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Navigating Your Way Through a Yoga Challenge

by Gail Asbell


Yoga challenges are amazing journeys. 30 days on the mat is not an easy task. Not only does your practice change and develop immensely, but you develop other skills as well. From will power, to time management, and all the way to self-discipline, a challenge can teach us a lot and can trickle into our lives more than we’d expect.

We notice habits. Usually cancel that Saturday morning class at about 11.45pm on a Friday night? Or hit that snooze button 12 too many times come Monday morning? You’ll see the impact a lot more once you’ve made the commitment to practice everyday. You’ll also learn to put your needs and yourself first. And learn more about your limits and how to break through them.

As we embark on our Spring 30 Day Challenge we thought we’d share some common setbacks and how to get yourself back on track.

You’re tired and sore

This is bound to happen, especially if practicing everyday is a big change from your normal routine. When we push our bodies to the limit repeatedly, we start to fatigue.

The first thing to do here is to change the ‘edge’ you work to in classes depending on how you feel. You don’t always have to work to 100%, especially if you’re starting to over do it. Go to 70% and stay there. Or modify your practice and take variations. Learn to rest in class when you actually need it (tell the ego to shut up). Plus use yin as a ‘rest’ day during the challenge and get in as much as you can.

Then look to your sleep and your nutrition. Are you eating enough? And enough good stuff? Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re running on empty, you’re going to do more harm than good.

You’re finding it hard to get to class each day

This is where we learn time management skills and have to be brave enough to put our needs first. First and foremost, plan your classes for the week and stick to them. And book into them nice and early. This will act as additional motivation.

But often ‘life’ gets in the way of yoga. Meetings people schedule after hours, drinks and dinners with friends that go really late, people wanting your time. Or you simply feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do at home. When you make a commitment to yourself, sticking to it is an act of self love and self respect.

If you’d planned class and someone schedules an unexpected after hours meeting, push back a little if you can. If drinks are going late and you’ve booked into a 6am class, tell your friends you need your rest. Or simple ask your partner or a friend for help for one hour at home so you can hit the mat. Once you stop letting others’ needs come before yours, you’ll start to feel very empowered.

You’re lacking motivation

Maybe you’re halfway through and just a bit over it. Use your support networks or build a new one. The easiest way to get to the mat or eat a healthier diet is to know that someone else is doing it with you. Challenge with a friend, or make friends with those around you on the mat. Share stories, book classes together. Share recipes. And even share mishaps and slip ups. We’re all in this together.

You fall of the wagon completely

 Whether you’re doing just the yoga challenge, or you’re doing the yoga and nutrition challenge, there may be a day (or two) when you don’t make it to the mat or you don’t have the healthiest of meals. The first reaction is usually going to be judgment, criticism, and putting yourself down. Or wanting to give up completely. At the end of the day, remember that you’re the one who chose to take this on and the only person monitoring is you. And one or two days does not undo all the amazing work and dedication that goes into a 30 day challenge. Don’t beat yourself up.

The only thing to do is get back up on that horse and do the best you can. That’s all any of us can do.

And remember, we’re here to help you. If you have questions or need some advice, come talk to us in the studio.

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