We’re done with our challenge and we’re super impressed with everyone who participated! We know that it’s not always easy to make space in your schedule, and life always happens, so don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to make your goal each week. There are also lots of other ways to challenge yourself within your practice, so don’t just focus on the numbers, and always look for ways to continuously push yourself to be better. Here are a few ideas to continue challenging yourself – see if anything resonates with you!
- Move closer to the mirror: Maybe you like to hide in the back of the room, but the closer you are to the mirror, the easier it is to check your alignment. You don’t need to be perfect to be in front and it will change your practice!
- Notice and break your habits: If you always take a break or drink water at the same place in class (especially if it’s an excuse to skip your least favorite posture,) try to just keep going instead. Neuroplasticity of the human brain allows for reorganization of synaptic connections with repetition, which means there’s hope! Habits are changeable.
- Don’t wear a full coverage shirt when you practice: Not to show off more skin, but to remind you to suck your belly in, engage your abdominal muscles, and activate your lower energy locks – mula bandha and uddiyana bandha . The mirror can be a very helpful tool!
- Match each movement with breath: Yoga is union between mind and body, and your breath is the connective tool. Ideally every movement is coupled with either an inhale or an exhale, and as you grow more familiar with the breath you’ll recognize that some movements are better aided by one side of the breath than the other. In general, inhales lift you and exhales take you deeper.
- Keep the monkey mind at bay: Often we don’t notice when we’re swept up in thought – the constant chatter in our minds continues right through our practice. Try your best to stay present in the room – listen to the teacher and apply it directly to your practice. When you focus on your breath and the posture, trying to maintain total body awareness throughout, your practice becomes a form of moving meditation.
- Be kind to yourself: Notice when the chatter in your mind turns negative. We tend to be hyper critical of ourselves, and it’s easy to slip into a spiral of self shaming and criticizing. Stay conscious of your thoughts and practice self love and gratitude.