The greatest yogis I know, aren’t necessarily those who get on their mat and practice asana on a daily basis. They’re the people who commit to a mindful, conscious lifestyle day in & out. Working the deeper teachings of yoga into their lives off their mat, into their relationship with others, and with themselves.
Which is why the intention of this challenge isn’t to attend the maximum number of classes that you can in a short time period (which is rarely sustainable), but rather to create LASTING habits in your life that serve to better your over-all well-being - AND to serve as a reminder for ways we can bring the deeper & more subtle aspects of Yoga off of our mats and into our daily lives. Your practice on your mat is only as valuable as the positive patterns it creates in the other areas of your life. So enjoy your practice here, at home, at work, and wherever your life takes you, and watch what a positive impact the other aspects of yoga have on your whole life!
To Enter in the Challenge: Sign up online or in person, FOR FREE! Your name will be added to the challenge board & you’ll become a part of the community that will help hold each other up and keep each other accountable, as you develop a deeper practice – Together!
How it works: Over the 30 day span (from Feb. 26 - March 27), you will work to bring all of the below positive habits into your day, week, and month, and watch your life light up with ease & joy! You can work on the items in the list, in ANY ORDER (and you may want to start some of the items sooner than later). For each item on the list that you complete, you’ll put a sticker on the board at the studio (under that task number), and watch you and your friends grow. "Completed" items, are those that have been finished, so for example, item #1, is a 30-day commitment, so the sticker would be placed at the END of the challenge, after all 30 days were complete. Many of the items on our list will be completed at home, or in your own time, and as so, we are working on the honesty policy: Your honest effort, and your honest collection of stickers will be part of the challenge!
What you get: The biggest reward you’ll get from this challenge is the positive life-changing habits that will support your over-all well-being, and create sustainable change for the better. But, we’ll add in one more bonus: For each person who completes the challenge, you be entered into a draw for 3 MONTHS of unlimited yoga classes with us! And if you don't complete all of the items, there's no punishment, there's no shame, so why not TRY, and give it your best honest attempt?
Below is the list of items, of which you are to work to complete over the 30 days. Note that some items are to be done daily, weekly, or semi-regularly, so make sure you take a read through, and start on day 1! Below each item in the list, is a description, and explanation as to how the habit will benefit you, and how it relates to yoga. So even if you're not participating (though you really should!), then you can have a read through and learn so much more about yoga. Participants will be emailed the full list before the challenge begins as well.
1. Start & End your day with a full glass of water – every day for all 30 days!
Most of our population lives in a constant state of dehydration, leading to many different ailments. Starting your day with a big glass of water, wakes up your internal systems and especially your digestive system so you’re prepared for your first meal. Ending the day with a glass of water helps to flush your system and keep you hydrated all 24 hours of the day.
2. Keep a Gratitude journal for every day of the challenge!
Each of the 30 days of our challenge, write down three things that you’re grateful for that day. You can write it in your phone, on your computer, in a journal, on scrap paper (and keep it), or wherever. Strive to find something different every day to be grateful for! Recalling and feeling into the emotion of gratitude is a simple way to shift your perspective and re-pattern your brain to recognize the good & positive things, as much, or more than the negative. And the bonus of writing these things down, is that you build a collection of moments and memories that made (and will continue to make) you feel grateful, so the benefits last longer & continue to support your well-being. And as one of the great yoga masters has said “The Attitude of Gratitude is the highest yoga” – Yogi Bhajan.
3. Make time for at least 3 minutes of quiet stillness for at least 17 days in a row.
In our often overly filled, busy lives, we’ve forgotten the value of stillness and quiet. As we discuss with many aspects of yoga, in order to create or bring in something new, you need to have the space for it to fit into. Taking a few minutes each day to be still, be silent, and observe your thoughts, your breath, your body, is one small way you can make space in your life for something new, or something creative (even if you don’t know what that is). It’s often been said that it takes 17 days of repeating something to create a habit. So maybe after the first 17 days, it will become a part of your daily routine.
4. Give a sincere compliment to someone (anyone) for at least 10 days in a row.
This can be to different, or the same people. Practicing sharing your admiration is a great way to spread joy & love! And a great way to start to bring more awareness to the people you appreciate in your life.
5. Give a sincere compliment to YOURSELF for at least 10 days in a row.
It doesn’t have to be written down, but do try saying it aloud (while no-one is around). When we retrain our brains to recognize the things we like about ourselves, we begin to remove self-destructive thoughts & habits that don't serve us. The human brain naturally developed a negativity bias (looking for & placing higher importance on the things that could harm us, be dangerous, or are just negative) to protect us. But this is no longer serving us. This means that we have to work twice as hard (or some say 5x as hard) to recognize the positive in a situation, and in ourselves, to overcome the negative.
