What comes to your mind when you hear the words 30 Day Yoga Challenge? A bit of anxiety? I’ll never be able to do that! … Annoyance? that’s not yoga! … Excitement? I can’t wait to get back on track and PUSH myself … Perhaps even a little tiredness? this year’s given us enough ‘challenges’!
If any of that sounds familiar check the following tips to help get you in the right mindset and prepare for your 30 day challenge!
1. Set your intention for the challenge
The very word ‘challenge’ implies hard work, effort and reaching some kind of goal. So it would be quite natural for us to feel some of the things described above. But what if we saw this challenge as an act of kindness and love towards ourselves? Something to nudge us towards taking a little time out each day to pause, breathe and reconnect with ourselves. Allowing us to recharge our systems and be strong for those around us who need us.
“Set your intention to practice purely for the love of practising…Honouring your body in every way.” Esther Ekhart
2. Listen to your body
Remember it’s a challenge, not a punishment! So most importantly, during the challenge, listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right in a pose, it probably isn’t! Change it by coming out of the pose a little and exploring what feels right for your body – there’s no ‘perfect-shaped’ pose to aim for.
Each week there will be a more gentle, therapeutic class so you can always swap classes if you need to. Or if you want to repeat a class you loved instead of the scheduled one, then go for it. It’s all about showing up on your mat and doing something for yourself even if it’s just some deep breathing or Savasana.
We’ve created a balanced mix of classes so you won’t be launching into hard-core Vinyasas every day but if daily yoga is a lot more than you’re used to, make sure you take extra care around areas such as your wrists – read 5 tips to avoid wrist pain in yoga.
3. Pick a regular time of day to practice
Many people find it easier to pick a regular time of the day to practice. This helps us to form a habit and reduces some of the decision making that can prevent us from getting started. It can also help to attach a new habit to something we’re already regularly doing on an automatic basis – like cleaning your teeth or making your morning brew – so that your mind begins to associate your daily practice with an already deeply-integrated habit.
If it’s not possible to stick to the same time each day because of other commitments, try planning when you will practice a few days in advance. The general idea is to reduce thinking time and distractions that may prevent you from getting on the mat each day. Other ways to do this could be to bookmark your class the night before or set out your mat and yoga clothes.
4. Keep track of your progress
Mark your classes off the calendar or use your own journal. Write down the name of the class and focus only on what you enjoyed about it – be it a physical ‘achievement’ or something as simple as ‘this made me feel happy’. Seeing a (growing) list of positive comments will positively reinforce your choice and keep you practising. You might be surprised how different you feel as the challenge progresses.
5. Get motivation from the EkhartYoga community
Everything is easier with support from friends! As well as Esther’s live class on August 31st to start us off, there will be a live class on 14th September midway through the challenge (around the time resolutions tend to drop off!). There’ll also be a live class on October 1st to round off the month together.
Join the EkhartYoga Facebook group and share your experiences. You might find other members across the world who want to practice at the same time as you. Or invite a friend to join you and motivate each other.