A 31 Day Yoga and Meditation Challenge

Yesterday, I marked the end of my 31 day yoga and meditation challenge. For the entire month of May, I committed to a minimum of an hour of daily yoga practice and a few minutes of daily meditation. Like most great ideas born of small stuff, this one started from a casual question; I shared my 10 Day Yoga Challenge from last year, wondering who may want to join me for a second round and seriously expecting no one to respond in kind. I was most delightfully wrong.

One Toe Yoga Seated Pose

Delighting in the Yoga Journey

There is nothing sweeter than meeting a challenge in life with friend or family. When two of my darling cousins, one on each coast, decided to come along for the ride, my excitement tripled and a lonesome challenge turned into a deliriously happy one. The 10 days soon came to an end but I saw no good reason to stop just yet, turning a 10-day challenge into a 31 day opportunity. For the first ten days, we three kept each other honest, sharing the day’s practice and whatever related struggle in intimate details, but most of all, deepening our relationship with each phase of this shared challenge. For the next ten days, two of us kept pushing forward with momentum and perseverance, drawing on each other’s energy from coast to coast. For the last ten days, fueled with all the enthusiasm from all our energies, I pressed on.

There is a great passage in my favorite book by Michael Crichton, the memoirs of his own life, “Travels”. In it, he climbs Kilimanjaro, the remarkably stubborn man that he was, and when he reaches the magnificent summit, expecting a world of elation and emotions to hit him hard, he feels nothing instead. I remember this because after I finished my last practice and meditation yesterday, I felt absolutely nothing. I waited, reflected, and forced myself to feel something. No luck! An empty, hollow feeling alone greeted me in this state. How brilliant! Climbing Kilimanjaro and doing a daily yoga practice are worlds apart on the challenge level, no doubt, but both of them are prime reminders of the true cliche phrase: It’s all about the journey.

Fold over yoga pose with poem

It is all about the journey. The beauty is in the process, not at the end. The learning, the growth, the change, it all happens in the moment. That may explain the urge we have to set another goal the moment we reach the first. The end of anything is just an arbitrary marker, a place where we arrive only to realize how much more we should have delighted in the journey, whatever it may have been, challenging or easy, painful or blissful, long or short, alone or hand in hand with a friend.

It is all about the course: the beginnings, all the middle parts, and the moments just before the end. So delight in those moments a thousand times more than you already do, no matter what your journey or your challenge.

Alas, I felt nothing at the very end but in the span of those 31 days, I loved the challenge to no end, most of all because of my body’s varying response from day to day. The physical challenge of daily yoga for a month illuminated one lesson for me more than all others: You get to know yourself intimately well through these explorations. It is not about building extra muscles (which I did), losing weight (a little), toning (oh yes), testing your physical strengths (naturally) and increasing your stamina (definitely).

Yoga is about coming face-to-face with exactly who you are when you set such a challenge for yourself and when no one is watching and no one is judging. It is how you do the yoga practice and why you commit to the stillness of mediation that counts and I walked away both pleased and disappointed with myself:

  • Pleased in that I kept my promise and every day I committed to my yoga practice. Not a day went by without it and I shortchanged nothing for it.
  • Disappointed in that at times during my home practice, I felt distracted, I watched the clock, I waited for the end of the session. At times, I was doing the practice simply because I had said I would and therefore I missed an astounding opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

Preparing for handstand yoga pose

The 31 Day Yoga Challenge Schedule

On the Physical and Emotional Roller Coasters of Yoga Challenge

The First 10 Days:

Even after all these years of yoga, the first straight 10 days were a rude awakening for my body. It screamed of soreness. All illusions of my having a rather fit and flexible body were thrown out the window and a new reality had set in with the discovery of these new tight hips! Every morning, I would wake up with a new level of soreness in my hips. It ached to move around in those early morning hours. By day 4, it was an event to climb the stairs, something of which I have plenty in my home! By day 6, I contemplated calling the whole thing off especially since I was the only one in the group fussing about extreme soreness. By day 8, soreness had become a part of my daily life and it had actually started to grow on me. I must admit when it disappeared after Day 11 or 12, I missed the darn thing and wondered whether I was still pushing myself hard enough or whether my muscles had finally learned to adapt to this daily rigor. The sweet irony of yoga is simple: You remove soreness from yoga with more yoga! And more yoga I did every single day.

