When an email pops into your inbox from The Power Yoga Company in Parsons Green telling you of their 30 day Yoga Challenge, What do you do?
Ignore it…? Delete it…? Feel intrigued enough to read it but then decide it would be madness to attempt 30 days of Yoga just before Christmas…?!
Well, I did all of those things. I Ignored it for a few days…,deleted it…, then undeleted it…, then read it and said to myself “Forget it! There is no way you’re going to be able to find an hour a day, every day, to practice Yoga just before Christmas.”
But the very mention of the word ‘challenge’ was enough to have my ears pricked to attention. The competitive side of my psyche felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement at the thought of giving my body 30 consecutive days of Power Yoga practice. There was a little voice at the back of my mind saying…”Do it!…You can and will find the time.”
So I accepted the challenge and decided to dedicate myself to an hour of Power Yoga practice for 30 days, starting on the 25th of November and ending on Christmas Eve.
Originating in ancient India, the word ‘Yoga’ means ‘union’ between the mind, body and spirit. It involves the practice of physical postures and poses. As the name suggests, the ultimate aim of practicing Yoga is to create a balance between the body and the mind and to attain self-enlightenment. Setting an intention and offering your practice to someone other than yourself is the first step to finding that enlightenment.
Power Yoga is unbelievably effective in helping your body find the connection between the physical and mental aspects of our being. It helps you find strength, health and a level of fitness with the use of a number of exercises – some of which are physical, some are breathing and some are purely for meditation. In combination, these exercises engage each and every muscle, tendon, ligament, bone and organ as well as the mind, to give you the perfect union between body and mind. This ‘union’ allows you to come to know your being intimately and feel a deep sense of connection, strength and flexibility.
I couldn’t wait to get started. Just the thought of being able to give myself that ‘me time’ each day was intoxicating and filled me with a sense of accomplishment already.
“Just think of all the intentions I am going to be able to set…Think of the flexibility and strength my body will possess. It is going to be my way of closing the chapter on 2012…30 days to countdown 2012, to give thanks for all the highs and to let go of all the lows.”
And so the journey began…My body fought hard against me in the first initial week. Waking in pain, walking in pain, even sitting in pain; I lumbered my tired and sore body around my daily life, cursing myself for accepting such a challenge. But by the second week my muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments decided to catch up; started behaving like good school children and the pain started to subside. I began to feel strength in my arms and core. However, as I began to engage this strength, something happened that I did not expect.
By the start of the second week I had become an emotional wreck! Each class left me feeling emotionally drained. As my mind started to unravel what felt like every emotion my body had ever been holding onto for the last 28 years of my life. My joints, literally felt as if they were slowly starting to ooze and release any number of emotions out onto the mat in front of me as I twisted into almost incomprehensible positions. By the time I found myself in Shavasana at the end of the 60 minute class, tears would stream into my ears as I lay planted to the ground feeling heavy and confronted!
By week three, I had finally found my rhythm. Poses that had once eluded me were now becoming easier and I felt empowered having my feet planted on the mat. New energy was flowing through me and I was beginning to notice changes in my physical body too. Emotionally, I wasn’t stuck in the past anymore, I was now looking towards the future and using my practice as a way of communicating with my inner self. Moments of utter clarity were becoming a regular part of my practice and it was these moments of clarity and introspection that kept me coming back for more each day and gave me the motivation to push through to the final week.
As life became more hectic and the chaos of Christmas buzzed through the streets of London, I found myself not becoming flustered with it, but having a deep sense of calm within me. The hour of Power Yoga I gave myself each day had become my sanctuary and I still looked forward to seeing the familiar site of the studio, the lit candles and soft aroma of essential oils. Bliss!
Now, with the challenge complete, I am happy to report Power Yoga has now become a regular part of daily life. I have been able to acknowledge the emotions my body had been holding onto and released them with acceptance. Both my mind and body feel stronger than ever. I feel more connected to my body than any other time in my life and for the first time feel as if I understand it intimately. What a journey!