As you read this, I am probably at the oral surgeon getting a tooth implant. Or I’m sleeping off the painkillers. Or I’m at the dentist getting a temporary crown. You can see what a fun day I am having.
My challenge, of course, has come to an end. Since October, I have taken 81 classes. Not in a row – recall I had a three-day break after class 41 due to work travel. Anyways, I thought I would recap some of the things I learned from doing all this yoga in the hopes that y’all would find it helpful. So here goes.
#1: Go to Class
One of my yoga buddies reminded me of the importance of simply going to yoga. Because of his post, I was inspired to write about the importance of going to yoga even when you’re having a stinky day. Having done this challenge, I have learned the importance of going to class as much as possible no matter what kind of day I am having. Going to class is good for me physically, mentally, emotionally – basically every kind of -ally you can think of. It’s really good for me inside out bones to skin. 🙂 From now on, I’m going to class every day barring something I can’t control getting in the way (like the dentist or work, vacation, etc…). If you can go – go!
#2: A Challenge is Always a Good Idea
I did a challenge a little over two years ago for 66-days. It was 66-days because it was a 60-day challenge first, but then I realized I had six more days until I left town for vacation so I did those too. After I completed it, I never really saw the point to doing another challenge. I kinda always wanted to do a 100-day challenge, but something tends to pop up along the way making it almost impossible to get it done. I sort of lost sight of any value in going to class for 30-days or 60-days.
I was wrong.
I was wrong because ultimately it’s not about a challenge, and it’s not about the number of days that you go. For the second half of this last challenge I actually stopped counting days. I knew when Day 30 was (Christmas!), and I knew when Day 40 was (yesterday – because it was the last day), and that’s it. The challenge itself taught me that ultimately the important thing is going to class and experiencing what it brings. What we get served on the mat is often lessons that we can apply off the mat. So just because you’ve done a 30-day challenge or whatever, don’t discount the benefit of doing another one. Don’t be like me and think, “Been there. Done that. Moving on.” Because sometimes it’s not about moving on. It’s about moving back and going through it again. I definitely picked up new lessons this time through that I didn’t get during my first challenge simply because of where I am in life and what I am ready to learn.
#3: How Will You Work on Your Practice?
There is always some way we can work on our practice, and a major key to doing so is by setting our intentions. In my current case, my intention could simply be going to class every day. That’s how I’m working on my practice. It could be that I set my intention to be still between postures or listen more to he dialogue (and not do things before I’m told!). The thing here is to be mindful. I’ve learned that it’s important that we engage mindfully with our practice. This will start to transfer off the mat in time, and you will find that mindful engagement in your practice leads to a more mindful engagement with your life.
So as we move into 2015, I know that I will continue to go to class on every day that I can (I’m pretty good about not finding excuses for not going to class so this means I’ll probably go nearly everyday). But I’m also going to be working on setting intentions for my practice. It doesn’t have to be the same intention for every class, but I can see the benefit to identifying one and working to implement it during each class.
What are your 2015 yoga plans?