What happens if you do yoga every day? I am excited to present my one-year yoga transformation 2023 update. In this blog post, I will delve into the incredible progress achieved through dedicated practice, highlighting the transformative power of yoga. Whether you are a seasoned yogi seeking inspiration or someone new to the practice, this update will provide valuable insights and motivation for your own yoga journey. So, let’s embark on this transformative exploration together as we delve into the impactful changes experienced over the past year.
One-Year Yoga Transformation Summary of 2023
I started yoga at the age of 44 (you can read more about my beginnings and see my very first before pictures in my 2022 1-Year Yoga Transformation). This past year is almost my third year of doing yoga consistently, but keep in mind that I started at the beginning of 2021. Technically, at the end of 2021, I would have been doing yoga for 10 months. I didn’t do a progress update during that first year.
What My Yoga Routine Looks Like
I imagine you would want to know how much I practice yoga to experience these yoga transformations. During my first year and a half, I would stretch for 15-30 minutes and do strengthening yoga routines for about 15 minutes most days. I like to do strength exercises in the morning and stretch in the evening. For the first two years, I found sustaining any routine over 30 minutes hard.
Over the last year, I mostly stuck to the same pattern. Towards the end of the year, I achieved most of my flexibility goals (including the middle splits and more shoulder and side body flexibility). so I started doing more frequent 1-hour yoga flows in the morning and nothing in the evening. I find that these yoga flows help increase my stamina while maintaining my strength and flexibility. However, I would say that overall, my focus was still to do yoga with a specific goal in mind, and here’s what my training routine looked like in 2023:
- Day 1 Backbends
- Day 2: Core Strength
- Day 3: Backbends
- Day 4: Core Strenght
- Day 5: Backbends
- Day 6: Active Splits Flexibility
Evening were mostly just middle splits and some side body flexibility; sometimes, I tried new routines that didn’t relate to my flexibility goals.
My Greatest Yoga Improvements in 2023
One thing you will notice over the course of your yoga practice is that your flexibility improvements will slow down the more flexible you get. In other words, as you reach your milestones, it will become harder and harder to experience visible flexibility improvements. However, you will start feeling them in your body. You often hear that yoga isn’t about what the pose looks like but what it feels like. This certainly holds truth the further you advance in your practice.
Regardless, I still noticed some visible flexibility improvements this year.
My most notable flexibility improvement is the middle splits. I started working on my middle splits around the same time as I did my front splits (in 2021). I wasn’t consistent with the middle splits over the first year because I focused on the front splits. Once I dedicated myself to the middle splits in 2022, achieving them finally took about 10 months.
Here are the main flexibility routines that helped me get my middle splits:
- 6 Most Effective Side Splits Stretches (Plus Follow Along Routine): This is one of the routines I used when I first started working on the middle splits. It is included as an alternate routine in my Full-Body Flexibility Transformation Program.
- 5 Efficient Stretches for the Middle Splits (With Proven Tips): We hold the stretches for longer than my usual 1-2 minutes in this routine. I figured I needed longer holds since the middle splits were so hard to achieve.
- Inner Hip Opening Yoga to Release Your Tight Hips: This one worked best as I got closer to getting my middle splits when I stopped progressing with the second routine. We work on the pancake a lot in this routine, too, and I think it helps as it is close to the middle splits.
Other routines you may enjoy for hip opening:
- Inner Hip Opening Yoga to Release Your Tight Hips
- Skandasana Progression: Hip Opening for the Side Lunge
- Yoga for Hip Strength and Flexibility (2 Video Routines)
- How to Increase Hip Mobility: Try These Drills!
Also, if you are curious about my Full-Body Flexibility Transformation Program, learn more here:
Another flexibility accomplishment this year is my wheel pose. Yes, I had a decent wheel pose last year, but I think we can see a visible improvement this year.
I worked on shoulder and back flexibility throughout the year to get my King Pigeon.
Unfortunately, my King Pigeon isn’t much better.
I have to say, even though my King Pigeon hasn’t improved much visibly, it feels different. I used to feel it mostly in my lower back. I feel it in my hip flexor and my shoulders, keeping my legs active. I can open my heart better in this posture. I think we can see that in the picture, too.
