The yoga studio that I work at is gearing up for it’s next challenge. Typically a yoga challenge is to complete a specific number of classes or days of yoga in one month. There are often prizes, but people don’t do it for the prizes, they do it for the personal challenge. The requirement is often to complete 30 classes in the 30 days, this is how my first challenges when. The more recent trend is to complete 21 classes in one month. This is a little bit more doable. With 30 classes some people may get turned off the challenge when there is very little room to deal with anything unexpected that comes up. It is a real commitment and more difficult challenge requiring 30 classes. With 21 on the other hand, it helps get people back in to a routine and they don’t feel like they’ve failed if one thing happens to interrupt their routine.
I did my first yoga challenge probably about 9 years ago. When I started the challenge I was all in. I was so excited and determined to get in all of my classes. I started off strong taking the classes that I typically enjoyed. I usually like hot powerful classes and that’s exactly how I started. Over the period of a couple weeks, I realized that I had to slow it down a bit. I had to find classes that were a little bit more relaxing to give my body the balance that it needed. I learnt that it’s not about going all out. It was about listening to my body but also to my mind. I new that if I was going in to a class dreading it because I felt exhausted that wasn’t any good for me.
I started looking at the schedule to plan balance in my classes as well as in the times I could attend. Of course I was working my regular full time job and doing this …. and if I know me… I was probably working and extra part time job on the side because let’s be honest… I have almost always had an extra part time job. I feel like this is where the real challenge came in.
The real challenge by the end of the month was not physical. My body grew stronger, and I felt comfortable and confident in my classes. My body did not feel worn out or exhausted, I actually felt really good physically. The difficult part was my thinking. My main thoughts every day were how could I get to a class. What time would work? What class would work? Can I make it to a class time that is right for me? I was so focused on the schedule and time I feel like I started to lose the excitement that I had when I first started the challenge.
I did it! At the end, I felt like I accomplished a challenge, but I was done. If I remember correctly, I ended up taking time off after this challenge. It was mentally exhausting to get in all of those and get the ones that were right for me. However, this does not mean that I didn’t value the experience. The challenge was amazing. It showed me that I could accomplish it. I felt accomplished when I finished. I felt healthier and stronger.
Since that first time, I have completed more challenges since then. One year, I started a challenge in January and completed the month. Then, the studio went on to challenge people to a second month. I did that too. 60 days of Hot Yoga and I completed all 60 classes needed.
Since then though, I haven’t been so successful at challenges. I have realized at further challenges I couldn’t commit. But…. I also realized, that was ok. I didn’t need the praise or the recognition. I know I did it in the past. I know I can do it. But…. I also know that I don’t have to do it. I can listen to my own body, my own mind, my own schedule, and my own needs and do that is best for me at that time. When I work full time, teach, do laundry, cook, clean, and take care of my own life. Sometimes a challenge is good. However, other times the challenge might be just listening to what you need and not feeling pressured to take on a challenge that isn’t right for you at that time.
I will do another challenge again in the future. Right now my life is too busy, and I know that I need down time. Some call it “me time”, but whatever you call it, I need time to take care of myself, to breath, and to relax.
This picture was taken while I was doing my first yoga challenge. I had my mom take these pics not knowing the journey my yoga career would take as time went on.