“I, Erika, do solemnly declare that I will practice yoga for forty days in a row. If I miss a day, I start back at day one and continue this process until I have practiced yoga for forty days in a row.”
Since making this commitment to my yoga practice, I have been rolling out my yoga mat each and every day.
As I finished my 40th practice last week to achieve my goal, I was surprised when I was overcome with emotion and wept a few quiet tears of happiness as I lay there in shavasana.
I did it! I had achieved my intention to “show up on my yoga mat every day, no matter how I am feeling or what else I have to do, even if it’s just for a short practice”.
Sometimes it was for 10 minutes, sometimes 30. Sometimes it was relaxing and rejuvenating, sometimes it was energetic and uplifting.
But I think that has to be one of the best aspects of cultivating a home yoga practice – I could take to the mat each day and do what felt right for me in that moment of time.
Regardless of whether I was tired, happy, emotional, energetic, grumpy or sleepy, yoga was there for me in whatever way I needed it to be.
I learned a lot about myself through the process, especially how I dealt with some of the more challenging aspects of creating a home yoga practice to make it work for me.
My mindset has changed about so many things.
Where I can practice yoga – I don’t need a dedicated yoga space, in fact it’s lovely to be able to move my yoga mat wherever I like, whether it be in the lounge room when it’s cold and rainy outside or outdoors on a beautiful sunny day.
How long I need to practice for – even 10 minutes of yoga is great if that’s all I can do or feel I need on a particular day. In fact, if I was to add this up it would work out to be more time spent on my mat than my previous yoga class, PLUS I’m getting the benefit of experiencing yoga every day rather than at one set time each week.
I can work practice in with family life – making the most of my available times and being accepting of any noise and interruptions was my greatest challenge. Somehow I managed to take it all in my stride and realised that I can still practice yoga at home with this all going on around me.
As time went on, I also found the count of days was a big influence. I didn’t want to have to reset back to zero, especially when I was up to 30-something days of yoga. It really motivated me to keep going, even when I was tired or grumpy and didn’t have much left to give.
But I also felt like there was something ‘more’ pulling me towards my yoga mat. I was not longer placing yoga at the bottom of my priority list. I really wanted and looked forward to getting on that yoga mat and practicing whatever my body or mind needed on that particular day.
After writing my first post about my commitment to 40 days of yoga, it was lovely to hear from other people who had been inspired to roll out their yoga mat. Even more beautiful was seeing my own children showing an interest in yoga and starting to join me in on the yoga mat occasionally, particularly if this was before bedtime and I was doing a nice, relaxing sequence in my pyjamas. I have discovered that I really enjoy the slow, rejuvenating and restorative aspects of yoga and get so much more out of these, rather than the more physical, body shaping practices.
I am grateful for the 40 days of yoga book by Kara-Leah Grant that got me started on this journey and helped me work through some of the blocks that was holding me back from consistently keeping up my yoga.
I am also thankful for online yoga videos, with my particular favourite being Yoga With Adriene. Most days I used one of these videos to guide my home practice, adapting some poses or adding in a few extra poses depending on how I was feeling on any given day. While I hope in time that I will be able to create my own sequence, for now there are so many video options available on the YWA You Tube channel that I am never without something to suit my mood on a particular day. Thank you Adriene!
I went into this challenge with the motivation to develop a clearer mindset and calmer mood to help me better able to cope with the demands of motherhood. I also wanted to be able to practice at home without the need of working out the logistics of getting there and fitting it into my family’s schedule or adding the cost of classes into the family budget.
Thankfully I achieved this but so much more. I realise that it doesn’t matter how much time I spent on the mat each day. A little really can go a long way and I’m feeling so much better for making time for myself each and every day.
Do you practice yoga? Have you ever considered completing a 40 day home yoga challenge?