of the challenge. It is consistent in terms of difficulty throughout all 30 days. Videos vary in length from shortest being 13:39 on day 24 to longest being 41:13 on day 16.
If you are psychically healthy you will have no problem completing daily Yoga with Adriene true practices, even if you don’t know anything about yoga. However, if you have some physical problems with your knees, ankles, or hips, I would advise you to first consult your doctor before doing any kind of physical exercise.
You will need:
- An open mind
- A willingness to see yourself and love yourself
- A yoga matt
- A blanket (for some days)
The challenge is comprised of three components:
- Daily yoga practice videos
- Daily e-mails with writing prompts, geting deeper into each day’s theme
- Downloadable yoga calendar
I participated only through YouTube videos.
You can find all the information on the Yoga with Adriene website.
Yoga with Adriene True – My Review
When I decided to commit to the 30-day yoga journey, I was at a turning point in my life. I just quit my job and started a new entrepreneurial endeavor. I also just turned 30 and got engaged.
A lot of things happened in the short space of time and I just needed a routine for myself to keep me grounded and calm.
I wasn’t looking to get toned or be stronger, I just wanted to immerse myself into this experience and trust the process.
Find What Feels Good
Here are my main takeaways from the True challenge:
- Easy to follow even for beginners
- You learn to breathe slowly; to focus on long inhales and even longer exhales
- You learn to trust the instructor, Adriene
- I enjoy doing slow movement
- I learned to appreciate every little new stretch I felt in my body
- It is a good foundation for a healthy habit
- Practice is different every day
- To achieve calmness you need a dedicated routine
I recommend Yoga with Adriene True if you are looking for a yoga routine to start your yoga journey or to get into it after a break. Nevertheless, if you are an advanced yogi this might be too basic for you.
As I mentioned above, I journaled through the whole experience. It was nothing fancy, I just wrote down what I was feeling after the practice.
If you decide to partake in this challenge I advise you to do the same. That way, you will get the most out of each practice and have something to go back to after you complete the 30-day challenge.
Here are my notes with my true feelings, so please be kind. Hope they will help you decide if Yoga with Adriene True is for you.
Day 1: Motive
A good introduction to the challenge. Slow practice, easy to follow. Long breaths. We focused on the motive why we are doing it. Would love for it to last longer.
Day 2: Trust
Really slow moves. Relaxing. I felt trust all the way. Long breaths. This really suited me after a long hard day at work.
Day 3: Stretch
My muscles ached from the day before (I also did an extra yoga lesson yesterday) so this stretch was very welcome. I need to remember to blow my nose before the practice because it really annoys me when I’m not able to breathe through one nostril (I have allergies).
Day 4: Floor
Really strong practice. I have come to enjoy doing slow movements and appreciating every little new stretch I feel in my body. Today we did a kind of Earth massages, i.e. really slow hip bridges thus massaging our spine by doing them. I really appreciate this process and am looking forward to the next day.
Day 5: High
Today’s focus of the practice was on the exhale. Our goal was to prolong the exhale and make it longer than the inhale. I expected it to be more of practice standing up since yesterday the whole practice was on the floor, but it just started from the floor and continued to expand towards standing up. After the practice, I stayed a bit longer on my mat to work on my Ujjayi breath.
Day 6: Kindle
Day six as six abs! The focus was on the core to kindle the fire inside of us. The practice contained a lot of variations of planks and my left wrist was hurting. I need to pay attention to my core more during planks. On this day, I was thinking of doing an ab workout after Yoga with Adriene True, but it seems that Adriene read my mind! I was granted my wish to focus on the abs. Loved it.
Day 7: Salud
Today we cheered to our relationship with ourselves. We did variations of sun salutations throughout the practice. I had a hard time focussing today; I had a lot on my mind. However, I’m happy that I invested this time into a self-care routine.
