I’ve been doing yoga off and on for 25 years (mostly off) until January 2016, when I joined the newly opened Artemis yoga studio that’s in Watertown, MA, a 10-minute walk from my house. Man, was that a good idea! Since then I’ve been going off and on (mostly on) with friends or on my own. And I love love love it. Below, a partial list:
- the friendly folks, from owner to desk staff to teachers;
- the welcoming and dedicated attitude of the place– no judgment, all encouragement, and serious commitment to yoga practice;
- the gorgeous interiors– the whole place is newly renovated and the studios are light, airy and serene;
- the other yoga students– again, I’ve detected no attitude, no yoga hierarchy, no fashion competition, just general friendliness;
- the convenience of it– I can walk there in 10 minutes! I guess I said that already. But it’s important to me.
However, even with all these fabulous features, I haven’t been able to get there as often as I would like. And, I’ve been having some shoulder/neck pain lately that’s been making me unhappy. So, I thought, maybe I should ramp up my yoga stretching and do more of it more often.
Enter the 30-day yoga challenge idea.
Now, I’m no fan of activity (or any other) challenges. I’ve blogged about it here. The thing is, I fear them. I fear I won’t complete them and then will feel like a failure. Why do I fear that I won’t complete them? Because, honestly, I just don’t feel in control of my life and activities all the time. Yeah, I know– welcome to the human race, Catherine. Still, there’s something daunting about the multi-day challenge that gets to me. I become resentful and want to rebel against it, even though it was entirely my idea.
But I read Laura Dragon’s blog post here about 366 days of yoga and was entranced. It stuck in my head and I kept thinking, maybe I can do this too. Maybe I want to do this. So I started 30 days ago. And I did it– I did some yoga for 31 days in a row.
Important clarification: there are loads of 30-day yoga challenges. I signed up for one of them and was immediately put off when the person on the video sat down in a pose that will always be impossible for me. On day one. That does not seem very encouraging. Looking around, I found the so-called beginner yoga challenge series heavy on the challenge, and light on the beginner parts. As someone who teaches logic, which many people find daunting, I can say that setting people up with goals they can’t reasonably meet is terrible pedagogy. Here is an example of a pose the beginners are supposed to do in their challenges:
This is just silly. Boat pose is cool, and there are so many modifications this pose, but the one shown is the hardest. If it’s really day 13 of yoga for you, this is likely not the your modification. Spare me the yoga fitspo please.
Instead of trying to follow some prescribed and canned 30-day yoga challenge program, I did a hodge-podge of things. I went to classes at my local studio. Sometimes I would do my own routine of poses on my mat at home. Also, I have some yoga DVDs for morning and evening and stress-relief yoga which I use. They last 20 minutes, which I can do most of the time, even if I’m tired.
Last week was particularly work-intensive, and a few nights I didn’t think I could even drag myself onto the mat to do 20 minutes. Enter youtube. There are 5–10 minute yoga-in-bed videos (of course there are). I used them a few times. On/in my bed, I would do some light stretching, cat/cow, child’s pose, some twists, legs up the wall, and be done with it. I decided that this counted as doing yoga, because in fact I was doing some yoga.
As of today, I’m at 31 days. I want to keep going. I’m so happy that I’ve had enough oomph and self-understanding and self-accommodation and good physical feedback (it seems like I’m less creaky overall) to get into this and see how much I
- often love doing yoga while in the moment,
- never really mind doing yoga even in a tired moment,
- love and admire myself for having done yoga.
Keeping my expectations low made this possible. On a few days, all I wanted to do was legs up the wall. So I did, and that counted as yoga for the day. But I found I generally wanted more than that, so I did more most of the time. But the deal between me and me was “some yoga each day”. Which I did. I’m doing it still.
Unless you’re doing a boxing every day challenge, in which case, go for it!