500 Yoga Classes in 500 Days!

The story of my most recent yoga adventure began the end of October 2016 when YFT offered the November yoga challenge with the opportunity to win a Hawaii yoga retreat.  I decided to accept the challenge and found that with the flexibility in my life I did manage to make yoga a priority and completed 30 classes in November 2016.  As I was almost finished the 30 classes someone commented by the front desk: “why would you stop now”?  I felt that was a valid question.  I’d never regretted coming to a yoga class and always felt better after the class.  Yet when my life got busy or life presented challenges, yoga was the first thing to go from my routine and it often took a long while to get back on track.  I wondered if that could be different?

I’ve always loved the beginning of a new year so I began to consider the idea of making 2017 my “year of yoga”: completing 365 classes in 365 days.  Could I make that happen? Could I do so with a “yoga approach” instead of a typical “white knuckle” approach to big challenges?  I decided to start and see how it went while being open to the lessons along the way. I set up a calendar on my computer and got ready to track my classes. It was my intention to be on track by the end of each month while allowing a day without yoga when required and the opportunity to double up when needed.  That way I could have the flexibility to allow for success.

I don’t really recall a lot about the first months other than needing to work around weekends away and family visits.  My tracking system was helpful. I also took new classes and explored different instructors and fell into a routine.  It was not an option to “not” go to yoga, rather “when” was I going to yoga.  As the year continued, it got easier.  I planned around vacation times so that I could bank some extra classes before I went away or do a little bit of catch up when I returned. It just became what I did – I made yoga a priority.  I realized later in 2017 that something had truly changed when I would leave my house to go to yoga in the cold or when it was snowing without giving that a second thought.  In my past cold and snow were times that it was always easiest just not to leave the house.

I completed 367 classes in 2017 – two extra classes in hand.  But along the way to the end of the year I again began to consider the idea of “why stop now”?  Which changed to “I can’t stop this now”!  So I haven’t stopped and in May completed my 500th class.

What has been fascinating to me is that in the first months of 2018 there have been some big changes to my daily routines. I doubled my work hours as my husband’s income was dramatically reduced.  But in spite of a large shift in the demands on my time there is no way that I would consider not making yoga a priority.

What are the benefits? What have I learned?

  • I am very much more aware of my stress levels and how they impact how my body feels.  When I am on my mat I can check in with myself and truly “let go” of stress from my day. I’m more aware of where I hold stress in my body.
  • I have a lot more awareness of my busy brain.  When I go to class it’s easy to notice when the chatter in my head is persistent and that’s often a good day to stay for a second class.  That way I bring home a calm and relaxed “me” home.
  • I’ve learned the benefits of slowing down and being more aware of my thoughts and my body
  • I’ve learned how to sit with discomfort and allow it to pass in yin class and take that approach into my life off my mat
  • I’ve learned to accept that I truly bring a different “me” to class each time and that’s okay
  • I’ve become more accepting of myself and as a result of others as well
  • I have fewer headaches, aches and pains.  When I do notice discomfort in my body I know of ways to ease that discomfort and release it even between classes
  • I think that I’m stronger and more flexible – but those aspects also change from class to class as it is a different body I bring each day. It’s become more about continuing the practice than being able to complete the perfect pose.  Though I still love it when my “tree” is “yoga journal” worthy J!

With so many classes to choose from and fabulous instructors, I truly can’t imagine my life without Yoga For Today.

My next intentions – 2 “years of yoga” and then 1000 classes in 1000 days J, because I can’t stop now!

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