For me, this was a very eye-opening experience. Not because I found Nirvana or discovered that I can twist myself into a neat little pretzel, but because I realized how difficult it really is just to shift gears for five minutes a day to anything other than the emergency that life often becomes.
And that is okay.
At the beginning of October I thought: “this will be too easy”, but by the time I reached mid-month and began packing to move overseas, going to one too many parties, last minute errands, airport hassles etc. I couldn’t possibly find the time. Yoga quickly became a last priority, and that just made me feel guilty and inadequate. What does that say about me? I’m not sure, and I don’t think it’s useful to analyze it. I do know that creating any sort of obligation made the endeavor less appealing, like required reading in school. Yuck. Next time, perhaps I should leave all expectations at the temple door and accept that I am just a person with choices to make, all of them divine, whether or not I hit the mat every single day.
I was happy to gets lots of feedback from a variety people who participated in the yoga challenge. The following are some comments from just a few of them:
Sienna, Age 5 (pictured above)
Q – Why do you like yoga so much?
Because you learn lots of poses. And the teacher taught us where yoga came from…India. And that the Indian dress is called a sari – but you have to do your yoga wearing Indian pants.
Q – What’s your favorite position in yoga?
Lotus- full not half.
Laura, Age 18
I did the yoga challenge more than once! Hah. I actually did it quite a lot…not everyday because I definitely did fall pray not as much to the “I’m too busy” but rather “I’m too hung over” hah. But ya, I thoroughly enjoyed the sun salutation…the name itself was enough to attract me. The poses were very effective and after a few times, where I was still attempting to remember the poses, it helped me to reach quite a calm state of mind. It was a lovely 10-minute break in my day that helped me to focus as well as feel as though I was being active. Thanks for giving me an excuse to find balance 😉
Sheila, Age 56
Overall, I found it great. I must admit though, that I was not always in a “yoga state of mind”. This is hard to accomplish while doing the sun salutations and watching a brand new episode of Desperate Housewives all at the same time. The benefits I have found are 1) starting the routine which I hope to continue 2) overall more nimble in all movements, less awkward. 3) Definite improvement in arm strength…wrist all the way up to upper arms which is what I need. 3) More conscious use of breath although this is still a weak spot for me.
At the conclusion of a yoga practice, it is customary to bring both hands to your heart, bow and say: “Namaste” (na ma-STAY). This is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “I bow to you” (nama = bow; “as” means I; “te” means you). This gesture represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within all of us, located in the heart, or heart chakra. By bringing your hands together at your heart, closing your eyes, and lowering your head, your spirit acknowledges the spirit of another. It may seem a little silly, but I find that even this simple gesture can remind me of everything beyond the room where I sit, and the body I am inside.
Thanks for your participation and support this month! I hope you enjoyed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge and continue your practice.