The Middle 10 Days:

My cousins and I, we discovered a new muscle rule which Vickie, my teacher, promptly validated. If you go more than 48 to 72 hours between stretches, your muscles lose the memory of that stretch. When you do it again, it’s a new stretch and you are building those motions again into your body. If you constantly repeat a stretch in less than 48 hour periods, your muscles will use the first muscle memory, and each new time, go deeper and deeper into the pose and stretch further and further. By this analogy, if you buy this concept as we did especially since our practice was reflecting it as such, you need to do a good hour of yoga at least 3 times a week to make progress forward. Any less would still bring you benefits but dramatically slow down the otherwise amazing opening of the body. Oh and my soreness had dramatically reduced in the middle phase, not to mention the challenge of doing first series of “hotel yoga” went successfully as well. Determination and self-discipline is a thing of beauty!

The Last 11 Days:

By now the soreness had almost completely subsided, my body started to really open and the daily ritual of doing yoga became more of a habit. They say things are hardest at the beginning and it rings absolutely true for me during this challenge. In these last few days, even as I had to accommodate for 4 days of yoga from a hotel room on a sliding mat on the carpet, I had some of my best practices. Some of the same poses I had done all month long had a new meaning and my body had a new response for an old pose. I would open deeper and stay in the pose longer and breathe better. I considered myself an unsatisfied intermediate practitioner of yoga before this challenge, and now I see myself as a happy and encouraged beginner with vast possibilities for growth. I have not regressed; I have simply realized the depth and width of a yoga journey, the true value of understanding the foundations and returning to them – and practicing them daily.

Opening the heart, upside down downdog

~ Things I would do the same way again ~

  1. Partner with a friend or family member: Share the experience, even if partially.
  2. Do not plan travel around yoga; plan yoga around travel
  3. Incorporate at least 50% to 75% home practice into the challenge; get to know yourself in this solitude.
  4. Practice in the same spot in the house and if possible in the studio. Having the same space has a strangely calming effect.
  5. Break up the practice into two 30-minute or longer sessions during the day if crazy schedules persist.

~ Things I would do differently ~

  1. Plan out the sessions well in advance. You may lose some spontaneity but alternating carefully among different yoga styles creates excellent balance.
  2. Add daily positive thinking to go along with that daily meditation and yoga practice.
  3. Document noticeably big changes in your emotions and be more in tuned with the emotions.
  4. Push through at the end; do not just fizzle out.
  5. Plan the hour of your practice first thing in the morning; do not leave it to chance.

~ The End is always another another Beginning ~

Dave Farmar says “How you do anything is how you do everything in life!” The things we do vary all the time but our innate approach to doing them does not change all that much. It is the the only phrase I clearly remember from 31 days of listening to podcasts, teachers, and guided meditations. This little phrase sums up my takeaway from this yoga challenge, what I loved and what I want to improve about my approach to practice and to life.

Our approach and our attitude in all things matters the greatest. My body pulled through just fine with this practice but my mind, not surprisingly, has incredible room to improve on letting go, believing more, and allowing the real transformations to unfold. What a never-ending journey! The daily challenge ended but the real self-discovery and learning process begins today.

~ Share your Thoughts ~

Here’s to your next challenge and endeavors and to my continuous one!
What are you doing to push your body, your mind, your stamina, your self-discipline, and most of all, your edge?
What boundaries are you trying to break, physical or mental or both?
I’d love to know! Share your thoughts and your challenges in the comments.

Crow Pose with Quote

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps

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  • http://raamdev.com/ Raam Dev

    This was a fantastic write-up, Farnoosh! Your reminder about how muscles must be stretched again within 48 hours really gave me the kick-in-the-butt that I need to commit to doing yoga regularly and not leaving it up to chance.

