What I Learned From Failing A Yoga Challenge
There were many reasons why I decided to sign up for a 35 Day Challenge at Yoga Santosha. The biggest reason was to get over a mental hurdle... the hurdle of not completing or failing a challenge back in 2009, where not only did I not complete the 35 days, but I also did not return to the studio for almost a year. By the time I had... I was overwhelmed with shame and it was an uphill climb to get back to a place of self love.
So 5 years later, I decided to give it a try again. And well... I failed again! But I sure did learn some good stuff and I am still full of fierce self love.
- Taking part of a challenge forced me to take classes with teachers I would not have otherwise. I noticed that I made flash judgements about teachers, whether I knew them or not. It made me question my reaction and ask why. I dont think I need to love every teachers style at a studio or in the city, but its not about the person or how they teach. It was about me. When I take responsibility for my feelings it leads to a lot more freedom... and a lot more oozing of LOVE.
- I loved putting my sticker up on the board... and if I had put all 35 stickers on that board I would not have come face-to-face with a deep seeded belief of your not good enough. That might not sound like a great thing but it is. I got to lean into those uncomfortable feelings, to remind myself that a sticker is just a sticker... not myself worth. Oh and if anyone else judges me on how many stickers were beside my name - than that is their issue, not mine.
- Whether I practice 1 day, 3 days or 6 days a week in studio I still started to see familar faces. Not only that, I started to feel part of the community and it had nothing to do with the yoga challenge. There is no badge of honor that you get to wear if you practice everyday at any one particular studio. We are all people, just trying to get our yoga on when we can.
- For the past few years I have gleefully labeled myself a lazy yogi. Whether I label myself or let others label me, it is no excuse to avoid certian practices. All styles of yoga have value, whether I like it or not. I don't need to practice power yoga everyday, but I can still handle it and I should not sell myself short. Not that I needed convincing... Yin and Restorative practices are a godsend.
- Challenge regulations required all the practices to be in studio and for me that was tough. Between no fixed address and work schedule, getting to the studio everyday was not an option. Most often, I stuck true to the challenge and practiced at home. Home practice feeds me in a different way than studio practice. I need both and both have value.
- Each individual posture has unlimited varitations and depending on the intention of the practice and the day we use specific variations to serve us. When I entered my first challenge my intentions were not pure and they were superficial and misguided. It was about the look, not the act. This time round, I had clear and supportive intentions. I wanted to created more accountibilty around my personal practice. I wanted to ground down into my yoga during a time of uncertainty and craziness in life. I wanted to practice Being Here Now.
And finally... that I love myself just as much in failure as in success. But when I look at it like this, I realize I did not fail at all. In fact I'd say it was a total success!