17 Days of Yoga in 2017

Starting on New Year's eve I did 17 days in a row of yoga to start off 2017. Although I've been practicing regularly for the past 4 years, I believe my previous record was somewhere around the ballpark of 3 days in a row - so for me this was quite an accomplishment. Especially given we had New Year's Day, President's Day AND s snow/ice storm during that 17-day stretch (no pun intended). And in the process, I learned a new move and learned a lot...17 things to be exact. 

17 Things Learned in doing 17 Days of Yoga in 2017

  1. Make it easy on yourself to create routines
  2. Habits actually aren't that difficult to make 
  3. Better form builds on good form, strength build on strength 
  4. As you get stronger, it get actually gets harder, not easier (mentally and physically) 
  5. No matter how much you improve, there's always room for more improvement  
  6. Have a tangible goal to reach - make it challengeable but manageable 
  7. Change is good - try new teachers, new classes, new times of day
  8. Variety keeps things interesting - mix it up
  9. There will always be time - but you must make it
  10. Excuses are just excuses - don't let them get in the way
  11. Mind over matter - just do it!
  12. Just keep going and don't just go through the motions
  13. Never take your eyes off the prize
  14. Reward yourself along the way (not just in the end) 
  15. Share your successes with others 
  16. Practice makes perfect, but practicing doesn't make you perfect
  17. Take what you learn and apply it to other aspects of your life! 

I won't elaborate too much but I will say that yoga brings so much joy, peace and happiness into my life. For 60-75 minutes you shut out the outside world. You use your own body weight to build strength. You replenish your bloodstream with fresh oxygen. You learn patience, kindness and gratitude. And, believe it or not, you sweat (even while stretching). The benefits are endless and the only thing you need is yourself and a mat (or in my case above, the beach). I've taken classes with people as young as 16 to as old as 70. There are men, women and people of all ethnicities and background. And we are all there for one purpose, to just be. 

My next challenge: to build upon the existing growth I've made and take my poses to the next level!

My challenge for you is to try yoga if you haven't already. If not at your local gym where they already offer it then at a donation-based studio where you can drop in for a class. Or better yet, do it from your own home! I highly recommend Bad Yogi Erin Motz who breaks down the basics and who's whole philosophy is breaking down typical stereotypes associated with the yoga culture. She has a YouTube channel that archives plenty of videos you can do at home. And, good timing for the new year when she does her infamous 30-day yoga challenge. (And I thought 17 was a lot).

So what are you waiting for? No equipment needed, no gym membership required, no excuses! Let's do this...together. 

This post is dedicated to my friend, mentor, fellow yogi and birthday girl Michelle!