    I definitely prefer doing yoga (and meditation) in the same place every day, but with my constant travels, that’s nearly impossible. However, I can’t make excuses! If I close my eyes, I can be anywhere I want to be!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Raam, “close your eyes and be anywhere” – I love that. I remember playing those games as a kid but how powerful to use it as an adult. I did not know you do yoga – Have you made it to Mysore, India yet? I’d *love* to go to an Ashram there and experience yoga and meditation in that sanctuary. Perhaps someday. Very proud of you for keeping this up in the midst of your wild adventures…..And thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • http://raamdev.com/ Raam Dev

        My dad has been doing yoga every single morning for as long as I can remember, so I naturally picked up a lot of it from him as I was growing up. I’ve done it on and off over the years (I’ve been into fitness for the past decade or so), but I have yet to make it a solid daily habit.

        So many of my experiences lately have been pushing me to develop the habit and I already know how awesome it is for our overall health and daily mindset!

        I haven’t made it to Mysore yet. Even amongst all the chaos, there are so many peaceful places in India that seem to take meditation to a whole new level! Although the location really shouldn’t matter if we have focused enough of our energy inward! That does take practice, though!
        Thank you for the encouraging post. :)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          A father who did yoga! I can’t even begin to imagine it. How wonderful for you, Raam. If you go to Mysore, you have to tell me every little detail and I think one great photo would be if a friend could take one of YOU mediating in India somewhere in one of those locations! I am thrilled to be encouraging you to find your way back to yoga….!!!

  • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    Wow you are so amazing…and helpful and inspiring…shall I go on?

    I think you could make another blog out of all of this not to mention awesome products. You’ve just inspired me to sign up for a yoga class. There is a new yoga place that just opened. It’s the closest I know of within 20 miles of my home. Thanks for being you Farnoosh. I appreciate you:)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Tess, yes do go on please ;)! LOL….
      You are most welcome. Now if you are doing yoga for the first time, please be sure to tell the teacher and make sure to NEVER do anything that puts pain anywhere in your body. Sensation and awareness is good and breathing through all of it is very important but don’t injure yourself and make sure the teacher knows you are new. Best of luck. Come back and tell me how things went!!! You are so welcome!

  • http://thetruthofsmallsteps.com/ Jim Greenwood

    Hi Farnoosh,
    Well done! Both for the accomplishment of the challenge and the way you shared the journey with me (us). I guess I came to Prolific Living, without knowing why, because of your appreciation of days and journey…and your beautiful ability to personalize things in a way that is so helpful.

    Last year I accomplished a personal challenge of exercising every day for a minimum of an hour. Thought I’d lose weight and get in better shape. Well, no weight loss but probably got in the best shape of my life. And the biggest benefit became me and discipline, and how we worked better together.

    This year I have a more simple, but equally difficult goal, I want to touch my toes without bending my legs. Never been able to do that. I began taking yoga about four months ago and enjoyed it. What you say about muscle memory and how you did yoga at home was valuable to me and will help get my fingers to my toes.
    P.S. I told my friend Les about my goal of toe touching and he paused and said … Hmmm? I like to have other people touch my toes… :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Jim, well-done on YOUR challenge. Weight-loss is very tricky, isn’t it? I am sure that whatever happened, you did yourself heaps of good by this new routine. Perhaps you just didn’t get to the point were you kick started the weight loss. Be careful and pay attention. Don’t injure yourself and always listen to your body – but by the same token, don’t accept others’ limits and boundaries for your body. Explore and have fun. Thanks for sharing all this!

  • http://alisonhinksyoga.com Ali H

    Hey Farnoosh! I would love to find out where your teacher heard this! Do you know?

