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Radical change; or why I’m not doing a 30 day yoga challenge

yoga stretch mike baird

My Bikram yoga studio regularly runs 30 day challenges – 30 classes in 30 days. They are a really great way to improve your practice and learn about yourself in the process. I’ve done a few in the past and when I when I saw that they were running one to coincide with my 12 week transformation, I thought it would be great to include one in plans.

Then I thought some more and decided that I didn’t actually want to do one this time round. A few people have asked me why not, so please allow me to explain.

The 12 week transformation is supposed to be about radical change. For me, that means changing everything, not just one thing. By undertaking a challenge I would be committing 3 hours of my day every day for the next 30 days. Yes, it would be possible to fit this in, but I would have to turn down a lot of other opportunities to make it happen. And as the challenge would be my main focus, I wouldn’t be doing justice to the other changes that I’m trying to make.

The changes I’m working towards are lasting changes. I know that every time I do a challenge I get yoga burnout. I complete the 30 days and then need to take some time off. Usually a four week minimum, which is not great and makes it harder to get back into the studio and breaks the yoga/exercise habit. I would much rather do 3-4 classes a week for an extended period of time and get into the habit of going to class regularly than going hard then not at all.

I am changing my behaviours over the next 12 weeks, well, 10 now, and I need to be able to change them in all aspects of my life – study, career, creative, home, relationship, health, and spiritual. It would be so easy to change just one and let the others slide until one of them became an emergency priority and then the others were ignored until a different one of them became the next emergency priority.

I’ve lived that way for far too long and it just leads to stress and feeling overwhelmed all the time.

So while I need yoga in my life and I heartily recommend doing a 30 day challenge at some point in your life, this time I’m saying “No, thanks.”

Photo courtesy Mike Baird.