Part 1: The physical aspect of change
In the beginning of this 30 day challenge, I shared my goals.
I said, “I would concentrate on two aspects of my yoga practice; 1)consistently using breath to move me into, through, and out of each posture and 2) exercise acceptance and curiosity in each pose, in any given moment.”
I posted photos of the poses ( the photos above inside the studio) I was choosing to use to monitor my progress.
Due to the pain I felt in my shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, my mobility was limited.
Because I excercised acceptance and curiosity, I found where I held my breath, and created resistance in certain postures. This resistance generated muscle tension and strain.
Being committed everyday has helped me to improve my overall focus and flexibility, as well as altering the depth of my stretch in the postures.
I have also notice, the level of pain in my hips, knees, elbows and shoulders is almost non-existent.
In Part 2, I will share with you the non-physical affects I have notice as a result of this challenge.
Stepping outside of a routine brings a deeper awareness.
Today, I practiced yoga with the intent to focus on what I was feeling. I tried keeping my eyes closed so I could stay focused. Although, the instructor demonstrated several poses I have never done before, so I kept my eyes open long enough to get the instruction, and then turned closed them.
How ironic, he asked if we were feeling frustrated or mad. I guess, I was not the only one who was experiencing some frustration. I struggled just trying to get into the pose let alone hold it.
He questioned, “if you are feeling irritated, is this a familiar pattern that arises when you don’t get what you want?“
Our emotions contain valuable information if we are patient enough to embrace them.
Support is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows your strength.
If your body is not capabable of doing a pose without modification or support, don’t push yourself into the posture. You can create unnecessary strain or injury.
In my 20’s, while giving birth, I sustained injury to my lower back. Due to this injury there are some poses where I need modification, and or support. Malasana is one of those poses for me.
While in this posture, and without support, I have to lean forward I experience discomfort in my hips, and a strain on my ankles because I have to spread my feet out so far to hold myself up.
The support of a block will gradually ease the tightness in my hips, and provide me the release, and flexibility I need to sit up straighter, and eventually sit in Malasana without discomfort.
Don’t strain, it’s not worth the pain.
Balancing postures have always been my biggest challenge. I used to get so frustrated.
In this posture, I wobbled just raising one foot off the ground. If I could successfully get past the wobble, I hurried through the forward bend, and landed in a yoga pose called “Balancing Stick.” I was lucky if I could hold this pose for one to two seconds.
Learning to apply focus with each move was the key to locating a sense of balance. Standing on two feet, raising both arms above the head, and behind the ears, then bending at the hips while raising one leg behind you, and keeping the standing leg Quadracept and abdomen engaged, and continually coming forward until both the arms and the leg are parallel with the ground. Viola! . Never breaking focus is the magic! I am now able to hold this pose a good 30 seconds.
Focus is the key to success, not only on the mat, but off the mat too.
Center your attention on focus and watch the magic unfold.
In 2015, I exercised very little. I remember the longer I went without exercising, the more I felt physically vulnerable. I didn’t like that feeling.
Having a regular exercise routine builds muscle mass and self- confidence.
The increased self-confidence I feel, is partially due to the decreased level of pain in my shoulders, elbows, hips and knees since I started this 30 day challenge.
I also felt strong enough to confront a life long fear of heights.
Today I was able to climb a tree and get into “tree pose.”