We have just finished up our Tenth Annual Thirty Day Challenge here in Portsmouth. The question I have heard most, after how do I stay hydrated?, is why a 30-day challenge?
Here are seven reasons we challenge ourselves for thirty days.
It takes 30 days to build a habit. That’s it. Just thirty days. It takes 90 days to break a habit, so we’re giving you the easy option. Train yourself to make yoga a habit in your life. Don’t think. Don’t rationalize. Don’t let anyone steal your 90 minutes of peace. Just go.
Don’t think. Just go.
Make time for yoga. One of the biggest struggles for the 30-day challenger is time management. One of our students calls it the 30-day family challenge, as it takes coordination of the whole family for her to participate. Everyone has to pull their weight to get Mom to yoga.
There will always be a reason you can’t make time for you. Always. Even when the kids go off to college. Even when you get that new job with more vacation time. Even when you finally retire. The 30-day challenge helps you force yourself to make time for you and for your health NOW. Before it’s too late.
“You’ll have plenty of time to rest when you’re dead.” -Terry Warburton
Humans thrive on challenges. There are few times in your life that feel better than taking on a seemingly-insurmountable challenge and over-coming it. Our bodies were designed to receive chemical rewards for our struggle so we would continue to track that deer for another five miles to finally make the kill. We float on a hormonal stew of reward when we push our bodies for thirty days without stopping.
Prove to yourself you can do more than you think. Our mind is usually our worst enemy and yoga is no exception. Self-made limitations and self-denigrating thoughts hide the true capabilities of our bodies and our minds. For thirty days, you prove your mind wrong again and again.
Build your support system. When the whole studio is doing the 30-day challenge, there are dozens of yogis each day facing the same struggle as you. We all do better with a strong community to support us. To lift us up when we struggle. To celebrate with us when we triumph. During the 30-day challenge, our community gets even stronger from these shared experiences.
“You can’t work this hard and not start to love yourself.” -Kathy K.
Learn to love yourself. In the words of our friend, Kathy, “You can’t work this hard and not start to love yourself.” Facing yourself in the mirror each day. Showing up when all you want to do is go home. Pushing yourself through the 56th camel that month. Each of these small victories work to defeat that voice inside your head that says you can’t, you’re not good enough and no one will ever love you.
Of course you can’t do a 30-day challenge. You have too many responsibilities. You’re not strong enough. You don’t have enough time. You have RA or back pain or a fractured foot. You don’t want to. You have a sick mother, a new dog, a long commute. You are too stressed, too tired, to stiff.
These are the exact same reasons to try.
See you on the mat.
Sara Curry is a Bikram Yoga teacher and studio owner from Southern Maine. She chose to become a yoga teacher after this therapeutic series helped her rehabilitate from herniated discs in 2001. After two pregnancies with no back pain, her faith in the healing modality of yoga is ever-strengthened.