Whether its in my personal or professional life I’m someone who is very goal oriented. I seem to thrive on having a goal. It’s how I keep myself inspired to keep moving forward. If I don’t have something I’m working towards I tend to feel stagnant.
Typically, my goals are motivated by a desire to improve in a particular facet of my life. More often than not my desire comes from an internal place. That is certainly the case with my latest endeavor.
For the past two weeks I’ve been doing a yoga challenge. It evolved from a place of feeling disconnected. Ironically, this feeling emerged while I was training for my triathlon. I was getting a lot of physical activity and was motivated by that. But, I’m a firm believer that the mind, body, and spirit must be aligned for me to have a shot at real happiness. I was getting my physical body in shape. Unfortunately, my mind and spirit weren’t invited to the party.
Yoga is something I’m fascinated with because I firmly believe in all of its benefits. My issue is that I’m so inflexible I tend to shy away from it. I don’t like how uncomfortable I tend to feel while doing it, so I avoid it. When in actuality it’s the thing I need to be doing so I can improve my flexibility. It’s like the saying goes, real change happens outside your comfort zone.
As I’ve learned from my friend Ryan – a yoga instructor- yoga is a gentle practice. So, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. You should go as far as you can in a yoga pose, as long as it feels good. Ryan was featured in a past blog. Please check out the Namaste Everyday video to hear more of her views and to preview her class.
Here’s how my challenge works. I committed to do yoga every day for at least 10 minutes for 21 days. Since I’ve gotten past week one, I’ve increased my duration. I’m also including daily meditation.
My intention for this challenge is to get to a place of peace by learning to be in the moment. For weeks I’ve been distracted with life and the things that have not been going the way I want them to go. I need to surrender a few things. I believe this challenge will help me do that. One of the things I have always enjoyed about yoga is it forces me to be in the moment. When you’re focusing on your poses/stretches you can’t think about anything else.
The other thing I want to transpire out of this challenge is to be able to incorporate more yoga into my life and workouts. I figure after 21 days of doing it everyday it will become a habit.
Here are a few benefits I’m already experiencing:
1. My flexibility is improving. Several areas of my body that are really tight are beginning to loosen up, especially my lower back.
2. I’m gaining a tremendous appreciation for my body. We require so much of our bodies every day. Yoga makes me appreciate all that it does and is capable of doing.
3. It’s helping me to stress less and let things go. I’m learning that things will always work out. I don’t have to try to control anything or anybody. In fact, at any given moment of my day I can start it again. If my day starts to go downhill, it doesn’t have to continue to do so. I can stop it and begin again. I don’t quite get how this awesome practice can do that for me, but somehow it does.
As I’m approaching the final week of my challenge I want to go further spiritually. A friend recently shared a very personal spiritual experience she had while doing yoga. It made me envious. I would love to have a similar encounter. Regardless of whether or not I’m able to have what she had, I want to go deeper. This process has the potential to be life changing, so I don’t want to settle for less.
I’ve been asked by several people what kind of challenge I’m doing. I’ve sort of created my own by researching yoga instructors on YouTube. I choose a different session every day. However, when I initially started researching a 21-day challenge I found one that seems pretty simple. It’s through Yoga Journal. They have a plan for the beginner and intermediate levels. Once you subscribe on their website, they will send you an email every day with a link to a different practice.
I’ve shared with you my experience with yoga. Now, I’d love to hear about yours. Have you tried yoga? If so, how did it benefit you?