Every April I do a 30 Yoga Challenge at my studio. I incentivize my students by offering them a month of yoga for $30.
But I really don’t think it’s the reduced price that gets them. I think it’s more their own curiosity about whether they can actually DO it. Do they have the stamina and fortitude to stick it out?
Here’s what I tell them:
Doing something everyday makes you stable; it gives you a place to stand. Every day you keep that promise to yourself to show up, you become a more trust-worthy person.
A consistent yoga practice will amplify your energy; it will set your vibrational frequency really high. Dogs will be able to hear your thoughts. (Just kidding.) But you will feel more vital, more alive.
A yoga practice will give you more energy. When you have more energy, you can move your projects forward. You can basically do whatever the hell you want, because you have all the energy in the world.
When you practice paying attention to your body and your mind for an hour every day, this changes you.
Even if you only do it for a week, you will feel different.
But when you do it for a whole month without a miss? Not only will you feel different, you will be different.
How will you be different?
1. You will be kinder. Yoga asks that you treat yourself with tenderness and respect. When you can treat yourself this way, you tend to treat others this way, too.
2. You will be calmer. Yoga trains the nervous system to switch back and forth between high alert and relaxation as the situation requires, and not get stuck in either one.
3. You will be softer. When you feel you don’t have enough time or aren’t using your time well, you become a miserable beast. Yoga diminishes time stress, and this is how it softens you.
4. You will be stronger. In your body, yes, but also in your sense of who you are and what you stand for.
5. You will know your own mind better. Yoga asks that you pay attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it. When you are more aware of what you’re doing, this acquaints you with your mind. “Oh, hello there.”
6. You will be less reactive. Yoga opens up head space and body space. In this new space you have time to take a breath or two and decide what to say or do, rather than just blurt out dumb, stupid stuff that gets you in trouble and makes other people feel bad.
7. You will be more responsive. Reactions are knee-jerk. Responses come from a place of intelligence. Yoga teaches you how to make space for that intelligence to kick in.
8. You will sleep better. Yoga breaks up tension patterns in the body and in the mind. When your mind is clear and calm and your body is free of tension, sleep is deep and nourishing.
9. You will eat better. Yoga forces you to encounter and assess your level of energy every day. The practice asks a lot. If you are not fueling your body properly, you won’t be able to progress in the practice. This will totally frustrate you and give you a strong incentive to eat better.
10. You will be able to focus better. Yoga and meditation cultivate your ability to focus and concentrate. A yoga practice is basically a meditation practice disguised as stretching.
11. You won’t lose things as much because you will be mindful of all your actions. Because yoga is the practice of mindfulness, you will remember where you left your keys because you were totally present when you put them down. The same thing for your phone. And your kid. Yoga makes you less spacey and ditzy.
12. You will become a better driver. As you learn to practice being more present on your mat, you will find yourself becoming more present while doing ordinary things like driving. You will have cultivated the art of paying attention and this will alert you to the stupid antics of other drivers before they kill you.
13. You will be more patient with exasperating people. Yoga asks that you practice compassion and awareness for yourself on your mat. Over time, you may find that you have a little left over for other people. This will allow you to forgive general ass-holery more often.
14. You will feel grateful for more things. Yoga unglues you. It creates some space between you and your obsessive, narcissistic concerns. When you become unglued from your problems, you can see and appreciate your real life and all its blessings.
15. You will be part of a long lineage. People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years. It has a lot of street cred as a legitimate way to amplify energy, gain self-knowledge, and sustain good health. The same techniques that worked 3,000 years ago still work today. Maybe someday Zumba will be 3,000 years old, but you’ll be dead by then. Yoga is time-tested. Why mess?