30-Day Challenge - March 2022
For the month of March, I wanted to move away from cleaning and get into my body with a month of flexibility training.
March 30 day challenge (hip opening) an unequivocal success
Over the last 9 months during my grad school program, I've been sitting a lot more than I'm used to from the past. That's caused a number of (undesirable) changes in my body, and one of the more notable ones was tightness in my hips cascading down to my knees, ankles, and feet.
Stretching has been on my daily tracker since the beginning of the year and getting more flexible is one of my 2022 aspirations. I don't typically enjoy stretching - I usually find it discouraging and painful - so I knew some structure support would be helpful on this front.
In my first-ever caving to targeted Instagram ads, I stumbled on Lucas Rockwood, the founder of Yogabody, and his 21-day hip opening challenge. Technically, this isn't a 30-day challenge but close enough.
The challenge consists of 15 minutes of guided stretching with long, passive holds and a specific breathing technique. The long holds are long - typically 3-5 minutes for each position. That means each daily video has 3 or 4 positions. And though out the video Lucas explains what we're doing and why.
It took me 26 days to complete the challenge and I was very pleasantly surprised by the shift I felt in my hip flexibility. I also experience less background discomfort in a knee and an ankle that have been troubling me from past injuries.
Also fascinating is that I genuinely enjoyed stretching in the long hold, passive tension format. It was simultaneously more gentle and more productive than any other stretching I've done in the past.
The only thing I wish I knew before starting this series is that this type of stretching loosens your body in a way that makes it more prone to injury. Lucas recommends (too late in the series, in my opinion) only doing these stretches after a workout or before going to bed.
Perhaps the most telling metric of success is that, a day after I finished the series, I started it afresh (we get the videos to keep forever more). Looking forward to seeing the progress on subsequent iterations.
April 2022 challenge = hungry -> full with low-allergy eating
For April, I want to focus on "spring cleaning" my microbiome. I've been noticing some body experiences that are unfortunately reminiscent of my bout with small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) and part of that likely relates to some recent slides on how much and what I consume.
Specifically, for the month of April I'm going to push myself to remove
- sweeteners - mostly honey & maple in my world because I already cut out other processed sugars
- nut butters - my go to sweet treat, especially with a spoon full of honey
I'll transition to more salads and cooked leafy greens and veggies with eggs as I know those tend to do relatively well in my body. I'll also wait to eat until I feel hungry and stop eating after my second full sigh.
I've got a lot of stories and entrenched behaviors around food, so this will be a valuable exercise for me to release and reboot to the best of my ability.