Why did I choose Yoga as my Learning Project? What are my goals and how will I know when I have achieved them?
It is not about vanity. The purpose of increasing my activity is to improve my energy, focus and positivity so I can be more effective in every aspect of my life. I will not be measuring weight lost, inches lost, or even gains in muscle tone, although those would be a welcome bonus.
Life is busy. I have two kids and a husband who depend on me. As my kids get older I find that more time is spent running them around to activities. I have a job which requires a lot of emotional, mental and physical energy and many personal hours of work at home. Adding in classes means there is really no free time and I must be highly organized. All of these aspects of my life are conscious choices that I strive to excel at. In order to be most effective, I need to stay healthy. Stephen Covey’s Seventh Habit of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to sharpen the saw. (I am a big fan of Stephen Covey’s work).
I find that I am often tired and have little desire to exercise. My hope is that a short session of gentle yoga will not seem too daunting and will be easier to commit to than some other forms of exercise. I also did not want to have to purchase a gym membership that I knew would just go to waste. I prefer to exercise at home. Yoga is something that is easy to do from home. There are many YouTube videos to learn from as well (see below).
I believe self-care is a huge problem in our society, especially for working parents. Hopefully others can benefit from my experiences.
The history of yoga has always intrigued me as well. I see this as an opportunity to learn more about this topic as well.
How will I measure my success?
Every great teacher knows that a well-made rubric is an excellent way to measure growth. So I decided to create a rubric to clarify what it is that I wanted to improve (see below). I will complete the rubric every Saturday to evaluate my week and note whether there is progress. Although I will also include running and walking on my treadmill as part of my exercise routine, the rubric will focus on the number of weekly yoga sessions I complete. I decided I would also keep a personal journal on Google Docs to reflect on how I feel and any my thoughts about my yoga practice as I go. I hope to fit in at least three sessions each week.
Rubric to Measure Effects of Regular Exercise on Mental Focus, Energy & Positivity
(And Time Management)
|– had difficulty focusing on tasks all week
||– had difficulty focusing on tasks sometimes
||– had difficulty focusing on tasks occasionally
||– able to focus on mental tasks any time of day
||– felt tired all week
– unable to complete many necessary tasks this week
|– felt tired 2 or more days this week
– unable to complete some of the tasks this week
|– felt tired 1 day this week
– able to complete most of the tasks in my week
|– felt energetic throughout the week
– able to complete all of the tasks in my week easily
|Positivity & Stress Management
||– had many negative thoughts and emotions
– felt anxious, worried or stressed much of the time
|– had some negative thoughts and emotions occassionally
– felt anxious, worried or stressed some of the time
|– had positive thoughts and emotions most of the week
– felt calm and confident most of the week
|– had positive thoughts and emotions almost all week
– felt calm and confident almost all week
What did I look for in a YouTube Yoga video?
I decided to use YouTube videos to guide my yoga practice. Luckily, I have a Smart TV in my basement for this purpose. I searched YouTube for Yoga for Energy. Of course, there were over 1 000 000 results!
My personal criteria for a yoga video consists of five parts. First, there must be relaxing music. Secondly the challenge needs to be just right for me. Next, the instructor must have a voice that is easy to listen to and explain the movements in a clear, easy to follow manner. Also I look for differing variations on the poses, so that I will have options for those days when I am feeling more lethargic, more energetic or more flexible than usual. Lastly, the pacing should be just right – not slow and boring, but not too fast either.
Fortunately, the second video I previewed met all these criteria. Yoga for Better Energy with Jason Crandell is the current choice. Of course, if I tire of this one, there is certainly not a lack of other options!
I think this is a great start to my project! After three yoga sessions in eight days I am already feeling more energetic! I gave myself a 3 in Mental Focus, a 2 in Energy level and a 2 in Positivity on my rubric for the first week.
Stay tuned to see if I can fit in my three sessions of Yoga for Energy, and whether or not it indeed increases my energy for the week.