August 11, 2013

3 Important Tips for 30-Day Challengers. ~ Erica Singer

Exactly one month after my June 30-Day Yoga Challenge, I’ve had a good amount of time to reflect on the highs, the lows and the emotional/physical roller coaster that is yoga.

Since I know the fitness world is now obsessed with 30-day challenges, my goal is to help others attempting to partake in what is understandably both an intimidating and overwhelming task: 30 Days of Straight-Up Exercise (cues the scary music from Psycho).

But don’t fret! The following are some helpful tips to get you through this and hopefully make it meaningful.

1. Commitment: Personally, I consider this the foundation for completing any 30-day challenge. Sometimes, it means going to yoga when all your friends are hanging out; other times, it means ending a weekend trip a little earlier in order to get to that 23rd class and not fall behind—a source of (unwarranted) stress for any Challenger in it for the long hall.

Often, it simply means regularly checking the class times in order to see which ones fit with your schedule. In other words, you need to plan in advance and be organized. So with that, I emphasize commitment.

2. Intention: A lot of times, you hear yoga instructors say this word and I believe it’s one that often goes overlooked. While it’s important to set an intention before each class in order to ground and remind yourself of why you came to class, I think setting an overall intention for the Challenge is particularly important. After all, if you go intention-less, why the hell would you want to do the same thing every single day for a month if it did not include ice cream or the beach?

For me, it was because I often consider both ice cream and the beach as equivalent to my practice, where the studio is my beach and my practice is the ice cream. And yes, I am craving JP Licks right now, but that’s beside the point.

So yeah, please intend away!!

3. Patience/Mindfulness. This is a unique tip because it combines two terms that I believe to be truly linked when it comes to yoga. It also hits close to home for me, as I unfortunately and admittedly violated this tip—one that is essential to a Challengers’ physical safety.

In a practice that generally involves distorting the body in various forms, it is absolutely crucial that you take both patience and mindfulness to heart—especially when going everyday. This means mixing up the classes in order to not to do the same sequence and style everyday, as putting stress on the same muscles in the same way on a daily basis may be harmful to the body.

This could also mean resting in a child’s pose for half the class; accepting that a crazy arm balance takes time, not doing every single chaturanga, or even falling asleep for majority of the 30th class, which I may or may not have done. In any case, both patience and mindfulness are Key to the challenge.

These are what I consider the three most crucial tips for safely and successfully completing your 30-Day journey.

I hope these find you well, and wish any of you attempting to do this the best of luck.

Remember, it’s not about getting the number, but simply growing and deepening a practice that truly requires Commitment, Intention, and Patience/Mindfulness.

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Assistant Ed: J. Andersson/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Erica Singer