Uncharted Territory

I have officially crossed into uncharted waters with my practice. On Saturday, I hit Day 67/100 making this now my longest running yoga streak. My previous streak was 66 days which I did about three years ago.

I realized that Tuesday will be day 70, and then I will only have 30 more days left. Suddenly the challenge seems like it is flying by. Suddenly it seems doable and attainable. I think this 100-Day thing is actually going to happen.

I’m really glad to have the 50’s behind me. They totally sucked. However, the 60’s have been only marginally better. I’ve already spent about three days of them sitting out a lot of stuff and someone described me as looking “wrecked” on Day 67. That was probably a fair assessment since I pretty much called it a day around Triangle.

Yes.

Yes.

Once I hit 100 days my plan is to just continue going until something comes up that prevents me from going to class (actually, my first plan of action is to treat myself to a giant pile of nachos). This has been my biggest take away from the entire challenge – just go to class. Even if you are not doing a challenge, sometimes just going to class can be a challenge in and of itself. When you think you can’t go stop and assess yourself. Why are you thinking you can’t go? If the answer is because you don’t feel like it then you should probably go. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then you should probably go. Even when I am pressed for time I find that going to class helps with everything else in my life.

In the end, only you can determine if you should go to class or not but at the very least engage with yourself when you think you’re not going to go. Have a conversation with yourself and try to determine why you are not going. Be aware. Even if you skip class because you just didn’t feel like doing it, the next best thing you can do for yourself is be aware that’s what you did. Then find time to sit and explore that decision a bit.

No matter how good or crappy (and there seems to be plenty of crappy going around right now!) my classes are, this whole experience is definitely increasing my self awareness. I’m more aware of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m much better at not being reactive to things (better – not awesome). I’m noticing a great ability to focus on and off the mat. This challenge is hard, but it has been worth it.

 

Do You Live Here?

A couple of days ago (Day 59 in the challenge), someone walked past me at the studio and said, “Do you live here?”

“Well,” I responded, “today is Day 59 so yeah. I kinda do.”

The next day I was in the lobby after class getting my stuff together to go home. A woman remarked that every day she was at the studio she realized that was also at the studio. I explained to her that I was doing a 100-Day challenge and had just completed Day 60.

She responded something to the effect that this was an amazing, inspiring thing to do.

I thanked her but then said that the trick was to simply get up and come to the studio. Then go home and get back up and come in the next day. Then repeat that process 100 times.

I looked up "amazing" and found this. Let's go here.

I looked up “amazing” and found this. Let’s go here.

Not really that difficult when you think about it like that is it?

And yet, some days it is. It really, really is.

Why is that?

I made it through the first 30 days without a care in the world. They were easy to get through (I didn’t say all the classes were great, but I wasn’t focused so much on the challenge at that point). Once I hit Day 50 is when things start to get difficult. The 50’s were a mess. A complete mess. And now I find myself focused on numbers and counting which is kinda silly. The days will come as they come.

But I have found that from this point on it is helpful to think of things in 10’s – Day 60, Day 70, and so on, and I have it marked on my calendar as such right up to Day 100. I think I just need an anchor every 10 days. I think it will help me not focus so much on the numbers in-between.

I still haven’t crossed my personal record – 66 days in a row – but will be there soon. Today is Day 62. In just a few short days I will cross into uncharted waters. And that should really be interesting.

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

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This Challenge Sucks

There I was – Day 54. It was the kind of day where I really, really wished I was not doing a challenge. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to have to show up. I just wanted to curl up and take a nap. At home. This challenge totally sucked as far as I was concerned.

I was exhausted in every sense of the word. But of course, there I was at the 3:00 class on a Sunday. Had to get my yoga in. Can’t stop the challenge because I am tired and don’t want to be at the studio. Those are not reasons. Those would be excuses.

Of course I knew that I shouldn’t have any preconceptions about what class would be like, and I really didn’t. I didn’t worry that it would be awful or fantastic or anything in between. I was too tired. I fell easily into acceptance for what lay ahead.

I stood up on my mat like a good little trooper when the first breathing exercise started. And then it hit me. It was going to be one of those classes.

Sending love and some sucky classes your way.

Sending love and some sucky classes your way.

Thanks Universe.

We were about halfway through the first set of the first breathing exercise when I realized I was ready to sit down. I just didn’t see how it was going to be possible to get through it all. It also didn’t seem possible to sit on my mat for the whole class. Nothing seemed possible.

But I hung in there. I made it to the second set of eagle before I started going down – and believe me, I felt triumphant to have gotten that far.

Then, class was a blur. I sort of did the standing series. Sort of. Even when I did a posture it wasn’t very good, but it was probably all I had to give at the moment. The floor series wasn’t much better either.

And yet, the weirdest thing was that as I progressed through class I felt less and less exhausted. By the end of class I felt much more awake and alert. Not enough to do another class or anything, but I felt so much better (and a lot less grumpy!).

Of course this challenge has it days when it completely and totally sucks. Anyone who’s ever done a challenge knows that! That’s why it’s a challenge. Engaging and pushing forward is difficult. It would have been easier to take a nap on the couch.

Following through with going to class? Hard.

Worth pushing through? Definitely.

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

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One Year Ago Today on MBYL

 

40 Days In: What Do I Notice?

I am a solid 40 days into my 100-Day Challenge. Today’s class will be Day-41. I haven’t gone much past 40-ish days since doing my 66-Day challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing what this all brings.