    {{If you go more than 48 to 72 hours between stretches, your muscles lose the memory of that stretch. When you do it again, it’s a new stretch and you are building those motions again into your body. If you constantly repeat a stretch in less than 48 hour periods, your muscles will use the first muscle memory, and each new time, go deeper and deeper into the pose and stretch further and further. By this analogy, if you buy this concept as we did especially since our practice was reflecting it as such, you need to do a good hour of yoga at least 3 times a week to make progress forward.}}

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Ali, I am going to ask her! She is a Baron Baptiste (power yoga) certified and I see that you are big into yoga as well. Does this not resonate with anything that you know about muscle behavior? The gist of the message was that if you wait beyond that 48-72 hour zone, then you need to “start over” whereas if you remind your muscles of that same stretch again in that short period (48-72 hours) then they use the muscle memory and then can stretch further and deeper….I will come back to update you here also.

  • http://alisonhinksyoga.com Ali H


    Yes! Just from personal experience flexibility fades fast whilst I feel like muscular strength lasts and lasts…I hear cardiovascular stamina also fades fast, but since you’d have to pay me money to run these days, I can’t vouch for that 😉

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Indeed. Tell me about it. I used to be a cycling/aerobics/running/swimming and cardio fanatic……Now it’s yoga, tango, and a walk around the neighborhood…..(unless i am on vacation, in which case my husband walks me to death!! ;))!

  • http://www.2achieveyourgoals.com Dia

    Isn’t amazing after you start doing yoga or any other kind of sport, it becomes second nature? I have been personally spending 2 hours every single day for the last ten years doing aerobics and yoga. I can’t skip, not even one day as my body got used to this ritual. Thanks for sharing Farnoosh

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Every single day? For two hours? That is most impressive. Your life must not be half as chaotic as mine or else you are just super motivated. Dia, I am very impressed and very happy you shared that. Today is the first day I meditated but didn’t do yoga, mostly because of letting the body rest but alas, I miss it a bit….!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://www.cookingwithtraderjoes.com Deana

    Hi Farnoosh!

    It was a pleasure to join you for part (20 days) of your yoga challenge this month! I thank you for taking us along – it was fun to share the experience with someone and I definitely have an appreciate for daily yoga practice now.

    I found home practice (for me, that was on the weekends) the most challenging. Not only the distraction of kids, dogs, home, etc …but also having to dig a little deeper for the self-discipline to hold a pose strongly and long enough, put 100% into it, etc. It’s easy to be lazy at home :) But I guess the nice part of home practice was having the ability to stay longer in a pose, go deeper, and to customize the practice to what I was feeling/needing that day.

    It was also great to get a new insight/confirmation into what I had felt for years… That doing yoga twice a week wasn’t doing much at all in terms of improving my flexibility, even after years. The most dramatic thing I noticed in this challenge was that even after a mere week of doing yoga every day, I noticed a measurable improvement in my flexibility. And when you communicated what Vicki had shared, it made sense.

    So when’s our next challenge?? :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      We had so much fun together and learned and explored despite our distance. I know what you mean about home practice, and I hardly have all those legitimate reasons that you do – but self-discipline and motivation are funny illusive things…..Yes I actually need to learn more about the muscle rule for Ali (another comment here); I will ask Vickie even more about it when I see her.
      And I am so glad you asked: I was thinking, I’d *LOVE* to try going vegan for a month. I am wondering if July may not be a great month to do that. Big cities have lots of vegan restaurants. 😉 What think you?!!!

      • http://www.cookingwithtraderjoes.com Deana

        I was thinking another *yoga* challenge, but sure, I’m up for a vegan challenge. How about raw vegan and we can make it a real challenge! 😉

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Let me think about the yoga challenge – maybe we can work toward a certain “impossible” pose, although that might take away from true spirit of yoga – especially the non-harming bit on Ashtanga ;)!
          Raw vegan will be SO challenging. Andy was going to cook my food, now I will be totally on my own. Let me see if my friend has enough recipes. I will not be the one to turn down a challenge, Deana! Standby! :)

          • Iryna

            If you’re going to go all raw, I’d love to join too!! I almost asked you about it some time ago, but then thought that Andy would’ve never forgiven me:) I have 3 raw cookbooks with mouth-watering pictures & there is a universe of raw on the Internet.. Let me know!

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Andy said we can do vegan all month long and he will do it with me. I may commit to vegan but eat a lot of raw vegan too. I am still thinking….This is for July 1st to July 31st time-frame if not sooner so I shall keep you guys posted!

