We recently completed a 31-day yoga challenge, doing 31 yoga classes in 31 days. This is what we learned:
Yoga is for everyone – In the 31 classes we attended, yogis were men and women, ranging in age (we're guessing) from 10 to 70. Tall. Short. Wide. Narrow. There were individuals with tattoos and facial piercings to clean-cut people. And people of all colors and cultures. Yoga class is as diverse as the people of the world.
There's a class for you – From Flow to Yin to Restorative, there's a yoga class for all levels. We also tried Yoga Therapy for Backs and Gentle Yoga, so even if you have physical limitations there are classes you can take. And if you're an athlete, there are classes for you, too. We attended Yoga for Athletes and while we didn't attend any, there are yoga classes specifically designed for golfers, runners and just about any sport a weekend warrior could indulge in.
Benefits come instantly – The benefits of the "Yoga for Backs" class were felt instantly, and as soon as we left, we were anxious to attend the next one (unfortunately, that particular class was only offered once per week). Sleep improved immediately and we were instantly more mindful of our bodies and postures. If you're unsure is right for you, just take one class and see how you feel!
There's no greater motivator than progress – When we first tried a couple of more advanced classes, we found some of the poses to be almost impossible. But even by the second class, we got noticeably closer to holding those poses. That progress meant we started looking forward to the next class to try those poses again.
Nobody is judging you – Everybody is on their own journey and everyone in the class understands that. There is absolutely no need to feel intimidated or self-conscious. Indeed, instructors often give alternative poses so that every yogi is at once both comfortable and challenged.
The instructor matters – Each instructor has a style. They're all wonderful leaders, of course, but some have a style that will suit you better than others. The flow of the class and the tone of the voice differ and matter, so find some instructors that you like.
You have to commit – While the benefits of yoga are well-known and we all want to include it in our lives, once we leave the studio, the rest of life takes over. To ensure you never miss a class, book them in advance and put them in your calendar. Like everyone else, we have very busy lives and only by putting all 31 classes in our calendar ahead of time were we able to schedule our other commitments around them.
See you on the mat! Cheers and Namaste.