Yoga Journal

Below is a log of my journey through 30 days of yoga.

To keep myself committed to my emotional and spiritual journey as well as my physical practice, I’ve chosen to embark on a mini yoga challenge and document my experiences every step of the way. For the next 30 days, I’ve committed to doing yoga each and every single day. The below is a journal I’ll be keeping to document the lessons I learn along the way, inner musings of spiritual enlightenment (ha, light topic, right?), and challenges I have to overcome to continue the journey.

Will you join me?

October 30: My mind was really busy this evening. It was strange, I was forcing it to be busy. I kept going into the calm zone, but pulling myself out of it forcefully as if I didn’t want to calm my mind. I realized that I was resisting the practice and decided to melt my heart to it and give in completely. As soon as I just surrendered I opened up and no longer continued to pull my mind into everything. Success!

Also, today was my 30th day of yoga. Woohoo! I did it.

… and I signed up for another challenge that begins on November 1. Going to take a break on Halloween, go to bed early, take a nice long bath, and kick off the next 30 day challenge the very next day. Let’s do this!

October 29: I’m happy that I continued with my practice while I was away. I got home after a very, very long train ride having done spin in the morning and a round of moksha too and felt fabulous, ready to attack the rest of the evening with bliss and ease. Just feeling more balanced after traveling tells me that what I’m doing is helping me. My mind is calmer, I’m more in tune with the needs of my body, and I’ve been sleeping so much better than before this challenge!

October 28: Today was grand. So much smiling, laughing and good times. My heart is happy! I began the morning with a 45 minute meditation and 20 sun salutations. I find I’ve gotten to a point where if I don’t practice my asanas, pranayama or meditation I begin to feel really antsy and unbalanced. Something’s awesome is shifting inside of me!

October 27: I’m out in Waterloo visiting Angela and having a great time. We woke up bright and early this morning and headed to the Athletic club for a workout and a hot yoga class. My workout consisted of an hour on the treadmill at a walking pace watching the Comedy Network. I don’t know I’ve ever laughed so much a) while on a treadmill b) before a yoga class.

The class itself was great, a nice change from moksha. At the end of our practice, while preparing for savasana, the teacher said, “remember that no matter where you are in the world, no matter what happens, your body is your home.” How beautiful is that?

October 26: The powers that be just couldn’t get me to a class today so I began the morning with a 30 minute meditation instead. It wasn’t asana practice (as we know to be ‘yoga’) but it still helped to ground me for the long day ahead and; to me, that’s what this challenge is all about.

October 25: I went to a Power Yoga class this morning and was amazed at how challenging it was. I managed, but it wasn’t an easy task. I fell out of nearly over pose (that was if I was even able to get into them), tripped over my mat, was about 3 breaths behind the rest of the class… but I made it and I laughed with myself the whole way through.

Life’s too short to be so serious all the time. Laugh with yourself. It feels good.

October 24: This challenge has really opened me up to realizing that I have dreadfully low self confidence. I seek the approval of others to value my self worth and have done so all of my life. Figuring out where this came from; where the seed of this belief sprouted, will likely be the only way I can rid this belief for good. I know logically that relying on others to validate my self worth is absolutely preposterous yet I continue to do it! Until I figure out where this all began, I’ll continue to remind myself that I am good, that I am worthy, and beautiful and capable of anything.

October 23: Today’s practice went a tad bit better. I kept my focus on the happenings on my mat only. I didn’t look up at other people, kept my mind focused on the movement and my breath instead of at others. I think the struggles I’ve been having about competitiveness has a lot to do with my low self confidence and impatient approach to things. I need to work on accepting that I am good enough and that I’m a beautiful person inside and out no matter how flexible or strong I am.

October 22: My mind was racing with stories in today’s class and I found myself thinking very negatively about myself and my practice, feeling competitive with the people around me. My ego was at an all-time high maybe because I’ve been feeling inadequate in my day-to-day activities? Yoga is the last place that I need to be competitive in. In fact, I don’t need to be competitive period.

October 21: I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately that’s been pouring into my mind at every moment of every day. I tried my best to stop thinking about all of the things going on in my mind, push them away as if I was sweeping them off my mat. The vision of sweeping really, really helped me stay focused… on nothing at all. I was able to maintain it for the rest of the day, too!