  • http://alwayswell.wordpress.com Sandra Lee

    Congratulations, Farnoosh! I learned so much from this article, particularly the point about the need to do yoga 3x’s a week so your body still has a memory of the pose. I am so far from having your level of discipline, but I do aspire. Please don’t be hard on yourself for being distracted at times; it’s just part of the process and happens for all of us.

    BTW, I meditate with my eyes open. In my tradition, meditation is not about cutting oneself off from the world, but rather staying present with whatever is.

    Well done and thanks for the excellent write up.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sandra, thank you for the “applause” :)!! I am so happy I was able to impart some things your way and I am very intrigued to hear you meditate with your eyes open. I would like to try that. I used guided meditation podcasts which I thoroughly enjoyed. I need to add a note referencing them, come to think of it. You are most welcome. Your enjoyment is my reward!

  • http://frombottomup.com/ Hulbert Lee

    Hi Farnoosh, thank you so much for sharing this post on yoga. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the topic not only from what you have written about on your post, but also what we have talked about in our interview.

    To answer your questions, I am trying to gain more exercise by playing basketball more often to help me push my body and my mind. So far I’ve done two days in a row. Maybe I’ll do 31 days in a row…

    For me, I am passionate about basketball as well and I realized I have spent too much time inside my house and lost something that I enjoy doing. So that’s what I’m going to do more often now. I am also going to look into things like yoga, taichi, and meditation to help my well-being and give me more mental clarity during the day. :)

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hulbert, I am sorry I forgot to respond to you.
      Basketball for 31 days ha? :) Ok! Just don’t kill your knees. And yes I am very excited that you will be taking up yoga – and Tai Chi is interesting. I so want to get into Martial Arts!! Everything you expect for benefits from yoga and the like is true and I am very excited for you, Hulbert. Keep me posted on the 31 day challenge!

  • http://www.oplife.org Roman Soluk

    Farnoosh, because of your posts I’m now really interested in yoga! Thanks! 😉

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Roman, good for you – now I can’t wait to hear of your experience after you try it. You can find a yoga studio just about anywhere in the world these days (with some exceptions of course). Best of luck…..!!

  • Michael Yanakiev

    Hi Farnoosh! – A interesting , demanding and ambitious post. Things are well presented and organized with a lustrous. My first and general impression when watching inexperienced drivers on the wheel is that while driving they always talk. Usually they drive shining expensive limousines. I must admit that I fail to understand why this is done in a dominating percentage.

    Looking into the content of the post one can perceive that it stops where most Western ‘Yoga’s’ do in their attempt / path (?) to self -justify their ego, their insane ambitions from one side and the values of a purely consumption society. Usually the next step is a well organized machinery for earning money out of the newly designed ‘Yoga’. Perceived from the angle of the organic portals this should be pure spirituality. Seen through Yoga this is simply nothing. The traveler has stopped his development and is jogging on the sea shore.

    Usually for the westerners, and not only, the ‘hat – yoga’ become so obsessed with vegetarian food and other complicated relative matters, that they totally miss the main meaning of their way. Vegetarian food gives one the feeling for cleanness and spirituality, both on psychic and purely chemical level. The agile body offers some other niceties, only to have the body start agonizing for food. All this sounds great! It’s much better than alcohol and other unhealthy drinks, low –graded music, drugs, meaningless existence, lower than the average even in the known western yoga.This is an understandable limit, not to be disputed. One must never underrate this ! However it has nothing to do with the great centering on ‘The Path’ , where it all started. Even thinking ceases to exist !

