New Yoga Pants!
In February, Yoga Six held a 28-day Yoga Challenge. The challenge: take 28 classes in the 28 days of February. I did it! (…plus one!)
After 29 yoga practices, I’ve not only gained some muscle, I’ve also gained some insight.
My practice is variable from day to day.
Both physically and mentally, each time I came to my mat things were different. Some days, I was ready to move, others I wanted to stay in child’s pose for the whole hour. I experienced a similar phenomenon mentally. Peace of mind was easy to find in some instances, and sometimes my mind was all over the place. I learned to be kind and accepting of all qualities that manifested in my practice.
Practicing with others is where it’s at.
I especially enjoyed practicing alongside students who take my classes. It was refreshing to switch sides and be a part of the class. I think my students enjoyed seeing me in a new light, as one of them. We are always supporting each other, whether it’s as student and teacher or cheering one another on through 28 yoga classes.
Yoga is habit-forming.
After the first week, I was craving my yoga practice. It’s a snowball affect, a slippery slope. Once you start, you just can’t stop! Half the battle was getting to class, but I never regretted getting out of the house and heading to the studio.
I’m still growing.
After a month-long yoga binge, I aam feeling great physically and mentally. But, I’m not at the end. I’m just in another portion of my journey. I want to use this momentum to cultivate an at-home practice. This will be crucial for the days when I can’t make it to a class or the offerings are not what my body needs on that given day.
This challenge has set me up for my biggest challenge yet: INDIA!
I hope to share my experiences abroad here! Stay tuned!
When you’re trying to make changes in your life, it can be a challenge to stick with it. Your relationships can help you stay on track and even encourage you along your new path. With the support of friends and family, you can stay motivated and live in an environment conducive to your goals.
It can be difficult to maintain a lifestyle that not everyone is into. Even if everyone you know isn’t on board, make sure you have a few people you can turn to for positive advice and support.
I stumbled upon this video earlier in the week, and it was a good source of wisdom for me. I have plenty of moments of insecurity about what I’m doing with my life. My relationships are key to helping me see that I’m on a path that’s right for me and there are people out there who support me.
It also brings to my attention how important it is for me to be supportive of my friends and their lives. How can I be a better support to my loved ones?
Last night, while the rest of St. Louis was watching the Cardinals, I watched the documentary “Happy.”
The study of happiness was very interesting to learn about. What makes people happy?
A few things that stood out to me: (1) money and image do not contribute to happiness; (2) physical fitness is highly linked to happiness; (3) relationships and community are key to long life and happiness; (4) activities that bring you simple pleasure, like playing an instrument, are linked to happiness.
Then, oddly enough, this morning I began some of my teacher training pre-assignments. I watched this video of Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar, whose Harvard course on happiness was featured in the “Happy” documentary. He talked about how positive psychology focuses on what works, instead of what doesn’t. He said we need to take responsibility for our own happiness, that it is a part of our true nature, and that by focusing on the good we will cultivate happiness.
One take away from this video that I am going to bring into my life is a gratitude journal. Every night, I am going to write down five things for which I am grateful. Do you do this? I think it will be a nice reflection of my day, a ritual to send me off to sleep.
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you know your stuff. You know when the teacher is setting you up for bridge pose. You know when savasana is coming. You prepare. You predict. You settle in.
Sometimes, it’s hard to forget what it’s like to be a beginner, to be completely led by the teacher, to learn new things and move outside what you are comfortable with.
I was talking with a student after class the other day about what it’s like to come back to class after a few days (or weeks) off from practice. You can absolutely feel the physical challenge of it, but there’s more to it.
When you’ve stepped back, you’re able to come to the mat with a fresh perspective, you may have unlearned a few things. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Habits can be great. Habits can also hinder you.
How can you approach your yoga practice as a beginner, as someone who hasn’t picked up the habits of a practice yet?
What will you (re)learn?
You’ve probably heard this quotes before: ”Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I thought about this quote after a vinyasa practice the other day. What am I scared of in my practice? What poses do I shy away from? What are my tendencies in practice?
For me, I cringe at the thought of arm balances. In class, Stacy invited us to practice Parsva Bakasana
(see Mr. Iyengar below).
I HATE arm balances! They scare me. What if I fall on my face? What if I never get up?
But, I tried it, floated for about a fraction of a second, dropped down and then chilled in a twist.
And, it was fine.
What’s the big deal, really?
I’m afraid I won’t succeed…Of course, in hindsight, I know that avoiding things like arm balancing is the only way to ensure failure.
So, here’s to doing what scares you. And, below another thought to inspire your practice.
If you’re interested in thought-provoking content and fascinating discoveries, I encourage you to check out Brain Pickings. Visit the site and sign up for the weekly newsletter. You can also follow them on Twitter.
A recent edition of the newsletter included an article on work ethic and creativity. As a creative minded person, I related immediately.
We’ve all felt uninspired at some point. And, for me, the reaction sometimes is to take a break and wait for the light bulb to appear. However, the experts featured in the article (including Tchaikovsky, Ira Glass, Ann Lamont, Jack White) encourage working through these times. You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t just go for it. Challenge yourself.
I especially liked the following video of Jack White (full disclosure: I’m a bit obsessed with him already, so sharing his insight here was a no-brainer for me.)
His story about upholstering a piece of furniture reminded me of my yoga practice. Sometimes, I land on my mat and my ego talks to me,” What are you doing here? I don’t really want to do this. There are so many other things I should be doing.”
However, by the end of that practice, I’ve experienced something. It’s not necessarily monumental or earth-shattering, but it’s something. It was my experience, my practice that day. And, that’s something!
Keep working at things. Show up, even when you don’t feel inspiration. You may surprise yourself.