October 20:Yoga, two times! I haven’t done this since I was in India. I went to the Moksha class this morning and had just enough time before class to stop into Starbucks for a 30 minute reading session and a grande chai tea. Boy, did that black tea give me pizazz! I nailed chaturanga for the first time ever. It just clicked and it felt good.

Everything flowed really well, my body felt strong and (secretly) I was very, very thankful for my “rest” day yesterday. I think it did wonders for me!

Heading back to the studio in a couple of hours for the Hot Yin class…

October 19: I was so pumped about the yoga challenge this morning that I blogged about it, got ready for class the night before, did all of my laundry and was ready to go! I had meetings all day today so I chose the early morning class, got to the bus stop 20 minutes before the bus was supposed to get there, and waited patiently with my book.

The bus didn’t come. I waited, waited and waited but it just never showed up. So, I ran over a couple of blocks to catch another bus from a different route that would get me to class in about 25 minutes. Well, that bus didn’t come either. It wasn’t until 5 minutes to 8 (5 minutes before my class was supposed to start) that that darn thing came zipping around the corner.

Defeated, I decided that there was no way I’d be let into class 20 minutes late, so I walked home and tried to run through the moksha sequence at home in the living room.

It was as if I wasn’t supposed to go to that class. The odds were against me in every way. Later that day; having been all over the city on various meetings, lunch dates, and the like, I realized that had I attended that class I would have had to bring my gear with me everywhere… oh, and did I mention it was pouring the WHOLE day? That would have really, really not been fun. So I guess it all worked out in my favor anyways, and I still managed to get some self-taught yoga in.

To make up for the class gap, I’ll be practicing yoga two times tomorrow.

October 18: I didn’t want to go to yoga today in the least but I forced myself to go and dealt with a lot of pent-up frustration (that I didn’t even know I had!). Ended up leaving class feeling centered and grounded.

October 17: Today’s class felt so good. I was connected to my breath the whole time, kept my mind between the corners of my mat, and had an extremely fantastic meditation in savasana.

October 16: Today was my first ever Yang/Yin class. I always get a bit nervous when I try a new class or do anything out of the norm. I’m afraid of messing something up, of making a fool of myself, or just being lousy at it. You too? Oh good.

About halfway through the class of me tripping over myself a couple of times, falling behind in the teacher’s flow, and nearly knocking over the lady practicing beside me, the teacher said, “Accept where you are in your practice and appreciate where your body leads you.” Well said.

I am me. Trips, fumbles and all.

October 15: Mondays are crazy. New recipes to test, clients to meet with, meal plans due, phone calls to make, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. But this Monday, I’m proud to say, I didn’t. I remained cool and calm all day long. I can’t remember a Monday where I didn’t lose it at least once during the day. This is huge for me!

I went to the evening Moksha Flow class today. I think I enjoy going to yoga in the evening versus morning. The room is darker, the day is done, my head is clearer, and I’m a bit more present. I kept my eyes closed or soft for the entire practice. Every time my eyes wandered to those around me, I closed them, focused on my body, and softened them again. It forced me to become self aware, to trust that my body knew how to get into and out of the pose without a mirror, and know that it didn’t matter what was going on around me, as long as I felt good.

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.

October 14: I was heavily distracted during today’s morning moksha flow class. I couldn’t get my mind off of Halloween recipes, the week ahead, and what I was going to eat when I got home. No matter what I did, my brain was as active as could be… except for in savasana when I fell asleep. Doh!

There’s always tomorrow!

October 13: It was an extremely chilly morning, the coldest we’ve had yet. I ended up missing my bus (or rather it just didn’t show up), so had to run 1 kilometer to another main road to catch another bus. I was determined to get to yoga!

With each day of practice I’m finding it easier and easier to ‘plug in’ to the poses. I feel good when this happens but my ego often gets the best of me. I firm up my body and try to be the best in the class. Definitely not what this practice is about. When these competitive feelings bubble up, I start to repeat the mantra I use for meditation which seems to help me refocus and bring my mind back to the corners of my mat only. Do you struggle with this too?

Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and go inward to be the very best you can be.

