Wednesday, October 31, 2012

21-Day Yoga Challenge

My profile over there says I am a yogini-in-the-making.  What's that all about?  I have been practicing yoga this go around consistently since December 2011.  That's not a long time to be doing anything really.  Consistently in this sense means a few times a week, without missing a week over the past many months.  I say "this go around" because I have practiced yoga at many different points in my life and in many different ways. This time, not quite a year and counting, my practice has been noticeably different to me than in past times.

In the past, yoga was a side dish to my main course of exercise. This time, yoga is the main course. And since it is the main course, I am paying more attention to the details of my body, my breath, my mind.

Yoga makes me aware of my posture. I just sat up straighter as I typed that and my organs thank me for it.

Yoga makes me eat healthier. When I was a runner, I ate for fuel to burn: the more, the better. For yoga, I eat for ease on my organs, support for my body and lightness in my system and movement: the better, the better.

Yoga makes me quiet. On the mat is the place where my mind can go blank. In the best possible way.

While I can't deny its physical benefits and its ability to de-stress me almost at the mere thought of getting on my mat, mainly yoga makes me feel good.

Sol Yoga is my studio of choice. I volunteer there a few times a week in exchange for class time. Volunteering my time has helped solidify my own commitment to practicing yoga. One thing I know about myself is that I commit much deeper to something when I know others are counting on me too.

I have recently committed to Sol's 21-Day Yoga Challenge, eleven days ago to be exact. The challenge is to commit to practicing yoga every day for 21 days to cement the practice into your daily life. It is said that it takes three weeks to make or break a habit. Eleven days into this challenge, I feel the benefits. I feel better.  I feel stronger.  I feel better able to handle stress. I feel like I want to do some more yoga. I can't wait to see what happens after the 21 days. My practice before starting this challenge was consistent, but it wasn't a daily thing. I want it to be.

No one else is counting on me to fulfill this challenge, just me. But like committing fully to things when others are counting on me, I also commit fully to something when I have some accountability.  So, I've set up a 21-day Yoga Challenge accountability list on my top right sidebar to track my challenge results. I've been to Sol classes and then done a bit on my own at home.

The big question might be why participate in this challenge at all? It's just yoga. And it's just for me; nobody else benefits. But that's not true. While my yoga is just for me, lots of other people benefit from my yoga. Namely: my husband, my kids, my family, friends, the groups I volunteer for. When I do this small, daily thing for myself, I have more patience, energy and caring to give to all those around me. Yoga makes me feel good and feeling good makes me a nicer, more giving person.

10 days to go!