It's day 30! We made it! I still have to do my practice for today but I know I will. My commitment to finding the time has increased as the month has gone on and I've genuinely enjoyed my time on the mat every time I've done it.
I wasn't sure what I was hoping to get out of the 30 days, other than maybe a bit more skill in some poses and strength overall but I've definitely learned a few things which I hope to remember for the future. Some of them are lessons that are worth taking off the mat into everyday life, too.
1. It's all about prioritising YOU
Yoga and getting that time on the mat has really been a struggle for me some days but I realised that not only is it about making time for something that I consider important, that something important is ME. My health, my sanity, my stress levels, my quality of sleep, my quality of life. When you acknowledge it in those terms--it's not the yoga that you're really committing to but your health--hopefully it becomes easier to make it a priority.
2. Having someone to lean on helps
Whether it's the right props or support from friends, colleagues, family or other 30-day challengers, support is what made me keep going. There were a few times when it got to the end of the day and Mr F asked if I'd done my practice yet and really helped me find the energy and will to get on the mat and other days when photos and updates from you guys made me want to jump on the mat and stretch myself (literally and figuratively) with new poses and deeper practice.
3. Instruction is everything
I've tried a lot of different styles of yoga with a lot of different instructors over the last month and, while its something I sort of knew before, this really drove it home: if you don't connect with the teacher or their style of instruction, move on. You'll find one you like and it will do wonders for your practice, enjoyment and commitment.
For me, I liked the convenience of doing videos at home but I really missed the extra push and connection you find in a studio. So if time and money were no object I'd definitely practice more in a studio with other people.
4. Quality isn't everything
Well... Kinda. There were some days when I wasn't feeling like I was in the right head space but I got on the mat to give it some kind of mediocre effort. Usually what ended up happening was that, a few minutes in, I would find the desire to throw myself into it fully. I guess it's that old 'if you don't feel like exercising, just put on the clothes and promise yourself you'll do it for ten minutes' and you'll usually end up doing more. It's true. Don't get me wrong--sometimes it just wasn't there and after 15 minutes of breathing and a few basic poses, I just gave myself permission to walk away until later or the next day when I had more energy.
5. It's all about the breath
Yup. I knew it and I've struggled with it but breathing is so fundamental to yoga practice. And life. One thing I'm so glad I saw an improvement in during my 30-day challenge was my ability to achieve smooth breath during my practice and not forgetting to breathe. That's something that I'm actually starting to find helpful and be aware of off the mat too and it's great for dealing with commuting, work, stress and just generally feeling a bit more chilled and whole... That sounds a bit cheesy but it's true. If you take a step back and a few deep breaths, most things you're worrying about become much more manageable and transient.
So what did you learn from your 30-day challenge?
(This is my first mobile post so please excuse any crazy formatting!)