Be The Best You in 2014 With the 100 Day Yoga Challenge

I am super pumped to be writing this post! When I originally envisioned this series this challenge was at the top of my list. My recent partnership with the YogaOutlet.com inspired me to get back into a regular yoga practice. Counting today, there are 121 days left in the year, so I figure if I start my challenge today, I  will have a little leeway to mess up, but still be able to reach my goal.

IMG_2967 final

Also, I just found out that September is National Yoga Month, so it is the perfect time to kick this challenge off. To celebrate, the Yoga Health Foundation is offering one week of free yoga at participating studios. Click the link to sign up:

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I want to achieve some real results and I think yoga is the way to do it. There are a few poses and stretches that I’ve never been able to do and would love to achieve at the end of this challenge.

Monkey Pose

I’ve never been able to do the splits before, but I know I could get there if I work on it.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Wheel Pose

I took gymnastics when I was little and I was the only one who could never do the bridge. My upper body strength sucks and it would be a personal victory to be able to get into this pose.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Crow Pose

I’ve been able to get into the crow pose when I practiced last year, but I could never hold it or feel stable in it. I would love to be able to get into the pose and hold it.

crow

Photo via Pinterest

I am going to record my progress in this post and would love for you to join me and share your achievements in the comments. Each day, I am going to share a new yoga tip or something that I’ve learned along the way.

Day 1

So, my first class in the challenge was HOT! I made the mistake of walking to yoga, so I was dying when I got in there. It was extra hot in the room, so everyone was sweating. Next time, I am going to need to bring a towel so my yoga mat doesn’t get all slippery. I also need to bring water. I made it through, so I was proud of myself!

A number of students had these Skidless Towels to put over their mats to help absorb moisture so you don’t slip.

skidless towels

Our instructor talked about how today was the beginning of school for most people and that you always see people taking first day pictures, but never last day pictures. She said that we tend to focus on that fresh start all the time and not so much on the transition or the end. Our practice today was supposed to help us focus on the journey and the end of practice. We don’t want to rush through the end of things just to get to the beginning again, we should want to enjoy the end just as much as the beginning. I liked this thought because I always have a hard time finishing, but I love starting over. I found this quote that sort of sums it up:

ending

Day 2

Day 2 went much better! I brought water this time and it was a lifesaver! I am still going to need a towel if I continue at this studio because it gets hot and sweaty! I was really inspired today by the girl next to me. The instructor helped her get into the wheel pose (one of my goals) and it inspired me. I’m not there yet, but I know I can get there. We spent a lot of time learning how to get into the pose, so that will be helpful later on.

I liked this article from FitSugar on some poses to work into that will help you get into wheel pose in the future:

How-Do-Wheel-Pose

Photo via FitSugar

Day 3

Day 3 was great! I took a slower yoga class which I was able to keep up with for the most part and loved it. I also brought a hand towel this time which helped me to wipe down my face which in turn helped keep my mat dry. We did some split poses and one of the women in my class was able to do a full split! This blew me away, but also got me excited to get to that point myself at the end of this challenge.

I learned today that the Sanskrit word for the splits or monkey pose is called Hanumanasana (pronounced hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna). It got its name from the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman. As the story goes, Hanuman made a giant leap from India to reach the Lankan Islands and the splits are supposed to commemorate that.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Day 4

Day 4 was great, I kept up and felt good about myself and my practice. In my class they keep talking about Bandhas and I had no idea what they were talking about, so I decided to do some research. In Sanskrit bandha means to lock, hold or tighten. I found this great article that went into much more detail about what a bandha is and the different types of bandas. This was extremely helpful – now I will know what they are talking about in class.

Maha-Bandha

Day 5

Day 5 was great! I was able to get up into the crow pose for a little bit. I couldn’t hold it for very long, but I got up there. I think that will be the first goal I master. I would love to be able to get up and be stable for a while.

Our instructor talked about the past today. She said that the past is just a story we tell ourselves. It doesn’t matter what you did before or in yesterday’s practice, it only matters what you can do today. (I guess this is a quote from a movie, but I loved it).

the past

Day 6

I did not want to go to yoga today, I wanted to lay around and do nothing, but I signed up for the class and got my butt up and out the door! I am SO glad that I did go, everything felt so great and I left feeling really good. We did some balance poses and I definitely need to work on that, my balance was terrible.

mat_fall_my-yoga-online

Day 7

I started yoga at a new studio today and it was a little frustrating trying to get into the new routine. Plus they had a hard concrete floor, so I may need to get a thicker mat if I end up staying at this studio. I was able to keep up in the Vinyasa and this studio wasn’t as hot, so I think I moved through everything a lot easier. I did get a complement on my Zella pants that I got at the Nordstrom sale!

zella

Day 8

Today I took a much slower class, but I really worked hard. Our instructor focused on being grounded in all of these crazy storms and floods. There was a beautiful full moon tonight, so it was sort of a cool day to think about being grounded and connecting to the energy of the earth.

grounded

Day 9

I loved my class today. Our instructor was telling a story about an 87-year-old woman who teaches yoga and is amazing. One of the things she teaches her students is to be sweet, be soft and be simple in their poses. Our practice today focused on doing that.

