I impulsively agreed to try yoga for 30 days – here's what I learned

March 29, 2023

For years, I’ve thought of yoga in extremes.

On one extreme was the yoga I experienced in high school gym class – a whole lot of sitting, legs crossed and eyes closed, stretching my patience more than my muscles.

On the other extreme was the yoga I saw my friends doing in college – the poses so advanced that even Gumby would snap.

So when I impulsively agreed to try a 30-day yoga program for this blog, I was more than a little wary. As a guy that can’t sit still for more than ten seconds, and who can pull a muscle just by thinking about it, I was not expecting this to end well.

A happy medium

After a month of yoga, I learned that it can be fun and challenging – and you don’t have to be a contortionist to participate.

In the past few years, home yoga has blown up online. Finding yogis on YouTube is a breeze, as long as you ignore the videos with the cartoon bear (I followed two of his “lessons” but now I'm the “neighbour that steals picnic baskets”).

And while beginner lessons might sound a bit simplistic, especially if you’re already active, I learned quickly that “simple” doesn’t mean “easy.”

Even a basic pose like downward-facing dog involves planking when transitioning in and out – and all that planking quickly adds up.

I knew yoga was more strenuous than it gets credit for, but the amount of strength needed for some of these beginner poses still surprised me. I do strength training a few times a week and jog semi-regularly, but I had to take a break at points – and we hadn’t even gotten into the tough stuff!

Seeing the benefits

As I worked my way through each lesson, I started to get a better sense of yoga’s appeal.  

I’ve always rushed my way through core exercises just to get them over with. But following along with an instructor forced me to slow things down, breathe and move more purposefully.

As someone who mostly exercises alone, it was more helpful than I realized to have a workout partner to hold you accountable – even if that partner is a pre-recorded video. I started to keep the videos in the back of my mind even when I was doing my regular workouts. The idea of moving with purpose is especially helpful when strength training.

And as the weeks passed, I noticed my core strength begin to improve for the first time in a while. The dreaded plank pose was getting easier than ever, and I even started to add some push-ups to make things tougher.

I also noticed that yoga was helping me be more mindful and “in the moment.” I don’t have the patience for meditation, but through yoga, I was practicing mindfulness without even realizing.


I've been breathing for almost 30 years, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it.  

But after 30 days of yoga, I learned that I've barely scratched the surface of proper technique. With most of these poses still being new to me, coordinating specific movements while breathing slowly is quite challenging.

However, I'm better now than I was at the beginning. If you’ve ever heard a yoga instructor say, “Don’t forget to breathe!” and wonder who on Earth would forget, wonder no more!


Yoga’s often recommended as a great way to improve flexibility, and after 30 days, I can see why. While I don’t have an idea of how flexible I was before starting (I don’t typically touch my toes for fun), I feel like I still made progress.

I was flexible enough to do all the poses, apart from one that required holding an elbow in the crook of the opposite arm. I quickly convinced myself that this pose was just very advanced.

But when I described this pose to my wife, she instantly nailed it. And then I described this pose to a few coworkers, and they also nailed it. I have yet to describe this pose to my 92-year-old grandmother, but I’m not sure my ego could handle another blow of this magnitude.  


I tend to think of balance and strength as two different things – but yoga has taught me that they’re very much entwined.

As my core strength improved, so did my balance. I still audibly sighed when the instructor got on one leg, but that sigh got a bit quieter as the weeks went on.

After 30 days, I’m not yet ready to challenge the flamingos at the zoo – mostly because the bear exhibit gives me picnic basket-related flashbacks – but I'm noticeably better than I was.

Going forward

Overall, I definitely plan on continuing yoga – at least casually. If you’re even remotely interested, I highly suggest trying it out. It may be difficult at first, but if you stick with it, the benefits are worth it!

All photography by Jolaika Burton.

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