30 Day Yoga Challenge

So a month ago I could say I liked yoga, but now I can say that I love yoga. Why the change of heart? I completed a 30-day yoga challenge.

Now when it comes to yoga, I admit I have been a dabbler. I started about 12 years ago, but practiced on average about once a month. Recently I had seen a few pins and some friends who posted on Facebook that they had completed a 30-day challenge. I was intrigued, but how would I ever get to the YMCA or a yoga studio 30 days in a row to complete the challenge with my chaotic schedule?

Within three days, I spoke with two separate yoga instructors (thank you Cindy Walter and Sarah Brown) who both said that yoga doesn’t always have to be done in a class setting. It is your own personal practice.

“If you are sitting on the floor playing a game with your kids, then go into a forward fold,” said Cindy.

“I came home after skiing all day, and I moved the furniture and got my family to do yoga with me,” said Sarah.

The day I talked with Sarah marked the beginning of my 30 day yoga journey.

I structured mine with a goal of 30 minutes per day, but the majority of days I got in 45-60 minutes. I attended classes, used some DVD’s, as well as used different yoga workouts of a variety of styles at a website: www.doyogawithme.com.

I was concerned I might gain weight during my 30 days since I tend towards more cardio-type workouts. This was not the case. Some days I was glistening (sweating) with very active workouts, and other days were more relaxing and restoring. One day I did a workout geared for older persons sitting in a chair. I thought that would be simple but that was definitely not the case.

Yoga means union of the body and mind with the breath. I found myself breathing deeper and calmer throughout the month. I felt less anxious while also feeling stronger and more flexible. I noticed a Pavlovian type of response (relaxation) kick in when wearing yoga pants.

Do not let yoga props hold you back, but a yoga mat is quite helpful. A phone book can be used in place of a block. In place of a bolster, you can roll and tie a towel or blanket together. Blankets and pillows are helpful for the more restorative poses, and you can use a necktie for a belt for some of the stretching poses.

It is important to do yoga poses correctly and with modification when necessary. Take classes from certified yoga instructors, especially in the beginning of one’s practice. Do not force any poses or overstretch. As more and more people practice yoga, the medical field has seen an increase in injuries.

After 30 days of yoga, I can say I know my downward dog from an upward dog and all kinds of “asanas.” There are many myths about how long it takes to develop a new habit. 21 days. 28 days. 66 days. So you may wonder what I did on day 31. Yes, I did yoga. Namaste.

I would love to hear about how yoga has affected your life or about other experiences with a 30 day yoga challenge.