Day 10

Day 10 saw me back at Vinyasa and I think that all of these slower classes helped me work on my poses and form. We tried the crow pose again and I got up for a second but wasn’t able to hold the pose. We did get into pigeon pose and the instructor had us put a yoga block under our tailbone which really helped me in this pose. I hadn’t been able to do this and fold down, so with the block I was able to get there. We did spend some time talking about the do’s and don’ts in Chatarunga and I found this image that explains it perfectly.

chatarunga

Day 11

On Day 11, I had to do my P90x Yoga video at home. It was a lot harder to stay focused at home because our house is still a mess from the flood and we are waiting for the basement to get recarpeted before we can move everything back. So it was hard to shut everything out because I kept looking around and thinking of what I should be cleaning/organizing. I made it through and I think that was really important.

finish

Day 12

Today I was back in class with a Vinyasa class. It was fabulous! I loved the instructor and I was really jamming on everyone’s energy. Our instructor kept talking about how we take for granted falling and being able to get back up. She said that is a sign of getting old, when you fall and can’t get back up again. The girl next to me was a yoga rockstar. She did full splits on both sides and got into a yoga nidrasana pose! It was inspiring!

yoga nidrasana

Day 13

So yesterday was the first day that I skipped a class, so I only have 20 skip days left to reach my goal. I have to say that it felt so good to get back to my practice after one day off. Our instructor had us doing poses that I had never even heard of. It was intense, but I think I kept up well enough. The Dancing Camel was one of the new poses that I learned. Here is a diagram of how to do it:

dancing camel

Day 14

Today’s class was a slow flow. It wasn’t as physically intense, but we did some great stretches and balance poses that I think will help me later on. In many of these classes, I’ve discovered that my hips are really tight so I have trouble getting into and holding some of these poses. The more classes I attend, the better it gets.

tight-hips-yoga-workshop

Day 15

So, I skipped a few days here because I started a new job. It felt really good to get back to it. I ended up going to a Sunday class and they also tied in meditation to this one. Before we went into our meditation we tried alternate nostril breathing, also known as pranayama. It seemed sort of weird when we were doing it, but apparently it has all sorts of benefits. This article explains it in much more detail and I learned a lot more about it.

alternate-nostril-breathing

Day 16

Day 16 was back to Vinyasa and this was a fast class. When our instructor left us on our own, I got totally lost and couldn’t remember what came next. I faked my way through it, but I was in the back and I think that hindered my ability to get the directions down.

lost

Day 17

Tuesday is Slow Flow and I think that is my favorite class of the week. It is the perfect class for a Tuesday. I walked in the door super cranky and left feeling wonderful. After my missed days, I have 14 skip days left if I still want to reach my 100 days of yoga goal by the end of 2014.

slow flow

Day 18

I had a great time in Saturday’s fast paced Vinyasa class. I had a good flow and felt really confident in my moves. We did pranayama again and we also talked about looking within. That is the hardest part about yoga, to release all the thoughts that pop into your head and just focus on the practice and your breathing.

look within

Day 19

Tuesday was Slow Flow Yoga, which I’ve come to know as my favorite class of the week. Our fantastic instructor made a point last night to talk about how we are pressured to move so quickly in today’s world. Our yoga class should be a time to slow down and enjoy the life that we live. I think that is why I love slow flow so much, I love to keep busy and add new commitments to my schedule. Yoga is the one time where I have to force everything out of my brain and just focus on my practice.

meditation-in-blue-desert-798x529

Day 20

I did Hatha yoga today and I wasn’t really sure what the difference was other than it wasn’t as fast paced as Vinyasa. I figured I would look it up and discovered that I pretty much had it right in the first place. Hatha is basic yoga so it is a good class for beginners with a slower pace.

What-Is-Hatha-Yoga-101-733x420

Day 21

This day was Vinyasa and I love this Saturday morning class. At the end of class our instructor made an interesting comparison. She has a one-year old daughter and she has been watching how determined her daughter is to crawl, stand and walk. If she falls she keeps going, it is instinctual. That is how our yoga practice should be. We should have the tenacity and determination of a child.

baby-yoga

Day 22

Sunday was a yoga meditation class and while my legs and hips were really tight, I thoroughly enjoyed the meditation. This quote pretty much summed it up:

meditation

Day 23

I got out of work a little later than planned so I had to take the slower class. My balance was about 50/50, but we got some really great stretches in. I felt completely relaxed afterwards. I had something on my mind that I was getting worked up about, but I found that after yoga I was able to be more rational and not react emotionally.

