My Favorite At-home Yoga Practice:

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We’ve all had those days where we get home from work, collapse on the couch, and don’t want to get up again. I’m particularly bad for doing this for extended periods of time while I mindlessly scroll on my phone. In fact, I’ve been known to pass entire evenings this way. As you can imagine, when I finally get up, my body feels stiff and sore and mentally I feel yucky.

Knowing how bad it makes me feel to lay inert on the couch all night, I force myself to get up, change into my workout gear (cute workout gear helps!), and head downstairs for a yoga session. As I enter the room, I feel myself start to relax. I acknowledge that I made the right choice and I know that when I finish my yoga practice, I will feel better mentally and physically. This is what keeps me going back to it day after day.

Prior to the last couple of years, I used to scoff at people who did yoga. It just seemed for some reason like a snobbish past-time. Talk about judgmental! In reality, I knew nothing about yoga but resisted getting into it because of all the hoopla surrounding it. Yes, I’m that petty.

Fast forward a few years to when I was desperate for some mental peace. I’m not sure how I even thought about starting yoga. Probably I was venting to friends about my stress levels and someone recommended it as an option. At the time, I wasn’t ready to go to an actual studio to practice with others (this was pre-COVID but I’m a bit of a social recluse anyway). So I decided to find some videos online and start practicing from the comfort and privacy of my home. I have a smart TV so I can watch directly on my TV via YouTube, but obviously, you could use your laptop or Ipad to access the videos.  

I don’t even remember how I found Yoga with Adrienne (YWA), but regardless I’m so glad I found her specifically. I think she would have been an amazing social worker. She makes everyone feel included (as much as you can through a TV screen!) and always has words of positivity and inspiration. She celebrates all bodies and encourages everyone to practice at their own pace. Her catchphrase “Find What Feels Good” makes so much sense as you practice, knowing that everyone’s body is different. What feels good or right for one person might not work for the next. And that’s okay.

So I appreciate her vibe. Plus she practices yoga with her dog, Benji. What could be cuter?! Sometimes I choose the videos based only on which ones Benji’s in.

Her videos are free. Because she believes the world would be a better place if everyone did more yoga… it’s hard to argue with that. You can subscribe to her channel and access all of her newest videos. She also has a 30-day yoga challenge where you can access a new video every day and practice with her for 30 consecutive days. I’ve not done it, but I imagine it would be a cool thing to do.

So when I finally decided to jump on the yoga bandwagon a few years ago, I started out with restorative yoga, which is mostly guided meditations, breathing exercises, and gentle stretches. In fact, for the first year, I think I only did restorative. I really needed to deactivate my nervous system after years and years of excessive stress. I didn’t realize how dysregulated I really was until I started practicing yoga on a regular basis.

After I felt I was in a better place mentally, I switched to more of the workout and physical activity yoga videos (hello down dog and plank!). I love the variety that YWA offers. She has yoga for everything and everyone (yoga for beginners, yoga for runners, yoga for anxiety, forgiveness, back pain, texting neck, moon practice, etc).

What I love the most is how I feel after I practice yoga. I feel mentally more at peace, more resilient, more able to deal with life and its curve balls. It has helped me live in the present moment which is so beneficial for dealing with anxiety. It has helped me find a path towards healthier coping skills. And it sounds weird, but listening to Adrienne talk about all of our challenges as collective humans has helped me feel more connected to others. She’s good at infusing humor into her videos, as well as sprinkling in wise advice that really resonates with me.

So, she’s my go-to yoga gal. My life has changed for the better since I started practicing yoga. As a social worker, I also like that the practice of yoga ties into mindfulness, which is one of the primary components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Maybe that’s why so many social workers become yoga teachers. It makes so much sense to me.

Have I convinced you to start yoga yet?!…. FYI I don’t get any commissions for recruiting others to the practice. I just know how much it has helped me personally and I’m confident it can help so many others who are willing to give it a try.

If yoga’s just not your thing, though, that’s okay. You can practice mindfulness in other ways, such as through grounding exercises, meditation, and mindful walks, and the end result can be the same: increased mental peace and clarity, and decreased anxiety.

Amber Fortowsky RSW, BSW

Amber has been a practicing social worker in Saskatoon since 2008. She has worked in the non-profit sector as well as with the Saskatchewan Health Authority in various roles. She also spent several years working in the area of Mental Health and Addictions.

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