4 Lessons Learned From the 30 Day Yoga Challenge

woman meditating near water

Woohoo – I did it and that rocked!

Waking up on Sunday morning and realizing it was day 30, the final day of the yoga challenge was a mix of surprise, joy and a little pride as well.

I really wasn’t sure about doing this and even more unsure that I would be able to stick with it. Now I can honestly say, it was one of the best things I’ve done and am SO glad I decided to commit and give it a try.

I have had a home practice for over a year now but I had never practiced daily before. As the weeks went on, I started to see real changes in myself, my thoughts, how I dealt with daily life and how much more peaceful and relaxed I felt overall.

Here are a few of things I learned along the way.
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Opening Your Heart

stones stacked up along side a stone in the shape of a heart

This month, my post for DoYouYoga is about one of my favorite terminologies used in yoga for lifting your front body and depending on the pose, rotating forward: open your heart.

I wrote about how moving through poses like cobra, up dog and triangle pose with the intention to open and lift your heart not only assists with understanding the physical alignment of the poses but takes us to a deeper place of intention.

Just as being hunched over or feeling closed off is going to make it much more difficult to get fully in to many yoga asanas, feeling this way often has the same effect on us in our daily life. Things seem harder, heaver and far more serious than they sometimes are or need to be.

What I didn’t write about was how difficult this can be, especially off the mat.
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Meditation – Learning to Sit

beautiful picture of a woman meditating on a dock over water

This is a kind of part II of my post on the benefits of meditation. You can read it by clicking here: Meditation – Making Time For the Present Moment.

Meditation is a practice of “not doing”, it’s asking ourselves to stop – everything, like a mental time out. It is a practice of stillness of the mind and body.

This is one of the reasons I think that for most of us, meditation seems so difficult, weird or out there.

Because we live in a culture where busyness is valued.
Being busy all the time means we are important.
It means we are doing great things, we are popular, we are valued.
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Meditation – Making Time For The Present Moment

close up of a pink orchid

Quiet Mind and Open Heart

Meditation is something I’ve been trying to make more a part of my life for some time now. I’ll be honest, I have not been the best about setting aside time on a regular basis to keep up a consistent practice but when I think of all the benefits, I have to admit it’s worth it to start looking at ways to make the time.

Much like yoga, learning to meditate has caused me to make big shifts in what I’m used to doing. Because the thing is, it’s all about not doing and that in itself can be difficult to grasp.

Here’s why stopping or not doing, is a good thing:

Every day, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning, our mind is going at full steam. We are often caught up in the past, making plans for the future, worrying, wondering, but rarely is our mind still and rarely are we 100% fully in the moment.
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What Really Matters

picture of a buddha with a quote from the Dalai Lama

When I first read about Kristen Stewart’s affair with her married, “Snow White and the Huntsman” director, several thoughts went through my mind.

How stupid can they be?

What? His wife is a model!

Why is this so common?

Because as we all know, Hollywood affairs seem to happen all the time. It’s hardly news anymore. In fact, a famous couple still going strong after several years – now that’s news.
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Creating The Way

What if we saw the pain and fear in others and tried to help?

What if there was no shame associated with asking for help of any kind?

What if living a life of kindness, generosity, integrity and joy was more important than how much money we made or what we drove?

What if your family was hungry so your neighbors feed you, sent you home with leftovers and invited you back the next day?

What if, when someone lost their home, for any reason, their community helped them establish a new place to live and helped them move?

What if fast food commercials were replaced with where to shop at and ways to support local farms and markets?

What if doctors managed ailments or concerns with diet, exercise, therapy and stress management instead of another pill?

What if we supported and helped each other face our fears, insecurities and heal pain from the past?

And what if, in doing this, we wiped out domestic violence, sexual crimes, verbal and emotional abuse?

What if we could see how we are all connected and our survival, even our daily peace and happiness, is dependent on how we treat each other and how we see the world?

What if we viewed all children as a glimpse in to our future and truly understood, the way they are treated and valued, educated, abused and neglected or loved and well cared for today is like looking in to a crystal ball and seeing the future of our our neighborhoods, communities, society and world as a whole?

Believing in something and staying open to all possibilities – creates the way.

head of a buddha statue