6. Do a meditation and / or pranayama practice every day for at least 10 days in a row.
If you need resources for this, our own Bridgette Shaw-Bane has some great FREE meditations and pranayams on her website, or ask any of our teachers when you’re here for class, and we’d be happy to help give you some guidance, or include it in a class (which is often done anyways). Both Meditation, and Pranayama are powerful tools to reign in a scattered, busy mind, and connect more deeply to yourself. These practices are a natural evolution of asana, and compliment any asana practice as well.
7. Attend at least 10 classes in the 30 days, during the challenge.
Making a regular routine & habit of your yoga practice, makes it easier to keep with it when you really need it. And means you’ll see the benefits of your practice build more quickly, and last longer, so that yoga “high” will stay with you for not just the hour after class, but maybe a few days until your next class! And being present in your community means you’ll multiple the benefits by engage with others regularly, and building deeper connections, and support to help you stay on track when things get tough. An asana practice certainly isn't all that yoga is about, and actually is a rather small piece of the whole scope of Yoga, but it can serve as a powerful tool, and gateway for us to access the other aspect of yoga & deeper and more subtle aspects of our selves.
8. Try a Meatless-Monday (or other day) diet, 4 times during the challenge, and ask / share a recipe with a friend.
A vegetarian diet has many benefits, both for yourself, and nature (animals, and the environment). The yogic principal of “Ahimsa” (non-harming), often leads to a vegetarian diet, to reduce our harm on the planet and ourselves.
9. Try or Do something that scares you, each week of the challenge.
It doesn’t have to be huge – maybe it’s a food you’ve been nervous to try, or a yoga posture or class you weren’t sure about, a new activity you were afraid to do, or telling someone the truth about something (so long as it’s actually helpful & not harmful to the situation). As I’ve said before, our growth happens outside of our comfort zone. So facing a fear, and overcoming it, will give the experience of “it wasn’t so bad” and “I could do that again”, so that the next time a fear holds you back, then you have the courage and experience to go forward.
10. Commit one day each week of the challenge to be TV free, and Social Media Free.
Your time and your energy are your most valuable resources. The time and energy we put into things that drain our attention (like mindlessly watching tv, or scrolling our facebook or Instagram feeds), not only waste some of your most precious resource, but also numbs your awareness. Learning to direct our energy, and conserve energy where it doesn’t need to be spent, is one of the deeper yogic principals: Brahmacharya. See how this simple shift just one day a week, again can create space & energy for the more important and valuable things in life.
11. Shop only at a locally owned store for your groceries & snacks for one week, and ask someone a question while you’re there (can be food related, or otherwise).
Maybe you’ll run into someone you know, or see the same people and start to have more conversations and potentially build new friendships. When we shop local, we support our communities in many ways: helping to boost the local economy so our neighbors and friends can continue to work and earn the wage they need, and also by bringing people together in community in a more meaningful way. If you want to take this one step further, aim to buy mostly locally produced foods as well!
12. Go to two classes that you have never been to (can be different classes, or the same one twice).
Diversifying your yoga practice, means that you’ll have a wider skill-set to use to honor yourself, and where you’re at on any given day. The only thing that is certain in this life, is change – and as your body and preferences change, your awareness of other approaches to yoga, will support you in staying with your practice.
13. Have a conversation with someone from class, who you haven’t talked with before (though please keep conversations outside of the practice space).
A big part of our mission is to create connection between people, and build community. Taking an opportunity where you might normally rush in & out of class, to instead come early and enjoy a tea & conversation, is a great way to develop greater connections & bring more ease into your life. Being connected to community has a hugely positive impact on our over-all wellbeing, and is often mentioned as one of the best ways to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health.
14. Make a meal for a friend, colleague, or loved one.
One of the great yoga gurus, had once said that if you do not know what you can do to support your community, and live your dharma, then one of the greatest things you can do, is to feed people. It’s a simple act that allows you to connect with another, and help support one of their basic human needs. Both you, and the person receiving the food benefit from this act, spreading the good karma beyond yourself.
15. Donate 3+ items of your own (clothing or household items) to someone, or an organization in need.
We often hold onto the things that remind us of what we ‘were’ or ‘want to be’ when really they’re not reflective of who we truly are, and aren’t being used by us anymore. Simply removing these items from your closet & your mind, brings a greater sense of ease & contentment with who we truly are, and what we truly need.