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Michael, thank you for sharing your thoughts – although I am not following everything here clearly from your writing. Sure some people have crazy ambitions and that’s not limited to the Western society and many have commercialized yoga for monetary purposes and many others may succumb to alcohol, drugs and a different kind of existence. It is a free world and we choose our own path. I have to agree that the agile body certainly does better and yoga helps us achieve more of that. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

  • http://www.momentumgathering.com katie

    So glad to have found your blog. Your about page is inspired and I know I have a great deal to learn from you. Thanks for commenting on Write to Done or I would not have found you — although I have a feeling I’ve seen your name before, we travel with some of the same blogger friends, and I would have discovered you eventually. Happy that I did sooner rather than later. I’m your newest fan and subscriber!!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear katie, I so enjoyed reading your blogs last night. And of course I am terribly happy to be found, every time it happens, it never gets old. Welcome as a new fan and subscriber – you have an equal one in me. Very nice job on Write to Done. I will aspire to write for them someday too, once I get all my writing skills in good shape! :)

  • Michael Yanakiev

    Yes you are right ! This is a great post and must not be spoiled by fruitless reasoning about the nature of Yoga. It resembles reasoning about ‘Non-doing’. Non-doing means that there is nothing to be done and nothing to be learned. No matter how you twist it, any words one uses to talk about nothing are apt to miss the point!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Micheal, thank you for your kind reply and for taking the post in the spirit in which it was meant.

  • http://www.mindadventure.com/blog rob white

    Wow Farnoosh! That is quite a feat of self discipline. Well done! Whenever we take up a challenge so that we might experience a grander version of ourselves the world voice will shout “be reasonable!” It takes being ‘unreasonable’ to create space to expand what is possible for you. Being ‘unreasonable’ helps us to see that our options are endless and we are free to create ourselves anew. It is wise to think twice when we hear the voice that beckons, “be reasonable!”

    The boundaries I am breaking is my discipline as a writer… I am doing whatever it takes to make my next book a bestseller. I love being unreasonable… It creates space for marvelous breakthroughs!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Rob, if it helps, I think you are insanely unreasonable and I am happy to vouch for it to your editor or whoever else to pave the way for you! 😉
      Thank you for identifying the exact point of inspiration. That voice was mostly from inside my head but surely it was validated by the strange looks and nods from others….No matter, it sometimes helps to rarely listen to others and do things my way! Best of luck with the writing and keep ME posted on when you publish.

  • http://www.jungleoflife.com Lance

    What a truly wonderful example of doing this…and then reflecting on what it all has meant. As I think about how this relates to my own life – I’m drawn to how the end felt for you – nothing special – and how it truly is about the journey. And you have really highlighted that, as well, in here.

    I am currently training for a marathon (in October). It will be my first marathon, and I liken that very much to the journey you have been on. While it is not every day that I’m out running – it is definitely a journey. And a journey that brings all sorts of moments – moments when I want to quit, moments when it hurts, moments of elation, moments of deep thought, moments of really getting to know “me”. And it’s all good – even the challenging moments.

    So good to read this today Farnoosh. Especially as I think about where I am on the journey of my life – this is just so fitting to read (and let soak into my soul).

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Lance, be careful with your KNEES if you are running this marathon. My marathon runner friends are in the “nearly insane but in a good kinda way” category – I admire what they are doing but I think grasping the concept is hard for me….even though here I am with my obsession over yoga! So worry not, by far, your marathon goal is a huge goal especially for the mind. I wish you the very, very best. I am so happy the thoughts here resonated with you and who knows, perhaps you will feel elation and excitement at the end of the journey too but for now, you are in the midst of all the great stuff, so enjoy the journey Lance and do take care of your KNEES :)!

  • http://www.virginbloggernotes.com Jean Sarauer

    Farnoosh, you have inspired me to return to my own yoga practice. I tend to do yoga in the winter months and then get my exercise/activity in the summer months from walking and gardening. I can already notice a loss in flexibility from being away from yoga, however. Time to do something about that :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      No yoga all winter long? Not even one downdog, Jean? :)! I would die….!! But yes, I love the outdoors (except for the bugs) all summer and spring long. Have you thought about doing yoga outdoors right there in your garden? Your body will love you for it, of that I am certain. Thank you for your lovely comment here.

  • http://www.mindsetsuccesscoaching.com/blog Kim

    Wow Farnoosh! 31 days… and, around travel — Congratulations! Your self-discipline is admirable!

