Lifestyle / In Depth Asanas / March 20, 2019

How the 21 Day Challenge transformed my practice

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The team caught up with PYC student, mother of two and style leader Christelle Vignolo Banide. We chatted about her experience on last years 21 Day Challenge.

Hello Christelle! Thank you for coming in to chat.

Thank you for having me.

So, why do you love Power Yoga?

At first, I started for my body, but after a few months I found it to be really good for my mind. It’s broadened my world view and made me accept things differently. It’s even impacted my parenting, changing the way I look after my children.

That’s so interesting! How did it change your relationship to motherhood?

It changed the way I react to things, instead of being angry or upset with a situation I now try to accept it. It’s quite like Yoga: now I say “Ok let’s not fight against this, but work with it.” Sometimes it’s really hard, but you just need to try your best and try something different. Then day by day, step-by-step you can achieve something you’re proud of. It’s the same for children.

Could you tell us about your Yoga journey? How did the 21 Day Challenge come into it?

So, we moved to Parsons Green 18 months ago. I was looking for something for my daughter initially and she started Teen Yoga at PYC. In the past I had practiced pilates and I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, then I saw my daughter’s transformation in the three months she’d been practicing. She was doing amazing things with her body, and in her mind she was more confident. I thought: “I want this for myself too!”. So I went for it. I started with the same teacher from the teen classes, Cloudia Hill. I came twice a week to her classes. Maybe a third with another teacher. I continued like this – two to three times a week – but I was finding it very challenging physically. On social media, you see all these women doing incredible things with their bodies, like headstands. I was thinking, “I’m not able to do that.” For me it was so far away.

So what did you do?

I talked to a teacher who told me “You know you should practice a little bit more frequently; it will get easier.” So when the 21 Day Challenge came along, I said “Ok, let’s try.” At the start I thought I was just going to try my best, maybe doing five classes a week. As a parent it can be really hard to find time. But I found it! I came in the mornings at 6:30am, and on the weekends at 8 or 9am and I found time every single day for the whole 21 days. The day after the challenge finished I felt really empty because I didn’t come to the studio. I thought “I miss it!” This studio is so great, the people are welcoming and it’s the best place to practice. So now I continue to practice a lot: 5 to 7 days a week.

Kudos for making it to the early mornings!

In order to do everything I need to do in the week, I have to take the early morning class. I had thought about the early lessons before the challenge and was always putting it off. Then I thought, “Why wait? I can do it now.” So even at the weekend I started coming at 8am and it changed the day for the whole family. We used to stay in bed and stay cosy, but now Mummy’s going out and coming back early. The day started earlier, so we were able to do lots more because I was up and ready to go. Even the kids were happy with the challenge! The benefits spread to the whole family!

Was there a community of people doing the challenge?

Yes, I met lots of people and the teachers really made a difference. I think that the teachers are so important. Sometimes I can’t wait to see them, because I know they’re going to give me so much. They’re so welcoming and smiley.

So what’s your practice like now, four months on from the 21 Day Challenge?

I come 5 to 7 times a week. I do the early morning classes. I love it; it changes the whole day. It’s quite hard sometimes because you’re tired and it’s not easy to get out of bed, particularly when it’s really dark outside. But when you arrive on the mat, first you’re proud of yourself because you made it and at the end of the hour you feel so good. You think, “That’s why I woke up this morning. That’s why I came.” You’re full of purpose for the whole day. You feel so energised, you feel able to do anything and you have the whole day to achieve lots of things.

That’s wonderful to hear! Thank you so much for stopping to chat, Christelle.

Thank you.