Furthermore, I can rotate into wheel pose (check out my tutorial):
And walk down the wall into wheel pose:
Here are some backbending routines that have helped me:
- Benefits of the Wheel Pose in Yoga and How to Get Started
- How to Stretch for Back Flexibility (Follow Along Routine)
- How to Get Better at Backbends With Full Yoga Routine
Strength and Balance
Yoga is excellent for building strength and balance without even trying because you will practice your balance and strength as you move through the many poses in your vinyasa flows.
Standing Splits, Half Moon, and Sugarcane Pose
My standing splits are much stronger now, and I can hold my ankle instead of placing my hands on the mat. Moreover, I have a much more reliable half-moon pose (I used to fall in half-moon and sugarcane poses)
At the beginning of the year, one of my goals was to achieve a strong Yoga Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana) Vinyasa Flow. Honestly, I thought it would take me a very long time, but no, it was just regular weekly practice for a few weeks.
Lastly, my arm balances drastically improved as I gained strength and confidence. I created a crow pose tutorial (Step-By-Step Crow Pose Progression for Beginners) for those of you who want to get started with arm balances.
The mindfulness aspect of yoga is taking me a long time to integrate. For most of my life, working out was just about getting those reps done, even if it meant tuning out the sensations in my body. Yoga not only requires practice to move mindfully, but it can also be highly demanding. I can still take it in only small doses.
As a newbie, I focused on increasing my core strength and flexibility so that I could follow along most flows. Gradually, I started perfecting my alignment and noticing the sensations in my body. Some days, I can follow a 1-hour flow and feel amazing. Some days, I must cut it short because it’s just too much!
2023 One-Year Yoga Transformation Video
Over the past year, I’ve embarked on an incredible adventure – a journey of mind, body, and soul. I’ve undergone a profound transformation through dedication, discipline, and the ancient practice of yoga. In this video, I’ll share with you my one-year yoga transformation, the challenges I’ve overcome, the milestones I’ve reached, and the incredible impact it has had on my life. Join me as we explore the power of yoga, self-care, and the beauty of personal growth. Let’s begin.
Tips and Advice
Ready to get started? Here are some of my best tips.
1- Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
I hate those ads I keep seeing online that feature a before picture of someone who is not even close to doing the splits, and the after picture is supposed to be only 30 days later with full splits! Reaching your goals will take time, but it is worth it and, oh, so very rewarding!
Many of us will find it easier to stay motivated if we pick a specific and measurable goal. That’s why the training schedules in my programs always focus on a specific goal. When you can see your progress, you want to keep going. I usually recommend flexibility and core strength as your two first goals. Once you have substantial flexibility and core strength, you will notice that you experience your practice differently. You will then start enjoying more the mindfulness and the fine-tuning that comes with long vinyasa flows.
2- Stay Consistent
I encourage newbies to plan for only 15-30 minutes daily but almost every day (at least 6 days a week). This is the best approach to developing a habit and becoming consistent with your yoga practice. Shorter routines but more frequent over long but less frequent.
Want more help staying consistent? Consider joining my 5-Day Yoga Habit Challenge. You will get daily 5-minute yoga routines plus mini-coaching sessions to keep up with your habits.
3- Explore Different Yoga Styles and Practices
When I first tried yoga years ago, I decided it was boring. I am not a big fan of repeating Sun Salutations or working slowly through mindful movements (well, I am starting to enjoy that more now, but I do want a challenge as I move through the poses). I didn’t realize that there are tons of different styles of yoga (almost as many as there are instructors).
Now, I realize that the abundance of videos online can be overwhelming, and finding the right style for you can be a challenge in itself. Keep an open mind. Try different instructors and stick with what works.
By doing yoga every day for a year, you can experience the incredible power of yoga. Yoga helps you transform not only your body but also your entire life. Through its practice, you will discover a deeper connection to your inner world and cultivate mindfulness. It is truly a life-changing journey that everyone should embark upon. If you’re ready to experience the transformative power of yoga, I invite you to join my 5-day yoga habit challenge. Start your own journey towards a healthier body and a more balanced life today.