We both completed a 50 day Yoga challenge in early 2109 (self-prescribed :P). It sounds so crazy when you say it like that… but it was surprisingly do-able. And a life-changing experience for both of us.
We did it for different reasons, for me (Emma) it was to help me through a breakup and for Carla, she wanted to develop her Yoga teaching skills.
I was crying on New Year’s Eve, feeling pretty sorry for myself (we’ve all been there!). I was sad, I was hurting, I felt broken and I was sad that I was sad on NYE!
I was leaving our NYE dinner, all I wanted to do was go home and read my book (another thing that was helping me through the breakup… to every woman, you must read: Women Who Run with the Wolves, please). On the way out, Carla said “I’ll run a sunrise beach Yoga class to welcome in the New Year”.
I didn’t want to say yes, but I needed something.
Something to help me realise that light and love never leave. That this feeling shall pass. That my heart won’t always feel so alone and broken.
Upon reflection, heartbreak is an opportunity to begin again, a re-birth and a catalyst to open our hearts more.
Deep down I knew I had to trust and surrender to this new direction, there was no point in holding on… I had to let go.
Now, I’m saying I knew this, not that I did it.
The New Years Yoga class was the perfect way to get me out of my head and into my heart, a tool to process my emotions, move my body and bring more love to my world.
Also, starting a New Year with Yoga on the Beach, watching the sunrise. YES, this is how you do NY!
After class Carla said “Let’s do a 21 Day Yoga Challenge”.
Right away all I could think was…
I can’t possibly do that! I simply can not. Way too hard, impossible. I will just stick to my normal 2 Yoga classes a week. Besides, I love Pilates more. I’ll do my normal routine. Yes. Just stick to the same thing.
I don’t know what it was that made me say yes. Probably Carla being the determined Virgo, “well, I’m going to do it, you can either do it or stay at home.”.
My sister is always supportive and loving, at times it comes in the tough love variety and I am grateful (…eventually).
After talking to Carlz my thoughts changed to… ohhh I don’t want to be alone, I am so sad, why is everything so awful, urghhh but I don’t want to do this stupid challenge, 21 days is so long… I have to do it. It will help me. Do the challenge Emma.
I was in. And scared.
After 21 days of Yoga every day, my heartbreak wasn’t ‘cured’ and that was never the goal. I cried in each and every one of those Yoga classes, especially in heart opening backbends. But this 21 day Yoga challenge gave me a focus, it gave me a purpose.
Ok, some days I used it as a distraction, but better than some more common breakup distractions… like alcohol, food or sex (this is my opinion and of course, each to their own, I know for sure these things do not help heal my heart).
After the 21 days I didn’t want to stop. So we extended it to 50 days.
This is how a 50 day Yoga challenge changed my life.
My flexibility increased in huge ways. I’ve forever had super tight hamstrings and terrible thoracic spine (upper back) mobility. By the end of the 50 days, my Yoga movements felt more flowing and my body could get deeper into all the stretches. I know DUH, of course, I got more flexi… but seriously this feeling is next level magic. To feel like I can move with more ease and grace is a really nice feeling.
Also, I lost weight. I didn’t change my diet, and really I was doing less intense workouts (less Pilates) BUT I believe it was all the twisting, which actually detoxes and releases toxins from the body. Anyway, that’s my theory (and also lots of other yogi’s theories).
More grateful, more present.
Yoga is not just a physical practise, this is just scraping the surface. Yoga is for your mind, it’s for your heart and your soul. Each class is an opportunity to be present, to bring focused energy and to be grateful for everything you have in life (even when you are going through a time of struggle). It allowed me to see even just a tiny bit of light each day.
Proved to me, our limiting beliefs are BS.
I never would’ve thought I could do something like this. Yoga has always been hard for me, the flexibility, the mind, the focus… Pilates came easy (this is why I did my Pilates teacher training!).
But during the challenge, I realised we really can truly do anything we put our hearts into. When we hear the limiting thoughts when we hear ourselves say “I can’t”…. this is an opportunity to connect to our true nature. And have the knowledge that we can do anything the heart desires, we’ve just got to know and LISTEN when the heart speaks (the stuff that lights you up) compared to the ego (the limiting thoughts).
Gave me a new perspective on goals.
50 days of Yoga every day is scary and overwhelming. For me even setting the goal of 4 classes per week seems hard. What I finally understood after this Yoga challenge (because of the philosophy shared during each class) is that every day really is a new beginning. Every breath is a new start. The past is but a dream and the future is not here, it does not exist.
So all I had to focus on was my Yoga practice… today.
And then I would do the same the following day. Again. And again.
Breaking it all down, being more present and not attached to the end results was a huge eye opener and has made me a more content, patient person.
Also, now when I get overwhelmed with a big goal… I can forever relate it back to this experience and think… YES it’s do-able.
It created a new habit that has stuck!
Consistency is key to creating everlasting habits. Now, I don’t do Yoga every day BUT I now practise at least 4-5 times a week along with my Pilates. I feel more balanced with my exercise now. Working my strength and my flexibility with equal time, attention and love.
And of course, this proved to me I can create any new habit. I just need to set myself a goal… and do it. Every day.
Although this 50-day yoga challenge was inspired by heartbreak it really did welcome love back into my life. The most important love… self-love.
If you need something to focus on. If you’ve been wanting to create a new fitness/exercise routine, we begin our next MerryBody Yoga and Pilates Challenge Saturday 20 June.
When you join the MerryBody Online Studio you get access to the Challenge and all the MerryBody classes, it’s the perfect time to try it out. See what all this Yoga and Pilates fuss (aka magic) is about!
We run Challenges every 2 or so months… join for the year if you want access to them all!
You can even sign up just for the month of the challenge!
We’re so excited, come move your body and find your JOY with MerryBody.