Confessions of a crazy mom

getting whipped, coming back for more!

30 Day Yoga Challenge

October has ended, so now you get to hear all about my 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge. I’m sure you’ve been dying to know how it went. Did the pole shorts hold out for the job that they were originally designed for?

September was gone in the blink of an eye because of jury duty (which included very little exercise, too much junk food, and LOTS of caffeine), so I figured I needed to do something crazy in October to get myself back on track and motivated again. I saw that my yoga studio was doing a 30-day challenge and it sounded like just what I needed. For $120 you put your name up on the big board to track your progress, you can go to a class every day the month of October and if you complete a minimum of 22 classes, you are entered into a drawing for a 6-month unlimited pass. They also promised it would change your life…or something like that. Here’s the blurb from the website:
Imagine a svelte, calm, and more balanced you. 30 Days of consistent classes (any classes on the schedule) will set up a discipline. For your mind, and for your body. It will set up your expectations and help you find a way to better fit yoga into your life on a regular basis. It will refresh and renew your body.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?? Too good to be true?? Maybe, but I had done enough yoga, and I knew from experience that 21 days of any behavior leads to a habit, so I was going to give it a shot. I realize the fact that I could even consider participating was a luxury that most moms don’t have, but just because I had the time, didn’t mean committing to and completing the challenge was easy. It meant giving up about 3 hours every day to sweat my ass off and workout. It meant choosing discomfort over sitting on my bed and writing a blog post. It meant choosing something that was solely for me and my own physical, mental, and spiritual health and neglecting things that should have been on my to-do list, like cleaning my house. Not many women I know would make a choice like that, there would be guilt and stress about chores that weren’t getting done and it would feel way too selfish. I do get that, I can tell you honestly, that a year or two ago, I wouldn’t have done it either.

I knew when I signed up, that I couldn’t do all 30 days. I have two girls who play soccer every Saturday and Sundays can be really busy too. I let myself off the hook for the weekends, I had to…that would have caused stress for all of us. I hoped to make it to 26 classes, but I decided that if I only did 22, I was okay with that (perfection is way over-rated).

I’m happy and proud to tell you that I made it to 22 Hot Yoga classes in October and I truly have never felt better. I made it almost every weekday and 4 out of 5 Sundays, so most of the month I was going 6 days a week. Some days were harder than others. There were definitely mornings when I didn’t want to go, but I did. There were classes that were more difficult than others, but I always finished.

It’s hard for me to describe exactly how it changed me. I feel it so profoundly, yet I’m struggling to put it into words. I feel overwhelming peace and calm. That probably sounds unrealistic to you, but to me it’s not really adequate. There is a quietness inside of me, I don’t have the crazy, paranoid nonsense in my head all the time, I’m not constantly running through lists of what needs to be done. I’m perfectly okay with not getting things done. I think more before I speak, so I think the quietness is external too. I also think before I do anything. I don’t make any plans without really considering whether or not it works for me and my family, and I’m okay to cut something out of the schedule if it doesn’t work.

There have been physical changes, as well. I didn’t lose a single pound, which is surprising with all the sweating, but I definitely built some muscle. I can see it mostly in my arms and legs. I know I’ve built more core strength. I can actually feel muscles in my abdomen which is new to me (pretty sure, however, that they will never be visible after carrying 3 babies). I see the biggest difference in my waist. I have always had a very straight boy-like figure, even when I’ve been thin, and I can actually see definition in my waist. I honestly didn’t think that was possible. I’ve also gained some flexibility. I am able to go deeper into most of the poses than I was at the beginning of the month. I can’t believe my body can do this!! The other thing is that I have a body awareness that I never possessed before. This is also really difficult for me to describe…I’ll try. I’ve never really been able to control how my body moves, nor have I been comfortable with it. But the slow, controlled movements of yoga and the discipline it takes to breathe correctly and make minor adjustments to different body parts and muscle groups to really do a pose accurately have changed that. All of the poses require you to be conscious of several parts of your body, the instructors are constantly reminding you to tuck your tailbone in, square your hips to the mirror, tuck your chin, flex your feet, etc, etc. The more you practice, the better you get. Before yoga I couldn’t even relax my wrist when I was getting a hand massage during a manicure. The nail tech would tell me over and over to relax and I literally couldn’t do it.

