What? Lisa, you did a 30 Day Challenge? You never told us! Isn’t that what bloggers do? Chronicle their 30 day challenges? Aren’t there entire blogs devoted to that?

Yes. But this is not one of them.

I am one of those people that doesn’t tell anyone when I am doing something at which I might fail. When I was 16, I didn’t tell anyone I was taking my driving test and apparently not much has changed since then. I didn’t tell my husband I was doing a 30 day until I was on day 5. I didn’t write it on the big, public board at my studio until day 9.

But I didn’t fail – at either the 30 day or the driving test. Now is seems silly that I hid from judgement when instead, I could have gotten support. It’s not necessarily the best tactic.

I mean, come on, is doing yoga (even hard, hot, sweaty yoga that you have to do every fricking day) the most difficult thing I am going to face in life? No. Hell no. I’ve survived much more than this. By doing this thing – this thing that shows me I am far more capable in the world than I ever thought I was – I can get ready for everything else that is coming.

Here are some things I’d like to say about taking 30 Bikram yoga classes in 30 days.

  • Even though I was constantly wearing very minimal clothing, I usually sported unshaven legs because most of the time in the shower, I was really sick of standing on one leg and too tired to shave. I’m so grateful no one minds fuzzy hippies in yoga.
  • Compared to my regular 4-day-a-week practice, it’s easy peasy to get to the studio every day. I knew that if I bailed, I’d have to go twice in one day and always sounded worse than just getting my ass in the car.
  • With a daily practice, my back bends improved dramatically. And back bending is the best thing in the whole wide world.
  • Teachers walked on my feet more while I was doing the 30 day challenge. This little treat, in itself, is incentive enough to do a challenge.
  • If I was not practicing, I was hydrating, doing laundry or showering. There was a shocking amount of water in various forms.
  • I thought about yoga all the time. My dreams took place at my yoga studio. I stopped the book I was reading and picked up a new one…about yoga. I wore a necklace the whole month that reads “Lock the knee.” I started to understand why people think it’s a cult. Replace “coconut water” with “Kool-Aid” and you’re pretty much there.
  • I truly believe that Bikram is a 90 minute moving meditation and most days my mind was the biggest challenge. Screw getting forehead to knee – that’s the easy part. Controlling the inside of the forehead was like fighting off an army of rabid raccoons.
  • Every teacher had something unique and integral to contribute to my practice. Right around day 17, when I was really starting to feel my body opening up, I had a teacher who knows my practice really well. He prodded me, loudly and publicly, in the second part of Awkward pose, “Lisa, you’re holding out on me, drop down another inch.” And I did. I could. I felt for the first time, no humiliation about being called out, instead, I felt pride that he thought I could do it. I didn’t beat myself up, I took it how he meant it; I felt encouraged — not judged. And that was awesome. That might have been the most significant progress in the whole 30 day.

The practice is about truth. It’s about looking at yourself in the mirror and giving it an honest ten seconds. It’s about practicing where you are at, not hiding yourself in case you can’t live up to some arbitrary number on poster board. Yes, I succeeded at the 30 Day challenge but failing would have been fine, too. Because if you fall out, you are human. If you get back in, you are a yogi.

It’s now day 31. And I miss yoga. I’ll go back tomorrow.

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