30 Days of Yoga Challenge

In the month of June, I challenged myself to do 30 days of yoga. My guideline were to get on my mat each day for a minimum of 30 minutes. On the days I could make it to studio classes, I was able to fit in 60-90 minutes, but some days it was a struggle to complete 30 minutes. I completed 29/30 days. Day 23 was lost to sleeping in and not planning out my day very well. 

I created this challenge for myself because was in need of more self-discipline and connection back to my yoga practice. My practice has ebbed and flowed, just as everything else in life. I started yoga for physical concerns and approached it with the same goal-oriented mindset I did everything else at that space in my life. I wanted to get "good" and "look good." Yoga took on a whole new meaning after my father was murdered. Yoga became my main modality of healing and meditation, slow, home yin practices combined with journaling and beginners classes were what I needed and what I have mostly been doing the past few years. Although I will stay accountable to my healing, I am not in need of a slow, nourishing practice, that served me for a time and now it's over. I need to stoke my inner fire and bring mindful discomfort back to my practice to focus on growth. 

I learned that if I REALLY plan and create an intention I will fit yoga into my everyday life. It may not be a studio practice each time but I can do SOMETHING. I was really able to work on my home practice. This was true struggle for me. I had to be OK with it not being "perfect." I have tons of excuses why I cannot practice at home. "It's too cold, too loud, there are too many interruptions." All of that is true, but my mantra became, "just do it."

My self-talk sounded like: "Do yin poses while watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. Do sun salutations even if your husband keeps asking you questions and your step-son is walking back and forth complaining about chores. Roll out your mat and do a quick flow even if they are dishes to be washed, emails to respond to and laundry to fold. Just do it. "

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I was fortunate enough to visit other studios when I took small trips and remember what it is like to be a new student. I took a 4 week, Foundations of Iyengar yoga class with Amy Brown of Divine Yoga Studio. I loved the discipline, re-connection with form and approaching poses from a fresh perspective with propping and support.

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I remembered that yoga is oh, so good for my body. Throughout the 30 days, I ran a half-marathon and did a 2 day backpacking trip. My commitment to practice helped me in prepping and recovering from these physical challenges.

My most important take away is that I can, in fact, fit my practice into my daily, busy life. It does not always have to look like driving to a studio and taking a class, it can be making time and space for myself at home, even amongst interruptions. It can be going to bed just a little earlier and doing some gentle yin poses before sleeping. I can still practice. I also remembered that teaching a class is NOT the same as practicing. I sometimes convince myself that because I taught a class, I did yoga for the day. NOPE. When I do that, the practice becomes about me and not my students and I am not allowing myself all the benefits of what a practice could be, if I just focused on my own breath and body.

In the month of June, I taught 13 group yoga classes...and still I practiced.

I taught a yoga workshop in person, and two workshops online...and still I practiced.

I ran a half-marathon & did a 2 day backpacking trip...and still I practiced.

I took a short, getaway trip...and still I practiced.

I stayed in a hotel for 3 days for a work conference...and still I practiced.

I hope this challenge and post can serve as a reminder to me and inspire you. We can fit yoga into our day when we intend to. I am realizing, I don't have the time to NOT practice. It improves my focus, my productivity and headspace to approach my day from a renewed perspective and place of alignment.