As we move into the final month of 2017, it’s a time for me to reflect on how my practice has progressed this past year. I started the year struggling to find a way to fit yoga into my life after having twin boys last year. The 30 day challenge then started in Jan and before I knew I was back loving my practice again and never stopped loving it all year. I’ve now started my yoga teacher training, run a couple of classes a week at work and continue with studio, DYWM and self-guided classes whenever I can find the time. I’ve also introduced so many people to yoga this year and love sharing this gift with others.
So that’s me and my year. How about you? How has your practice progressed? Have you completed the challenges? Maybe progressed from beginners to intermediate or advanced classes? Perhaps there’s a particular pose you can do now that you couldn’t do before. Maybe it’s breather related. Or perhaps you’ve simply felt more energised, flexible or at peace. whatever it is, I’d love to hear your stories of how 2017 on and off the mat has been for you.
My love for yoga has definitely grown!! I’ve been doing yoga on and off for several years but just this past summer started doing it on a more regular basis, 5-7 days a week. I started with beginner classes then did the Transform you life 30 day challenge followed by the 14 day challenge with Fiji. I have also done a few of the peak pose challenges. So, I consider myself currently to be working from challenging beginner to beginner intermediate I have found that my strength and flexibility has definitely increased but I am still frustrated with my lack of balance ability. I am trying to to work on the part of me that just wants to achieve a particular pose to enjoying and savoring the journey of getting there.
Great question. It’s not that often that I look back at my progression but actually it’s been huge since I started at DYWM a year and 3 months ago. I started with the beginner practice doing the same class every day. I remember then that even doing that class felt like I had done some exercise. Then I moved onto the 30 day beginners challenge in the new year. I loved the challenge so I did the intermediate one after and it felt like hard work. I found even standing in warrior 2 quite hard on my legs then and looking back I was way less flexible.
After I finished the intermediate challenge I was feeling a buzz from doing yoga. I have always loved yoga but I was addicted to opiates for years and I found it hard to keep up much of a practice, especially because it meant getting to a studio. I felt uncomfortable in studios surrounded by fit young women in their 20s and i felt out of place. Getting into yoga after the challenges was the first time in my life I felt like i was doing something really good for my body.
After the intermediate challenge I did Fiji’s 14 day challenge which I enjoyed the most and I started to look like I had proper muscles on my tummy after that! Then I had a period of ill health and I’m starting to feel a lot better and now getting into the new intermediate challenge.
I know I’ve come a long way because now doing Fijis yummy 30 feels like a pretty easy class whereas it used to be I’d feel it all week after. I’m incredibly grateful to DYWM because I wouldn’t have a yoga practice without it, there is no way I would have stuck to studio classes for this length of time.
I hope by the end of next year I’ll be doing the advanced classes, that would be wonderful!
Hey Karen and Helen, thanks so much for your replies. It reads as though you’ve both made an amazing amount of progress over the past year or so - and a lot of that has been down to dedicating time to your home practice, which with all of the distractions in life is an achievement in itself! The noticeable differences in your strength, flexibility, energy levels, peace of mind etc just create such a buzz and become an addiction in themselves, and a very positive one at that. Having time away from practice can be beneficial as it’s a reminder of how much it means to you. I’d try not to get too frustrated by balance poses - they’re always very tricky to master, and getting frustrated probably makes it even more difficult to keep centred, balanced and stable.
What a great question. Its not very often I take time for reflection, so this opportunity serves me well.
I have spent the last year getting to know myself better than I ever have. I’ve started a self study of ayurveda, which led me to identify my mind- body constitution. Subsequent to that, I’ve cut back my asana practice, adjusted my diet accordingly, and deepened my meditation and pranayama practices.
I am feel better than I ever have in my life! I can feel fear diminishing (it has always had a strong influence in my life) and I have began to cultivate a love of new experiences.
My hope is that, someday, I can share what I have learned with someone and it can change their life as it has mine.
But, my path is young yet. I have many more miles to walk in a students shoes.
I am eternally grateful for all of the teachers, and students even, who have guided me to this point.
May everyone realize their dharma and all beings be free of suffering.
For me, the progression of my practice is not so much in moving into more advanced poses (though I am finding myself in arm balances and headstands more often these days) but in how my spirituality has grown in the past year. I find that when I take the time to step on my mat - even if it’s for a 10 minute yoga nidra session - I feel the connection to all of life a lot better than if I do not practice at all.