    Not long ago, I practiced twice a week with a wonderful instructor at my gym. No one could interrupt or get me to change my plans on those sacred nights. The gym has since closed down and I’m in search of a new place to practice. I thought I was doing pretty good with 2 x’s a week on my own since I alternate with cardio… but now you’ve got me inspired to step it up! I’m still saying, “Wow!”

    It’s wonderful that you had your cousins along for the journey. At times, I have found in my personal development challenges that I too ‘…felt absolutely nothing. I waited, reflected, and forced myself to feel something. No luck!’ It’s better to have a partner or friend along for the ride, for encouragement and support.

    Thank you for the detailed summary of your challenge.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Kim, thank you – can you believe I miss it sorely now that I have been traveling and not done yoga in a few days? I love your commitment to your “sacred nights” – I am sure you can find a replacement and the right teacher will make all the difference for you and help you find that next sanctuary! I used to do about 1x or 2x a week with some fun sessions thrown in but it all depends on what your expectations are and what you want to get out of your yoga experience. It has been for me the one body exercise/movement where the returns are exponential and there is never an end to the journey…..
      I will partner with you anytime for a next challenge – just tell me when!! You are very welcome, Kim……best of luck and keep me posted!

  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ uzma

    This was just what I needed to read. I do Yoga,occasionally and am tempted to try a 30 day challenge. Especially loved these lines, “So delight in those moments a thousand times more than you already do, no matter what your journey or your challenge.”
    Thank you for a wonderful post

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Uzma, I am so happy to have inspired you! I could be up for another 30 day challenge myself soon, who knows!! You are most, most welcome and best of luck on whatever challenge you set for yourself!

  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ uzma

    Thank you so much Farnoosh. Your best wished are most appreciated. God bless

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  • http://www.yogainspires.co.uk Ntathu Allen

    Bless you Farnoosh…am new to your site and feel very contented and full reading your yoga and meditation blogs. Great work. Thanks for spreading the message. Om Shanti

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Ntathu, I didn’t get a chance to say THANK YOU so much for your lovely presence here and so glad we share the passion fo yoga :)!

  • Niomi

    This is so fascinating to read because I’m on a 14-day challenge right now. I’ve gone to a class every day for the last 12 days. And I’m starting to get sad that I can see the end arriving! I’m wondering if I should push on even beyond that!

    At the same time though I can feel my body getting exhausted — but I’m used to it now and the peacefullness/zen that comes with it is so worth it. I also notice that sometimes I get anxious before my next class, as if I need it to calm down!

    I googled trying to find information on the effects of constant, mindful yoga every day for longer periods of time — I wonder if you have anymore information about it?

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Niomi, do your yoga beyond the challenge. The challenge is there to set you up and get you going … not to end and let you back into your own ways :)! I do my yoga nearly 5-6 times a week unless something major is happening and never is it a good enough excuse in hindsight ;)!

    • http://yogainspires.co.uk Ntathu Allen

      Hugs Niomi, you question caught my eye…there are lots of different schools of yoga/thought and I love your enthusiasm and desire for (more) practice. What did your google research come up with? Personally, I feel as long as you learn to be gentle and attentive to the needs of your body then daily practice is excellent. Yoga so soooo vast and the more you practice and play around with the poses and different techniques (do you do breath work/pranayama as part of your practice?) the deeper you dig your yogi roots (so to speak:)) For me, the greatest “test” of how zen and calm I’m is when I’m off the mat and going about my daily everyday life…thats when you really need to draw on your practice to stay balanced, calm and centered as so many distractions and stressful situations out there..well in my life there seems to be!! Stay blessed

      • Niomi

        Hi Ntathu! I did end up taking a 2 day break as a friend visited but now I’m back on again — doing a 10 day studio trial now so I’ve got 8 more days! I’ve been trying so many different classes I’ve never done before — today was my first hot yoga class, oh dear that was intense. I’ve found teachers I like and styles I like as well (kundalini!) so it’s been a great exploration for me. I think after this I will peter out to 3-4 times a week; and you’re completely right about the zenness — that is a good point — I will work harder to take those moments of unease and put myself into the mindset I get into during my practice!