30 Days of Yoga sounded pretty manageable at first, especially for someone like me who was already practicing 4-5 times a week. I figured I’d have few days of sore muscles and a few days where I struggled to find the motivation to go but I was up for the challenge!
Little did I know what I had gotten myself into…
The month of yoga taught me more that I could have ever expected. The goal was 30 days straight of yoga but as long as I completed 30 classes in 30 days it would be considered complete.
So what did I learn in the 30 days?
1. Listen to your body – it knows you best
Some days everything hurts. Other days you have enough energy that you feel like you could conquer the world! Each day calls for a different practice. Personally, I prefer vinyasa flow classes and power classes as I find it easier to reach my state of calmness through the intense physical activity. However, I grew to appreciate the benefits of yin yoga and meditation. There were days during the challenge that I knew my body wouldn’t be able to handle a physical class so I instead attended a yin or mediation class. It was there that I was able come to appreciate the different styles of practice and that each yoga style deserves to be a part of your regular practice routine.
2. Yoga is just as mentally challenging as it is physically
Whether it was the mental challenge of convincing myself to go to yoga or to remain present during class, I was challenged mentally throughout the 30 days and I wasn’t expecting it! I was prepared for the physical challenges but the mental aspect was surprising. It forced me to evaluate my thoughts and to recognize where and how I was struggling each day. Thankfully, I had the support of my roommate to give me the extra push to go when I needed it (and I did the same for her!).
3. Be kind to yourself
Some days your balance is perfect, other days you can barely stand up straight with both feet on the ground. This is a great lesson to learn because it applies both on and off your yoga mat. When things go well, celebrate. When things challenge you, work to improve instead of letting it hold you back. Some days of the challenge I had to recognize my limitations and remind myself that being there and trying was more important than holding the pose.
4. If it feels like work, chances are you won’t want to do it
Adding pressure to something you enjoy can take the enjoyment out of it. Some days I found myself dreading the need to go to yoga after work. The pressure of knowing I had to go impacted my outlook on yoga. I realized I enjoyed yoga much more when it was a choice to go rather than a requirement. I knew I would need to continue to find the desire to practice every day or risk losing interest all together. Thankfully, I now have a better understanding of my yoga practice and why I practice so I use that as my inspiration to continue to practice.
5. Remember why you started
For me, yoga is my ‘me time’. I can escape reality while I’m on my mat. I may not yet be able to completely turn off my mind (and I think I may always make ‘to-do’ lists in my head during savasana!) but the moments where I lose myself in the flow are what I treasure the most from my practice. Recognizing the positive impact yoga has on me has deepened my interest in yoga and will continue to be my inspiration for continuing my practice.
I hope this post won’t scare you away from a 30 day yoga challenge but rather inspire you to take the opportunity to learn more about yourself through a daily practice! Although I don’t plan on completing another challenge any time soon, I know that I will use what I’ve learnt through this challenge to continue to improve not only my practice but also my daily life.