But for now, I would like to comment on what all this yoga seems to be doing for me. Yes, I’ve gone 40-days in a row, but I’ve also just been going to class most days for almost a year now. And I have to say, I have noticed some improvements on and off the mat. These include:

  • My stupid triangle is getting better. Unfortunately, this means I have to hold it longer because I can. I am not yet consistent in my triangle, but I can tell that I am improving in terms of being able to sit my hips down lower and hold it longer.
Getting better...

Getting better…

  • I am getting good at evaluating why I want to come out of a posture and considering if it’s a good idea or not. For example, if I get a cramp then yes, that’s a time to come out of a posture. But what if I am just uncomfortable? Not uncomfortable in a bad way (physically) but in a mental one? Do I really need to come out of a posture because I don’t like the way I mentally or emotionally feel? No, I don’t. I can stay. When my brain tells me to come out of a posture I rarely pop right out. I ask myself why and do a quick scan. Usually I end up staying.

 

  • I am improving at not reacting. I am OK with just sitting with something. Case in point – I recently found myself upset. I acknowledged I was upset, but I wasn’t ready to respond to the situation. I realized I needed to sit with it all for the rest of the day – maybe even two! – before I would be ready to do something. I am getting better at sitting with my feelings be they happy, sad, angry, whatever, and letting them be. I don’t try to change them or prolong them. I attribute this to my ability to start evaluating – and not react – to my need/desire to come out of postures.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how things are going. I would like to stress that I don’t think it’s this specific challenge or that I’ve done 40-Days again that have gotten me here. It’s everything combined from the moment I first started practicing. Everything comes together in it’s own way at it’s own time.

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

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The 100-Day Challenge: It’s On!

So there I was just bumping along and doing my yoga. Just getting up and going to class day in/day out – like I normally do. I had no plans to do a challenge. In fact, I had plans to go out of town in early March. But I knew I could get in close to 40-days before I had to hit the road.

Then things changed. Suddenly, I found my trip cancelled. And, like a massive yoga dork, I went to my calendar to see what the possibility was of getting in 100 days. Turns out it was 100% doable. So I’m in.

100 daysI’ve always wanted to do a 100-day challenge, but life just gets in the way. I have to travel, someone is coming to visit me, The Boyfriend gave me the flu. Stuff like that. But suddenly my calendar opened up. I have no travel plans until after I hit Day-100. Since it’s the middle of the semester, no one is hauling themselves up here to visit me.

I sat down and marked out the days on my calendar at 30/60/90/100. Day 30 was February 26th. Day 60 is March 28th. Day 90 is April 27th, and Day 100 is May 7th. Due to the inclement weather, I am having to do some of my classes at home. This is not my preferred method, but when the studio is shut down, or it’s just too dangerous to get there, then this is what I have to do to stay on track. It’s hard because the heat and humidity is obviously nowhere near what I am used to, and I have learned I also enjoy doing my yoga in a room with other people.

Stay tuned as I bust my record of 66 days and see what happens in the land beyond.

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

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What I Learned From My Challenge

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

challenge acceptedI 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?

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

 

 

 

Challenge Update! I’m Not Even Counting….

I can tell by looking at last week’s post that as of today, I have completed 22 classes in a row. I noted to someone the other day that I would be able to get to 40 before I had to go to the dentist to get my implant. So this is either count up to Day 40 or a countdown to a trip to the oral surgeon. I decided to stop counting.

I say that, but do you know that Day 30 will be on Christmas Day? How awesome is that. Super Awesome, that’s what.

But in all honesty, I have stopped counting. It used to be when I got to the studio I would check in and post on FB what day I was on. But I just can’t keep it straight anymore, and does it really matter? All that matters is that I get up and go. And that I do. So we’re all good here.

However, I still have some highlights from the last week that I have collected to share with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Highlights

1. Last week, I explored the idea of including supplements in my diet. I think this mattered. A lot. I have been taking my B12, potassium, and magnesium,  every single day for approximately two weeks. I feel great. I do not feel run down at all. My practice has gotten so much better. I do still sit out a posture now and then, but it’s not because I feel like I am too tired to do them. My overall mattitude has improved as well.

water2. I accidentally had a no water class and didn’t freak out. I am really getting good at being in the moment and going with the flow. I was about halfway to the studio when I realized I had no water with me. I had left an entirely full bottle sitting right by the door. I could have bought water at the studio, but I didn’t feel like it. I knew I was hydrated and could do the class, and I did. No big deal.

3. If it’s one thing I am learning from this challenge is that it is important to go to class every single day. Now, I know that in reality that’s not going to happen. But I am seeing the benefits of going daily, and I have to tell you  – it is absolutely worth it. Sure, there will be times when I don’t go, but if I can go I’ll be there from now on.

4. What are the benefits? Well, I ‘m not certain they have anything to do with the postures. Postures seem to get better, and then they fall apart. I’m actually not too focused on how my postures are/are not improving. I show up and do them. And that, right there, is a key benefit. I am learning to let go and just be. I am learning that my posture is whatever it is at the moment I am doing it. I might note more or less flexibility with a particular posture on a given day, but that’s all. I don’t keep a running record in my head, and I am getting good at not comparing day to day or across weeks or across the challenge. This learning to just be is key for me in everyday life. It’s helping me find greater peace with whatever life throw at me. I’m more mindful and less reactive.

Next Thursday is Christmas, and the week after that is New Year’s Day. Look for challenge updates to happen on 1/29 and 1/4. I’ll be back on a regular posting schedule the week of January 12th.

 

 

 

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