I have an approach-avoidance relationship with fitness challenges. Many of our bloggers have written about, taken on and completed lots of challenges: steps, running, biking, yoga, etc. Reading their stories I’m always amazed at their persistence and successes at completing whatever task or goal they set.
You see, I’ve never thought of myself as good at maintaining consistent and long-standing fitness habits. Sure, I love to cycle, walk, swim, do yoga, ski, play racket sports and paddle, but the only activities I do regularly are cycling and yoga. And when I get too busy or too tired or otherwise discombobulated, those much-loved activities go by the wayside. I do resume them, but with a little embarrassment at having dropped the ball (sorry for the wrong sports metaphor here).
Well, it just so happens that about 6 days ago, I noticed that I had done yoga 4 days in a row. I’d gone to two classes and, apropos of nothing in particular, done yoga at home using yoga DVDs. Hmmmm, I thought. Maybe I can keep this up.
So I found an online yoga challenge (among the bazillion ones out there), called the Bad Yogi 30 Day Challenge. I subscribed, and the links to video yoga workouts started arriving in my inbox. Great, I thought– I’ll get started.
Well, the Day One Challenge (which was actually day 5 for me) was kind of a bust from the beginning. It started out seated in what’s called Double Pidgeon pose, which looks like this:
No. That’s not happening for me. I can’t come close to that position. Sigh. I sat crossed-legged instead, but it set the wrong tone, and I wasn’t feeling uplifted by the end.
I wondered– is this it for my as-yet-undetermined self-imposed yoga challenge? Turns out, it wasn’t. I remembered a blog post written by Laura Rainbow Dragon, called 366 Days of Yoga. In it she talked about deciding to do yoga every day for 30 days:
There were days when I only did restorative poses. There were days when my practice was only 5 minutes long. There were days when I scoured YouTube searching for routines that were light on upper body work, or just made up my own routine of standing poses only. (My shoulders and wrists were so weak, even downward facing dog was hard.) There were days when I didn’t roll out my mat until 2 o’clock in the morning and by that time was so exhausted all I did was meditate in legs up the wall pose. But I did it. Thirty consecutive days of yoga asana practice.
Yes! That’s what I’m talking about! No pressure to do anything in particular, just some yoga each day. I never forgot that bit about how doing legs up the wall counted as yoga. yes, I can do that.
So I did. And I found I wanted to do other poses, too, once I rolled out my mat on my living room or bedroom floor. And Laura’s post was still in the back of my mind– here’s more of it:
[After 30 days of yoga], my practice still was not easy. My progress was slow. I continued to struggle with both mental and physical yoga demons. And I often despaired that my body was just too old now, too out of shape. I feared I was “over the hill” and would never get back what I had lost. But I kept showing up. I kept rolling out my mat every day, getting on it, and doing the practice.
Today marks 10 days of yoga every day. Right now, I’m all about rolling out the mat and seeing what I end up doing. I have DVDs, a bunch of Bad Yogi challenge videos links, and my own sequences learned from having gone to yoga classes now for more than 1.5 years at my local yoga studio. And of course I can go to classes there, too.
I really Really REALLY want to be able to report back here that I completed 30 straight days of yoga. It’s not clear why I’ve never allowed myself the pleasure of this kind of completion before. But now seems like an fine time to do just that. Wish me luck.
How has it been for you, dear readers, to complete or not to complete a challenge you set for yourself? We’ve talked about this before (I blogged about it here), but it’s still a confounding topic for me, and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts.