Saturday, March 14, 2015

Conquer A 30 Day Yoga Challenge

For runners there are races. In competitive sports there are playoffs. But what about the world of yoga? I would argue that the yogis’ equivalent is the 30 days yoga challenge.

This past month I completed this feat of 30 consecutive days of yoga classes. I had heard several people reference the 30 days yoga challenge on my Facebook, and while I do yoga regularly, the idea of committing to doing it every single day seemed daunting. I never thought I would be able to do it; with time commitments, or just being too tired or sore from yoga or my other workouts the day before. But last month I decided to give it my best effort. I made the commitment and harnessed my willpower. One week turned into 2 weeks, 2 into 3, and before I knew it I had completed 30 days. It was an amazing, inspiring experience.  Some days were really tough, but I’m glad I made the commitment and stuck to it! 

So why should you do it? For starters, it gives us yogis a tangible goal and challenge to work towards beyond our regular practice. It’s a challenge that you have to put time and energy into, which brings with it a great sense of accomplishment and empowerment. I find setting goals and completing them spills over into other areas of life because it give me confidence that I can do other difficult or intimidating things as well. But beyond this sense of accomplishment, the wonderful thing about yoga is the subtle shifts that come along with having a daily mind body practice.  You are bound to notice shifts in your energy, your mood, your awareness and being in-tune with your body.

I hope you consider doing the 30 day yoga challenge and here are some of my tips for completing it:

Don’t be Afraid to Do It Alone
I had the misconception that I was supposed to do a 30 day challenge in conjunction with a certain studio or group.  While I think this is great if you have a good community you want to do it, it’s absolutely not necessary.  I just did it on my own as a personal practice and that worked out wonderfully for me.

Schedule Your Yoga Practices Out For the Week
At the beginning of each week, plan out all the yoga classes for the next week that you plan to attend and block off those times in your schedule.  That way you aren’t scrambling last minute to try and fit in some yoga. You have a plan and have committed to it, which makes it easier to stick with it.

Modify In Class
30 days in a row means some days you will be sore, you will be tired.  Honor your body and take breaks on the mat.  Many days it’s a challenge in itself just showing up each day and being present, and trying your best.  But it’s not about doing each pose perfectly and or in the most difficult variation.  As the saying goes, “it’s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect”. Sometimes the hardest part is listening to your body and easing off, if that’s what it calls for.

Take Hydration to the Next Level
Staying hydrated is important in any situation but this is especially true with new fitness routines and yoga, which tends to be detoxifying for the body.  Instead of drinking just plain water, amp it up to truly get your electrolytes back in balance. Add a dash of salt, a lemon or other fruit wedge, or add a sprig of your favorite herb and some stevia for even more fun!

Have a Back Up Yoga Plan
For me personally, I prefer to be lead in a yoga class outside of my home, but sometimes with life it was hard to match up your schedule with a class.  I had a Seane Corn class downloaded and ready on my laptop and did a guided practice with her one day. That way I was prepared and didn’t fall off the ship even though I couldn’t get to a live class.

Think About Diet Shifts
As you start to dedicate more time to your mind and body connection and paying attention to your body, notice how your diet effects how you feel. Are there little shifts that you should start to make to feel even better, such as more vegetables, or less sugar, or more healthy protein or fat sources?  Use your daily time practicing yoga to get in touch with you body and really explore what it may need.

Good luck and let me know how the 30 day challenge goes for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment