[dropcap]T[dropcap]hirty. No that is not how old I just turned because I know you all think I am really 25. 30 is the number of days in a row I have practiced yoga at a studio since my return from Italy. When we left for Italy I knew I wouldn’t be practicing yoga much. Actually, let me rephrase that. I wouldn’t PHYSICALLY be practicing yoga. Yoga is MUCH more than the physical postures (asanas). The postures are one aspect of the practice. The word yoga means “union” and this practice becomes a union of breath, body and mind. The postures are what enable us to quiet our mind and assist us in meditation.
In Western civilization the physical practice of yoga is the most common. Often referred to as a work out, or a class it has taken on a different meaning which is ok. I myself know I practice the physical the most. I have a hard time with meditation to this day. However, the physical enables me to have a clearer mind and focus more on what is important to me and not dwell on the past or negativity. There is your “deep conversation” portion of this post.
I knew that I would be away from my mat for a few weeks and knew coming back I would be practicing a lot. Usually I don’t travel much for work but when I do I don’t bring my mat usually and take a few days off. I looked at the calendar when I came back from our trip and knew I would be staying put for awhile and thought to myself why not do a 30 Day Challenge? I had completed one last April. 30 days in a row of yoga. Some people think that is crazy, you need to give your body a rest. To those people I say, yes it probably is crazy. To the second part, two words YIN.YOGA. Yin was my “day off” 60 minutes on your mat holding stretching postures for upwards to 5 minutes was a “break” from a 60 minute hot vinyasa class.
Some of you reading this probably think I am speaking a foreign language. So for the non-yogis reading this let me tell you what 30 days of yoga did for me.
It made me accountable. I was determined to do something and I did it. It made me have to plan. I had to set time aside every day to make it onto my mat. That often meant sacrifices. My friends will tell you I am often joining them at dinner fresh out of a shower running from the studio a few minutes late because my class just got out. My husband tried to plan a weekend away for the 4th of July and realized I would want to practice so that turned into going to class first thing Saturday morning and leaving and hitting up a class Sunday night on our way back.
I made time to do something that meant a lot to me. We don’t do this enough in our lives. It becomes rare to put ourselves first. We sacrifice our own happiness to try to please others and make other people happy. Unfortunately we live in a society where we work long hours and often don’t have a balance between work and our home lives. I have gotten very good at saying “no” over the years and doing things to keep myself happy. If you aren’t happy with yourself, someone else is not going to make you happy. You have to start on the inside. Make time to do the things you love.
It made me feel accomplished. 30 days of ANYTHING in a row should give you satisfaction. It is hard to do anything over and over for days on end. However, if you choose a “habit” that has a positive influence on you it will set you up to continue down that path. For some people waking up early to exercise isn’t their thing, however, after they do it for a week they have a routine, a pattern, and once you have that it makes it hard to break.
This can go both ways though, you have a drink or 2 every day for 30 days it’s going to make day 31 really hard to say no. Whatever it is that is important to you, get into a routine. Set goals. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this challenge. I wanted to do one in January and made it to day 11 I think and didn’t go to class one day because I didn’t feel like it. So I didn’t want to feel like a failure if I didn’t do what I said I was going to do. So I challenged MYSELF. If you set out to do something and it doesn’t go as planned, start again. Every day that you wake up is a fresh start. If it didn’t work out yesterday it might today but if you don’t try it never will.
Whatever it is you may be passionate about set a challenge for yourself. Goals and aspirations are great ways to hold ourselves accountable to OURSELVES. You don’t have to tell the world you are doing something, just do it. Whenever you cross that finish line, whether it be Day 3 or Day 30 it’s a great feeling to know that you put your mind to something and executed it.
Today is Day 31, I am not able to make it to the studio today but I am getting ready to put yoga clothes on and do a mini session in my living room. Good habits become hard to break!