I did a 30 Day Yoga Challenge - Here's What I Learned
Despite my best intentions, daily yoga feels aspirational to me. My 9-5 tends to be 8-6, and somehow practicing falls to the bottom of my to-do list. For most people, this is real life - finding the balance between hustle and self care, work and home, want and need.
For me, balance comes from routine, structure, and clearly defined priorities. Truthfully, my life has not felt 'structured' since college (the glory days). I haven't been in the same space long enough to develop a routine. And therefore commitment to yoga has been a hit or miss.
This is problematic because when I'm not practicing, I'm not living my truth.
This may sound dramatic. 'Not living your truth? Really, Ellie? Just because you're not doing yoga everyday?'
Yep, dramatic or not, this is how I feel. Yoga keeps me grounded and in my body. Yoga is my primary form of self care. If I'm not on my mat everyday, I'm doing myself a disservice. I'm essentially assigning my needs as the lowest priority.
Further more, it is my responsibility to dictate the direction of my life. I design my days, I get to choose where all of my resources go. I talk and talk and TALK about how I want to be practicing, improving, learning - and my actions fall short.
Being the Type A, extremist that I am, I recommitted the only way I know how....a 30 Day Challenge. Here is what I learned :
I totally have time for yoga.
'I'm too busy' is the steadfast anthem of my life, yet I somehow managed 30 days of consecutive classes. In fact, I could have fit in 2 classes a day if I really wanted to.
'I'm too busy' was an excuse. The real reason I wasn't practicing is because I didn't make yoga a priority. I would schedule my life and hope that yoga would magically manifest into my jam packed days. That's how manifestation works, right?
Obviously, a new strategy was needed. During my 30 Day Challenge, I scheduled life around yoga classes.
Evening plans? That means class at 6am.
Need to get to work early? Class penciled in for 7:15pm.
Yes, this 100% involved personal sacrifices and staying committed even when it wasn't easy, but deciding that yoga is my nonnegotiable got it on the calendar.
I don't know what I don't know.
For years, my yoga practice has been at home. My personal practice has been pivotal in learning to listen to my body but ultimately, I'm limited by my own knowledge.
Going to class is essentially attending Yoga School. Every teacher has a different voice and message to bring to the table. Hands on adjustments, alignment cues, and advanced offerings take my practice to the next level. If I want to continuously surpass my boundaries, I need an experienced teacher.
Yoga is a Practice.
I'll be real with you, when I first got back into class I received a very real ego check. Basically, I was struggling to keep up. Not only was it physically challenging, but my inner critic was running around like a maniac.
Ellie, you should be able to do that pose.
Wow, you are easily one of the least advanced yogis in this room.
Why aren't you better at this?
AHHHHHHH IIIIIIII CAANNN'TTTTT SIT STILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
Some days were really hard. But everyday, I showed up anyway. I went to class even though it pushed me. And I got better and the voice got quieter.
Yoga is a practice; I'll never accomplish it. I'll never be able to check off that box. Its a continual flow, a constant process.
Have you ever completed a 30 Day Challenge? How was your experience? Let me know below!
Photo Credit : Dimvaloo