16. Give a simple gift to someone, just because you thought about them (not because it’s their birthday or any other special occasion).
It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, a simple home-made card, or a couple cookies, or a flower will brighten someone’s days for a while to come. Or maybe you have something of your own, that you no longer need, and would bring joy to someone else’s life – then gift that, and you’ll get even more benefit. Having an item to look at and remind you that you’re thought about, by others helps to hold you up when you might be feeling down, and give you a deeper sense of community and connection with others.
17. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read for a while, or one that’s sparked your interest recently. Bonus points if it’s a Yoga Book!
Reading and reflecting go hand in hand, and is one way we can introspect, and learn about & understand the world around us, and ourselves a bit better. Self-study (Svadhyaya, pronounced: “Swad-ya-ya”), is one of the important limbs of yoga, that points out the importance and benefit of introspection and deepening your self awareness. The interpretation of this limb is sometimes considered to be the reading and reflecting on sacred texts – which can include yogic texts, but many other wonderful books also offer us this opportunity. Some of the great yogic texts that you might consider reading: “The Yoga Sutras”, “The Bhavadgita”, “Light on Yoga”, “The Heart of Yoga”, “A Path With Heart”, “Introduction to Yoga”, “How Yoga Works”, to name a few.
18. Use Only Reusable bottles during the 30 days of our challenge.
Instead of picking up a coffee in a paper cup, or a plastic bottle of water from the store, make the conscious effort to bring your own mug / bottle / to-go cup. By bringing more awareness to our use of disposable, waste-making products, we can create a habit of supporting the health of the planet. Bringing less harm to the environment, by reducing our waste and impact on nature, helps us all in the long-run, so we can continue enjoying beautiful mother nature.
19. Two Random Acts of Kindness.
Within the 30 days of our challenge, find a way to perform a random act of kindness – twice (can be the same thing twice, or something different, on any day, in any way). A Random act, means that you are not known as the “provider” of the act: you go anonymous, while someone (maybe a stranger) enjoys the benefits of your of kindness. Maybe it’s simply buying a coffee for the person in-line behind you. Maybe it’s brushing off your neighbours car, or shoveling their walk. Maybe it’s writing an anonymous “love” note, reminding someone how special & appreciated they are. You decided what, when, where, and how – so long as you’re not taking credit, it counts! Though we may regularly do kind things, or say kind words to others, there’s a small part of our ego that gets gratified in doing so. Remaining random / anonymous when creating joy for others, takes the ego out of it, and fuels a deeper contentment, selflessness, and experience in service for community.
20. Work with a Mantra or Affirmation.
The language we use has a powerful effect on our psyche, physical body, our energy, emotions, and the perspective we hold. Many of us fall into the habit of self destructive language, using words like “should”, “can’t”, and other words that diminish your power and potential. Working with a Mantra or positive Affirmation brings awareness into your language that you use, and creates a shift in that language to be more positive and supportive. A Mantra or Affirmation can be any Short, Concise, Positive, and Present-tense Statement, that reaffirms a pattern you want to create in your life. For example, “I am healthy, vibrant and well”, “I am valued”, “I trust in myself and the wisdom within”, “I am exactly where I need to be” “Everything is happening For me, and not To me”. If one of these affirmations resonates with you, then you can certainly use it, but I encourage you to find something that you truly connect to, and can honestly put the power of belief behind. There are many mantras in other languages as well (Sanskrit or Gurumuki), which you can also use. If there’s a mantra you’re interested in, or curios about – please feel free to ask us & we’ll help you gain a better understanding, and practice in using it. How and when you use your mantra or affirmation is up to you, but here’s a few ideas & tips for you:
- Start your day with it, say it in your mind first thing when you wake up
- Put a sticky-note on your bathroom mirror and repeat your mantra / affirmation the whole time you’re brushing your teeth.
- Use it as a tool to ground you, or focus your attention anytime you might be feeling overwhelmed, down, or scattered throughout your day
- Use it as a meditative tool. Repeating mantra in meditation (maybe with the use of a mala), is a common and powerful practice for creating change.
- Use your mantra / affirmation in your yoga practice – begin your practice with it, and end with it (mentally reciting it).
- Recite your mantra / affirmation in your mind as you’re falling asleep at night.
- TIP: Mantras & Affirmations become more powerful: when you whole-heartedly believe in what you’re saying, and the more often you repeat them. Sticking with one Mantra through these 30 days will help you to see more power from it, than if you’re changing Mantras each week. And Repeat / Recite your mantra / affirmation as often as you like! There’s no wrong way to do it, and there’s certainly no harm it doing it often!