17/10/2016 08:16 BST | Updated 17/10/2017 06:12 BST

Five Things I Didn't Expect When I Started Practising Yoga, A Beginner's Perspective

I have always been the kind of person who talked about starting a regular yoga practise, there is something about the typical yogi stereotype of being flexible, lean and totally void of any stress which keeps drawing me to the idea. However each time I gathered the momentum to actually start I would only get as far as going to one class then losing motivation to go back for another six months to repeat the same cycle.

I finally asked myself why I kept falling back into this habit and decided it was probably because I actually wasn't very good at yoga, I found it really difficult and in turn I was always coming up with excuses. When I considered it from this point of view the solution was obvious, practise makes perfect, so maybe if I actually got good at it I would start to enjoy the practise. To really settle this once and for all I decided to do a 30 day yoga challenge at home and to my surprise I discovered more than the typical results I had anticipated. So in hope of motivating someone else in my shoes, here is my list of 5 things I didn't expect to see when I started practising yoga.

1. 20 minutes a day is enough to see results

Every yoga session I had ever done before was always between 60 to 90minutes. This became one of my go-to excuses for not practising, first of all who has the time for this every day and secondly as a beginner I would get really bored during these long sessions. So this time round I decided that I would only practise 20-30 minutes a day because hey it's better that not at all. And guess what, it was. Twenty minutes a day was enough to really start seeing results and actually improve my form.

2. Waking up better

I had heard that practising yoga helps you sleep better at night, and from my experience doing a yoga class once or twice a year I agreed that was true, however I didn't expect to see a difference in the mornings. After a week of practising 20 minute sessions a day I found that I felt better waking up too. I felt like I was standing taller, feeling more energized and alert before my morning coffee fix.

3. My digestive health improved

I really started to notice a difference in my gut health. Not something we always like to talk about, but our daily bathroom routine is so important to our overall health and energy levels. Not only was I feeling regular, but my appetite had stabilised as well. Unlike other forms of exercise which would leave me ravenously hungry afterwards, I found that yoga had settled my hunger levels and so instead of impulsively running towards the pantry I could take my time and make better food decisions.

4. Feeling smug

After making it though the first week, and then the first month, I was really starting to feel proud of what I had accomplished and of the good habits I had created. I felt a little victory and happiness within myself that I was actually en route to improving my physical and mental health.

5. It is still difficult to get motivated

Last of all, contrary to what I had heard, I don't think it has become any easier to find motivation to get on the mat. Maybe this is only something that comes with months or years of practise, but I still don't jump out of bed to get started. There is still definitely a sense of dragging myself to the mat every time even after all the great things I have spoken about. But the difference is that now the little protest I put up is getting weaker and whilst I don't always feel better during practise, I know I will feel infinitely better afterwards.

Read more from Dolly at her site