The challenge of the challenge

Well here we are, half way through the month so about half way through the yoga challenge. Half way through these sorts of things typically uncovers different sorts of challenges, like the ones to keep going. If you are an old hat at the yoga challenge concept, you know that it is typically around now the push to keep up the efforts becomes that much more of a conscious decision. You may be starting to skip more classes, or even trying to double up on certain days to ease off the pressure on others. Chances are there is a lull in the enthusiasm, or worse yet, a complacency in the practice.

So here we will take the time to contemplate the motives behind the challenge in the first place. Why is it we embark on such an endeavour and why is it that studios offer it on such a regular basis? The answer is simple – bhakti – devotion. A big portion of what it is to practice yoga is the devotion to a regular practice. In other words, for those who are deeply committed, practice is a lifestyle. We offer these challenges as an opportunity not to just practice more, but rather to provide an insight as to what it is to find true devotion to the art.

As one reveals yoga into one’s life, as opposed to simply one’s agenda, one discovers that physical asana practice barely scratches the surface. In the spirit of the challenge, we hope that you are able to find a frequency of yoga in a way that carries on in a sustainable fashion. A devoted practice vastly becomes a tool that creates and continues to provide balance in your life, rather than just being something you schedule in.

If you are feeling that lack of enthusiasm to carry on, bear in mind that this is normal. Try taking classes that you have yet to try, different styles or different teachers can renew your enthusiasm for your practice. If you have been typically involved in mostly higher energy practices, it is also important to recognize the need for physically passive classes at this point, if you have not already. Yin, Restorative and Nidra all compliment an active practice in a significant way and can reunite you with your enthusiasm for yoga.

On the flip side, if you have settled into a daily yoga routine easily, it is possible that there is a complacency in your practice. As the physical motions become a little more predictable and the ujjayi breathe gets placed on auto pilot, coming to the mat begins to lack the presence it once provided. We come to our mats each time like beginners. Our bodies change even in a 24 hour period, so while gradual advances are made over time in physical asana, it is a challenge to keep the mind open as though you are practicing for the first time. Even the tiniest considerations can place you back in that mind set though. Consider using props, trying new modifications, pushing the boundaries, dialling back, or even just closing your eyes for as much in your practice as possible. Little changes make a big difference!

Good luck with the rest of your challenge! You are nearly there!

~by Chelsea Lees

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