Happy Wednesday. Today is June 22 which means that somehow, in the last 21 days, I completed the Tranquilspace 21-day Yoga challenge. The challenge was to attend 21 classes at either of the Tranquilspace studios, and classes could be any of their offerings. I mixed it up with 13 intense vinyasa flow classes, 2 meditation classes, 3 restorative classes and 3 Yin yoga classes but, despite the variety, it still felt like a pretty intense experience. And no, I never did more than two classes in one day, though I had to finish by June 20 as I knew I would not be able to get to the studio yesterday.
This is actually the first time I have done any sort of fitness or yoga challenge of any kind, basically ever. Yes, I was a book-ish little kid with glasses who barely did any sports, so I am including childhood here. I have written before that I used to be far from naturally inclined to exercise. Little by little this has changed. It helps that working out no longer gives me pounding headaches or acute nausea – I suspect that the gluten-free diet has had a lot to do with this as has addressing vitamin and mineral malabsorption issues – but, still, consistent exercise, much less some sort of challenge, was still a work in progress. Not getting natural endorphins does not help anything either.
In February of 2010 it occurred to me it had been almost 7 years since I had been able to sustain a schedule of 4-5 times a week of activity, and I slowly set about changing that. At that point I was active a couple of times a week, so I started with my Tuesday Night Yoga challenge, slowly moved up to activity 3-5 times a week, but still struggled to fit it into my schedule. With the hours I work, morning exercise is really the best (and often only) option, but I still resisted it. And then, in the throes of jet lag a couple of months ago, I pushed myself to go to a 7am yoga class. And it worked. It worked more than I had ever thought it could work.
Last month I saw the 21 day challenge announcement and figured why not? It is included in my studio membership. I had been challenging myself to do more yoga (mainly to avoid going to the gym in good conscience) in April and May and was already working up to 4-5 classes a week, so the challenge felt both a stretch but accessible.
It ended up being a lot of fun. Yes, it made me mildly OCD about having to get to the studio, which, while a useful outcome, was not the best mindset, but the outcome was still worth it. I found myself getting stronger a lot faster. I also really loved the fact I was not doing this alone, as there were more than 60 other challenge participants.
The challenge also showed me that scheduling-wise, such consistency is possible, though admittedly, I skipped some days (especially when I was under the weather) and doubled up on others. That was also a big surprise for me – I found that I actually enjoyed the couple of days that I did a 7am yoga class followed by an evening class. I may keep that approach one day a week moving forward.
Ultimately it was an all-around positive experience and for that I am very grateful. I am hopeful Tranquilspace does this challenge again in January or February, as those are traditional the hardest months for me to make movement and activity consistent.
Have you ever done an activity/movement challenge such as this. I would love to hear about it!