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Day 24

So I started a new studio today and I don’t think that I was prepared. It sort of reminded me of what a club would be like if we were doing yoga. It was super jam-packed and the temp was cranked up. After a less intense studio, I really wasn’t prepared for this. I got through it, but it sort of made me want to go back to the old studio. If you don’t remember, I am taking advantage of all the new member specials in the area and then will decide on what studios I like best. After I left I realized that I might not have went in with the best attitude after a few days off from practice. When I came home, John said that at least I went and got through it, so that was my accomplishment.

attitude

Day 25

First of all, I made it a quarter of the way through!! I am so proud of myself for sticking with it! On another note, the second class at the new studio was Slow Flow and was a lot better. I was more prepared and kept up. There were still a lot of people, but I could probably get used to that. If you haven’t joined me in the challenge, there are still 75 more days left!!

25jaar-.nl-domein

Day 26

This Slow Flow class was so much better! I really liked the instructor and felt like I was totally rocking it. I definitely need to get some new yoga pants. I was out of clean ones and had to wear the pair with holes, lol. I think I should spring for these Zella Eleve leggings ($58):

zella leggings

Day 27

I had a great class today. Sunday afternoon yoga is the best! Our instructor was sharing some information on Sanksrit today, the “yoga language.” She said that the words were really the vibrations or the frequency of the object. I found this article that explains it really well.

Day 28

This class was awesome! I felt like I was killing it and I got up into Bakasana (crow pose) for the longest amount of time yet! But then I got too excited and fell over.

how-to-do-crow-pose

Day 29

This was the first class back after about a two week break. I hadn’t planned a break but life got in the way. I’m glad I got back on the yoga horse. It was a great class and I kept up pretty well. This was the start of a new unlimited package so hopefully that will keep me motivated to stay on track.

Day 30

I was so sore from the day before, but I decided to go to class in spite of that. Our instructor talked about samskaras, which are patterns that we tend to repeat over and over again. She compared it to finding ourselves dating the same type of guy over and over again. Your brain is hardwired to repeat the same pattern of habits. The good news is that you can change your patterns and this article explains how to do that with yoga.

samskaras (1)

Day 31

I was back at yoga today and I was trying out my new Manduke Pro Lite mat – you can read my post about it here. It was sort of funny today I was all excited about trying out my new fancy yoga mat and then two minutes in I get a terrible Charley horse in my hamstring. It went away after a while but it sort of took away some cool points. Something the instructor said at the end of class really stuck with me – Yoga is the death of the ego. I couldn’t agree with this statement more. Every class is a humbling experience.

ego-300x200

Day 32

This was a fun class – I felt like I was hitting my stride. My new mat was still a little slippy, but not too bad. Our instructor talked about how freeing it is to be able to do all of the yoga movements. Think about people that break a leg or can’t move anymore – we take the freedom of movement for granted and yoga reminds us not to do that. This struck a chord with me as I broke my foot last year and can relate to not having that freedom. Even if you can’t master all of the movements just being able to move is a gift.

yogahighway

Day 33

Mat was definitely slippery in this class, I will have to check out the salt water scrub that is recommended to help with this problem on the Manduka mat. On another note, our instructor always says “Om Shanti” at the end of class and I had to look up the meaning. This is a parting salutation to send someone off with well wishes. “Shanti” means peace. Namaste roughly means I see and appreciate the light within you.

OmShanti

Day 34

Yes, this challenge is still happening even though I haven’t posted in a while. I never said this would be 100 consecutive days, lol. Since we’ve moved into our new house I haven’t had a lot of extra cash to spend on classes so for Day 34, I did the P90X Yoga. This was great because we have a wood floor in our dining room and I was able to set up my mat at the edge of the floor and still see the TV in the living room. It felt good to be doing yoga again and I really need to get back into gear!

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Day 35

Stay Tuned!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

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Comments

  1. If you put your mind to it than you will finish your 100 day challenge with many days to spare! Good luck!
    Shawn Ann @ Shawn Ann’s World recently posted…Transformers: Beast Machines – The Complete Series – On DVDMy Profile

  2. You can do it! I should try me some yoga sometime!
    Betsy recently posted…Nadine West Review SeptemberMy Profile

  3. Good luck with the challenge!

  4. I agree keep it up. I started last year but not consistently but more then the year before! I noticed a difference in how I walked and even worked out doing weights and cardio. It really makes a difference in body positioning and flow. So I agree with others keep it up. You have encouraged me!