A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
Last Friday marked the final day of my 100 days of yoga challenge. While I was not able to perfect my scorpion pose just yet, I learned a lot about yoga. Before I start my next challenge, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what these past 100 days taught me. And what place to reflect than on a nice warm, sunny beach, miles and miles away from the snow and cold of home.
So, here are some of the lessons I learned, and will look to carry forward with me.
1. Take at least 5 minutes a day to reflect on yourself
During the challenge there were definitely days when I did not have time for a 60 or 75 or 90 minute yoga practice. Some days I did not even have time for a 30 minute workout. But I always had time to take 5 minutes to reflect on myself. Whether it was 5 minutes in the morning to practice some sun salutations or 5 minutes in my office to simply close my eyes and relax, there is always time for some self-reflection. Our days are always full of stress and to do lists and various responsibilities. Be sure to make time for yourself, every day.
2. Look forward
The key to successfully completing many balance poses is to look forward. Often it is finding a spot out in front of you to focus on, to take your mind off the uncomfortable pose you may be in (you can be uncomfortable, just never in pain). I found that I could hold my balance postures, for example crow pose, much longer when I focused on looking forward. Translating yoga to our daily life, always look forward. It is great to have something to look forward to. Two weeks ago Meghan and I booked a 4-day mini vacation to the beach to get out of the cold, and it was basically the only thing that got me through work.
3. Anyone can do yoga
You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. You don’t need to be strong. You don’t have to be able to run a mile. And you can even be my 4-year old godson whose class does yoga everyday. Yoga doesn’t have to be downward dogs, and scorpion poses, and chaturangas. As I mentioned before, yoga is about taking the time for yourself, to reflect, to step away from the business of the every day and clear your mind.
4. Yoga improves your balance and strength, not just in body but also in mind
Yoga has a great way of clearing your mind. Maybe it is because no cell phones are allowed in the yoga studio. Maybe it is the fact that yoga forces to focus on your breath and your balance instead of wondering what you need to do when you get back into the office. And yoga will improve your physical strength as well.
Well, now that I have finished my yoga challenge, what is next? Tonight is the Fit Test and then I start P90X3. It will be a challenging 90 days for sure, but I will keep you posted on how it goes.