Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Overview of the 31-Day Yoga Challenge

The month of October just flew by, almost as if it didn't even happen. I guess that's what happens when you're focused on each and every day. I would have thought the opposite, personally. However, I loved October.

During the challenge, I felt more alive. Going inward and taking an active focus on yourself everyday can do wonders for the mind. I also felt like I was more level-headed and had less mood swings, as if i were better able to handle emotions and stress and not (over)react.

I calculated from my posts that I did almost exactly half of the challenge at home, which is a huge surprise for me. At the beginning of this challenge, I was skeptical of home practice. I thought I wouldn't "be able to do it." Trust me, there is absolutely nothing like going to a studio and practicing yoga with a teacher and even a group of other people (yogini's), however, this month gave me a new appreciation for the home practice. When you're at home, you're completely focused on yourself. You may not know what is coming next, but you dictate it all, allowing you to completely focus on yourself.

Physically, I have noticed my bends are deeper and my flexibility has increased. I felt like I was pretty balanced before hand, so I did not see much of a change there. I also want to mention that I did not lift weights during the entire month because I wanted to see if I could subjectively see a change in my muscle tone. I was almost irrationally scared that I would lose some muscle mass in my biceps, but I did not find that to be the case. In fact, my muscles are almost longer and leaner and still the same size, to me anyway.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge was to decide whether or not I would want to go through a Yoga Teacher Training program. And I've found the challenge completely gave me a boost and sense of motivation --I know for sure I want to go through training. The month was also about positivity and motivation. I now feel like money is not the only thing holding me back. I CAN earn the money and I WILL go through training. It's just a matter of patience, right?

The most difficult part of the challenge? Doing yoga on my days of work! As you all know, I work 12 hour shifts and they are completely exhausting at times. I know now that I should probably just stick to meditation after work, and not actual asana or any yoga movement, except for relaxation poses right before bed. I also learned how important it is to not force yourself to do anything! You may finish, but you will not get any benefit out of it, whatsoever.

What's next for me and yoga? Well, I'm not too sure. I am obviously going to keep practicing (duh) and even incorporating at-home practice. I am thinking that once I get my tax return money, I will use it to enroll in a teacher training program.
I just want to continue to incorporate yoga into every aspect of my life...


Eco Yogini said...

YAY I'm so glad that it worked so well for you! :) Personal practice is very difficult to accomplish.

Susan said...

Yay for having an awesome month of yoga! I think we mostly set our own limits for ourselves...if you think you can do it, you can! Yoga instructor training, here you come!

Ang said...

I think you will make a great yoga instructor! I'm glad you are going for it!

Sarah said...

Hi Nicole,
31-day challengers unite! I'm in the middle of my challenge, Day 16, and feeling stronger every day. I don't know why I didn't do this a long time ago. Oh yeah, I did, but then I stopped to allow work and other people's lives to take over.

How is your yoga practice? Did you complete your teacher training? How does it feel?

I fyou decide to do another challenge let me know, perhaps we can synchronize!

Sarah, one curious yogi