Day 8: Salve
Restorative type of class. I really needed this, because my body felt tense and sore from the previous workouts. Today, I learned what salve means. This practice makes you take some time in your day just for yourself and you shouldn’t feel guilty because of it. I was able to connect to my breath even though my downstairs neighbors had really loud renovation work.
Day 9: Open
Working on opening the chest. Open for new challenges and possibilities. I really needed this because we just started to plan our wedding and it’s already stressful. Also, I have an important interview tomorrow. Today was the first day I almost didn’t make it to the practice; I also have a yoga practice after this.
Day 10: Detox
Today was the day I learned what sternum is. Adriene kept on using that word so I had to look it up. It is a long bone located in the central part of the chest. Good to know. I am starting to lose my focus, will try to do better tomorrow.
Day 11: Soften
Really relaxing practice and shorter than the other ones. Needed it after a long week.
Day 12: Centre
As the title suggests, today was all about the center of gravity, i.e. our core. It was a practice to activate our core. I felt really light today since me and my fiance were doing a juice cleanse that day and I was really able to feel the strength of my core. On other days I just feel my smushy belly.
Day 13: Strength & Harmony
Loved it! Finally a bit more challenging practice. This one is perfect to tighten those muscles!
Day 14: Listen
It was a really gentle practice focused on listening to our breathing and our surroundings. Great for Sunday evening!
Day 15: Believe
Managed to get halfway through this journey! I am really proud of myself, even though I took a little break last week. This was a short but sweet practice perfect for a Monday.
Day 16: Self-love
I cried during this session, really emotional. Hard to cope with, especially if you had a bad day.
Day 17: Charisma
It was again a very emotional practice for me. There was a part towards the end that focuses on us going back to being babies and I just bawled my eyes out in that part. This journey is starting to get really intense and self-discovery.
Day 18: Surrender
Short practice, but really good. Challenging at times which I really loved.
Day 19: Thought
The whole practice was standing up. I loved that difference! I felt really calm and focused today.
Day 20: Awaken
Good to do in the morning. Restorative practice to awaken the spine.
Day 21: Finesse
This day was all about grace and finesse in movement. The focus was on the way we move our bodies in asanas. It is always fun to pay attention to details in movement that I never do otherwise.
Day 22: Release
This yoga practice is to release all the negative feelings and tension we have accumulated. I think it is a great one to do independently of this 30-day challenge. If you need to release the tension definitely try it even if you decide not to partake in this challenge.
Day 23: Balance
Nice, short, not too challenging practice. Challenges the idea of balance, but doesn’t refer too much to your emotions like the other days.
Day 24: Be kind
Restorative practice. Came at an excellent moment, when my body was extremely sore. Meditative practice.
Day 25: Be aware
As a continuation of day 24’s practice, Adriene continued with the slow and attentive practice. It was not too challenging but perfect as just a part of daily exercise.
Day 26: Be still
As we slowly come to the end of the challenge it becomes easier for me to do everything. I feel lighter and more flexible than usual. Today was all about spending a long time in one pose and practicing being still. It is more challenging than it sounds! I caught myself fiddling with my hands or head instead of focusing completely on being still.
Day 27: Be free
It is noticeable that the challenge is approaching the end, especially from day 25. The asanas which were practiced in the previous days are now combined in the flows. Since Adriene assumes that those asanas or positions are learned, she combines them in the flows. She invites us through this practice to be free in the flows and explore our way of moving.
Day 28: Be fearless
Play with the new and old asanas. Great to dip your feet into more challenging poses. Adriene invites us to let go of our fears.
Day 29: Be brave
More balanced and easier practice than the day before. Really worked on the strengthening of poses we did before. Everything was connected into a flow which I really liked. One of my favorite practices so far. Getting really sad that it ends tomorrow.
Day 30: Be you
Practice without audio guidance. You have to listen to yourself, listen to your body, and be true. No escape. Everything we did was building up to this moment.
What do you think of Yoga with Adriene True Challenge? Will you try it?