30 in 30 (unfortunately we are not talking about my age)

So today (well technically yesterday now) I did something I have wanted to do for awhile. The local yoga studio is holding a 30 day yoga challenge from Feb 1 to Mar 1, and I signed up to participate – the goal being to complete 30 classes in 30 days. I have seen 30 day yoga challenges advertised at various studios before, including this one, and always wanted to sign up – but there was always a barrier that my mind put up for myself and it just never happened… I wasn’t sure if I could actually fit it in to my schedule, I felt some programs at studios were too restrictive and I didn’t want to waste money, and other times I just was too chicken to try it (some silly fear that I would be embarrassed or feel like a failure if I couldn’t do it perfectly), or that weird thought that it was something other people could do, but not me.

Well this past year I have been making some changes, and well… I decided it was time to stop thinking about it and just start it – so I made the call, got the low down on how it works, and signed up. My first class is at 6-7am in the morning (better get to bed). Tonight I got the calendar out and started working out the schedule – my strategy being that if I just plan 2 or 3 days at a time it should work out fine. So far it seems like it might actually be not that bad. I am also hoping to prove to myself that I really can fit in something for myself almost everyday if I plan well. And as for the 30 in 30, really… who cares if I don’t do it perfectly or if I don’t end up making it to every single class – the point is this is a personal challenge for me, and only me – just to have fun with and relax, to get closer to myself, to get more fit, to take time for me….and you know? …I might end up surprising myself. I have a feeling this is something I have been needing for awhile and I am sure I will get out of it much more than I know at this time. It feels like the start of a mini journey with myself and I am excited to start.

So a little about yoga in my life…

I grew up doing Yoga before I knew what it was or what it would become in today’s world. It was just a form of exercise that my mum taught at the local highschool one evening a week to the local neighbourhood mums. It was pretty casual back then – no fancy studio, no huge classes with pretty mats and hi-tech gear. I have vivid memories of her teaching when I was a child… I remember watching her get ready in the evenings in her bedroom… putting on the black stirrup leggings, the violet body suit… I remember going to class with her – walking down the quiet upper hallway at the school to one of the classrooms – sitting in a circle with the desks moved to the side (later in my life this would be one my classrooms that I sat in during my highschool years and a hallway I would walk during the day). To this day I can recall those evenings… hear her voice walking us through poses, her gently guiding the other mums.. I can see her handing out my dad’s ties for help with stretches, and of course relaxing at the end on our backs with the lights dimmed and music on (which I now know is Shavasana). You know I even remember some of the mums in the class – especially the one that could bend like a pretzel and touch her toes with her whole body straight against her legs.

And then there was the music… I have such a strong memory of the music… tapes that went into her little black portable tape player with the handle on top (I loved that tape player). At home I remember doing Sun Salutations with her in the morning to Cat Stevens “Morning has broken” (I chose this song to be part of my wedding ceremony as it was such a happy memory)… and there wouldn’t be yoga without Zamfir or James Gallway. There really was always yoga casually happening in our hourse – but it wasn’t a big deal back then – it was just part of what made my mum (she taught for 18 years). She would practice casually in the living room, or on vacation while we were at the beach. And I can’t forget her coming to elementary school and teaching our class in the gym – we would do a big lion’s roar, or pretend to be turtles…

To circle back to the future… a number of years ago just as Yoga started becoming more mainstream, I suddenly realized I knew how to do this thing called yoga from that strong foundation my mum had built…I just hadn’t thought about it much really – it was just there in the background of my memory. I had always done ballet and was blessed with flexibility so it felt like a natural transition back to my roots when I started to casually dip my toe into a class here and there – but what I really wanted and craved was to find a class that I really loved the energy and where I really loved the instructor. I am happy to say I have now found that and attend one evening class a week close to home and love it – I know it is partly because my teacher and the class remind me and embody the spirit of those evenings with my mum at her classes… relaxed, casual, fun, non-intimidating, extremely well taught, in a local setting (not in a studio), with a caring teacher. It is helping me get through all the challenges of modern day life now that I am an adult.

… and…

perhaps it has given me the confidence to try this 30 in 30 challenge at the local studio. I am not sure but I am not going to think about it too much and am just going to do it. Time to face the challenge head on.

I believe, or rather know now, that my mum was ahead of the times as I grew up and has given me the gift of an open mind and many healthy habits… we didn’t know it back then as kids… but yoga, vitamins, brown bread, sugar free natural peanut butter, fruit leather instead of fruit rollups, chiropractic care, great family doctor and dentist, no salt, etc. …. and I am thanking her now for building in these things to my life. She continues to inspire me today with her successes, passion and determination and I hope to bring that to this challenge as well.

Now wish me luck… I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

Jane 🙂

PS. My sister is also on a yoga journey in her life right now and I am so excited for her. She is an amazing support for my life and another motivator for me to just do it, so a huge thank you to my sister as well as my mum. I think I will dedicate this challenge to the strong women in my life, including myself.