As we are just days away from kicking off another Habit 21 challenge, I can’t help but think back to the first time I signed up for it four years ago. You see, when I first stepped foot into YogaFlex, I broke all the yogi rules! My main intention for coming was to try and heal a wounded shoulder and learn to stretch my muscles deeply. At the time, I was into weight training and intense cardio, so I was totally focused on my exterior and expected a workout when I came to class!! In fact, whenever the instructor talked about ‘having an intention’ or ‘going inside’, I thought, “Whatever! Just make me sweat, please!” And I would go on continuing to judge myself and criticize my every pose. Yep, in a nutshell, I was one unhappy little biznitch when I first came to yoga.
When Habit 21 was posted, I debated and doubted for days. Could I actually do this? What if I didn’t complete all 21 classes? Am I really up for this commitment?? Should I spend that kind of money on a sissy workout like yoga? Maybe it was my internal competitiveness that urged me to sign up, because the next thing I knew that’s exactly what I was doing.
Over the next six weeks, as I was forced to come to my mat more frequently, something began to happen. Instead of focusing on my body image, I began to focus more on my thoughts. All this talk about ‘intention’ and ‘inwardness’ was starting to corrupt my mind! I noticed in class I started to listen with my ears than look around with my eyes. Little did I realize, I was learning so much more than how to stretch my body.
I learned to appreciate the words that were being shared, the effort the teacher made in class, and the atmosphere of the studio because YOGA TEACHES GRATITUDE.
I learned to accept others, and myself, for who we are in this moment, not what we are suppose to be or eventually become, because YOGA TEACHES CONTENTMENT.
I began to speak more kindly toward myself, which permitted me to treat others with kindness. I just started to be……. nice. YOGA TEACHES LOVE.
I learned not to be so guarded all the time and to release my desire to shield myself from others. I permitted myself to be me….the good and the bad. YOGA TEACHES AUTHENTICITY.
I learned to forgive and let go of my past hurt, relinquish my anger, and embrace my vulnerabilities. YOGA TEACHES FREEDOM.
I adopted an attitude of being more flexible and a developed a stronger acceptance toward change. I let go of situations to which I had no control and discovered the power to move forward, even if I didn’t feel 100% confident. YOGA TEACHES STRENGTH.
I learned to better handle stressful moments, take the little quirks in stride, and to keep the faith even when all hope felt lost. YOGA TEACHES PEACE.
I realized an inner light; one I knew was always there but never quite sure how to reach it. I desired to connect deep within, and experience my passions and purpose because YOGA TEACHES THE MEANING OF THIS LIFE.
Yoga continues to teach me more and more each day through each practice. With that said, I am ever grateful for this practice, our studio, and my teacher, Mara Healy. I am thankful for our staff because they are so trained and skilled and are willing to share their knowledge! And to those who practice at YogaFlex, I am appreciative for the opportunity to teach and assist you in class. There is nothing more beautiful then witnessing others evolve from this practice. So, keep coming to your mat!! And if you are tickling with the thought of committing to the Habit 21 challenge, I encourage you to do it. You never know what you may learn!