What is a Yoga Challenge?

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Image source: http://www.zliving.com/

BY MELISSA GOODMAN

Yoga challenges have become very popular over the past few years and they continue to grow through the use of multimedia. Two of the most popular challenges are the thirty classes in thirty days or the thirty poses for thirty days. There are other variations but we will explore the benefits of these two.  

Studios host most but not all challenges. This is a great way to draw new students into the studio and get them started on their yoga path or to inspire the more advanced practitioners to continue their journey.

Thirty classes in thirty days: This appears simple enough; participate in thirty classes over the course of the month. A great inspiration to get students into the studio daily. This takes some planning on the student’s part to carve out time in their busy schedule to commit to growing their practice, this commitment can lead to a great sense of accomplishment through increased strength, flexibility and balance. At the end of the month the benefits of the challenge will not only be seen in the physical body but felt on a much deeper level.

There are some considerations before and during your challenge. If you have an acute injury like a sore ankle it is best to allow yourself time to heal. If you decided to participate in the challenge with an injury respect your body and don’t push yourself during the challenge. Take the modifications in class and move in a safe manner that supports your body. It is best to pace yourself and vary the classes in which you participate. For instance on a day when it seems impossible to go to the studio because of sore muscles or fatigue, allow yourself to indulge in a slower, quiet practice maybe taking a Yin and Restorative class.  Most studios have a range of classes, teachers and styles. During the thirty classes it is best to take the opportunity to experience all that the studio has to offer.

Thirty poses for thirty days: This challenge is typically performed outside the studio. Lists of poses are outlined, one for each day. The student is to take a picture of themselves in the pose and post it online tagging the studio. This challenge can be great as it only takes a few minutes each day to complete.

Some considerations for this challenge are to respect your body and always warm up before coming into any pose. Stay humble, there is little guidance with these challenges, just because the picture shows the advanced version of the pose does not mean your pose has to look like that, do your best and photograph where you are in your practice. If you are unsure about a pose, ask the studio for guidance.

These challenges should be approached with an open mind and room for flexibility within the structure.  They are a great gift that will lead you to a deeper understanding of your body and mind while building a community with your fellow yogis. Remember these are called challenges not competitions.

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