I am hooked! I actually find myself doing yoga poses in the middle of the day at home, just because the stretch feels so good. I actually haven’t been to a class since Thursday because Halloween weekend festivities took over for a few days, and I miss it terribly. I know I can’t continue to go 6 days a week, it’s too much time, but I’m hopeful that I will stay committed to at least 2 or 3 classes a week, and I would consider another 30 day challenge somewhere down the road.

I really do wish I could get everyone I know to do yoga…hot or not…for so many reasons. First of all, anyone can do it. Size, shape, flexibility and fitness level truly do not matter at all. Yoga is all about doing what works for you, making modifications for your body and ability, and all of the instructors I have met are extremely kind and really do want to help you. Second of all, it is completely non-competitive. I didn’t believe that when I started, but it is true. I do look around sometimes, especially if we are doing a new pose and I don’t quite understand what I’m supposed to do, and sometimes I’m in awe of what other students are capable of, but I never feel inadequate, and I never wish to be where they are. There are still classes where I get too tired and have to take child’s pose for a bit to rest and I don’t ever get embarrassed about it. I know I’m doing my best and listening to my body.

I think I could practice yoga for the rest of my life and always love it!! Give it a try, I know you’ll love it too!!

Whoever said I would be bored once all of my kids were in school was crazy. In fact, I think it was the other way around…I was bored when my kids were home. YIKES…that sounds bad, even to me. Let me clarify…

I have always been grateful for the fact that I could stay home with my girls. I always recognized that it was a privilege that a lot of women didn’t have. I always knew it was the best decision for me and my entire family. But, let’s face it, a lot of the time I was doing the same things over and over and over without much thought. Get up, fix breakfast, break up fights, calm tantrums, fix lunch, break up fights, kiss a boo-boo, fix dinner, break up fights, bathe kids, put them to bed, collapse. Throw in some errands when I was feeling brave, maybe have a friend over to play, do a craft or game once or twice a year, and that pretty much sums it up. I was busy and I never felt like I was accomplishing anything, but it was monotonous and although the years flew by, the days seemed to drag on forever at times. The truth is, I’m just not very good at playing with my kids, I never loved going to the park or the zoo, and like I said, I’d rather have a sharp stick in the eye than get out the play-doh or sit down for a game of “Candyland”. My kids are far more entertained at school than they are with me.

Two months have passed since my three babies left all together on that big yellow bus for the first time and I have never been busier. The thing is that I love all of the things that keep me busy now. I had jury duty in September for a couple of weeks which was absolutely fascinating (still intending to write a post on that), I am almost finished with my 30-day hot yoga challenge (so many changes I can’t wait to share), and I meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes. I try to work on the blog a little each day, which sometimes means reading other blogs for inspiration or joining a group to network and learn more. I’ve also been to lunch with friends a few times, and I volunteer at school more than ever before (but not too much) and I really enjoy it, which is especially surprising. I keep up with the important things like dishes and laundry, and I put things away more than before, but my house still isn’t really clean and I haven’t cooked those healthy and delicious meals I was planning, but with all the yoga and meditating I’m doing, I don’t really care. Earlier tonight I was making a to-do list for things that need to be done this week to be ready for Halloween weekend, and I truly do not have time while the girls are at school Wednesday and Thursday (random day off on Friday ) to get it all done.

There are times I think about getting a job, but not because I’m bored…only because I’m redefining my dreams and expectations and I’m willing to try something new. I don’t think I’ll be bored ever again, at least not until school gets out for the summer.

It’s no secret that I’m doing a lot of things differently in my life these days. At the beginning of the school year, I started meditating every morning. For me, that means I have at least 10 minutes of stillness every day. I also go to yoga regularly, in fact this month I’ve been 17 times. That means I get a lot of quiet time to think. It’s amazing what you hear, when you take the time to be quiet and still and calm.

I feel different, I really do. There is peace within me that I have never experienced. I also have clarity about what I want and what I feel and what I believe to be true…and frankly, it feels amazing and empowering and scary. I feel really comfortable with all these changes and I don’t want to go back to living unconsciously and following along or not speaking up because I don’t want to offend anyone or not speaking up because I’m afraid I won’t be able to defend my point of view. What’s scary is that it means sometimes people I know and love aren’t going to like the changes in me and sometimes we are going to disagree and they’re going to want to defend their point of view. Sometimes the new me, who I really love, feels a little lonely and disconnected and isolated because she knows her thinking about a lot of things is very different from the people she knows. Even a change for the better can be extremely difficult.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 at 8:27 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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