October 12: I was absolutely jittering by the time I left the house for yoga this afternoon. I couldn’t focus enough to read my book on the ride in, I nearly forgot my mat on the bus, and I ran up all  flights of stairs to get to the studio. Man, did I need today’s class. I blame the copious amounts of sugar that I consumed while creating some of the Halloween goodies for next weeks’ Halloween kick-off. It’s amazing what a minor change in our diets can do to our overall energy.

A little bit of sweat, deep breaths and awareness did wonders in bringing my mind back down to present time. That and wow… for the first time in a long time, my heart feels open! Magical things are happening :)

Put the beaters down and step away from the maple syrup.

October 11: So yesterday wasn’t such a great day… but I woke up today with a fresh outlook on things and a hunger for an early morning practice. I’ve been taking a book with me for the journey, about 20 minutes by bus, to set the stage for relaxation and inner calmness. It works great!

Today’s class was Moksha flow. I prepared for the class by laying in savasana for about 10 minutes and it was clear to me that my intention today was going to be around strength. I went on to tell myself that I was going to flow through each pose with grace and ease while maintaining a grounded pull toward my center. I was amazed at just how strong I felt throughout the class and even afterwards now too. I’m ready for anything!

No matter what happens in this lifetime, I’ll never loose my determination, passion and drive to succeed and accomplish anything I put my mind to.

October 10: Today was a rough day emotionally which proved to make it hard for me (mentally) to head to yoga. There’s a lot going on in our new life – lots of unknowns, financial stress with the move, and items we hadn’t thought of are now rearing their ugly heads at us. We’ve learned so much about what to do and NOT to do when moving across the country and have each had our moments of panic.

In yoga today the teacher kept saying, “continue to breathe through the pose to encourage everyone around you.” This was the first time in my practice where I’d thought of how my actions and energy could affect the practice of those around me. Whether I moved through a pose effortlessly or fell over and broke my focus, I had to stay committed to contributing positive energy to the community of yogis around me. Same goes for a supportive relationship, wouldn’t it? Continue to breathe together, support one another with calm, soothing energy, and the pose (solution) will flourish no matter how sticky a situation.

Make mistakes fast and often. It supports our journey.

October 9: I went to visit a different studio today, Centre Luna Yoga, in Old Montreal. It was a long journey from our house, about 90 minutes both ways. The space was pretty but the class just didn’t resonate with me. If anything, it affirmed that the Moksha classes I’ve been attending are far more me than the Hatha style of practice.

The focus of the class was to be mindful of the steps our lives have taken to get us to a particular moment in our lives. We chanted on it, meditated, and then dedicated our practice to it. It got me thinking of all of the decisions and paths I’ve taken in the last 5 years to get myself to where I am today. Accepting a job at an online payments company (later meeting Kevin), registering for CSNN on a whim (discovering my passion for eating well and taking care of myself), leaving an abusive relationship without much forethought (proving to myself that I can do anything), booking a plane ticket to India with 0 thought put into it, leaving my job with absolutely no plan to support it… all of these momentous shifts came when I trusted my intuition and followed my heart. And, each and every one of them resulted in something good happening for me. I have to trust that the same holds true for our move and that everything will be okay.

With change comes unlimited possibilities to harness our intuition, grow love for oneself and belief in our truth.

October 8: I attended a late-night class which I rarely do, but I thought it would be fun to celebrate Thanksgiving evening practicing yoga and setting the intention of being thankful for all that I’ve been blessed with. There are good things happening all around me and sometimes I just need to step back and remind myself of it!

Show thanks to your body, your mind and your soul.

October 7: I walked into the studio today and instantly felt a strong pull on my heart to India. There are times that I miss it so badly but I know that the timing isn’t right for me to return just yet. It will happen, just not now.

October 6: Today marks my 5th consecutive day of yoga and I’m feeling fabulous. More confident, there’s fire in my metabolism, and I’m enjoying some of the best sleep I’ve had in ages. Things are good.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda

How neat! I did Hatha yoga as my very first kind of yoga, and I ended up thinking that yoga was not for me. I felt my mind wandered and I had a hard time being present. I went to a karma Moksha class one day because my boyfriend (who would have thought!) said that he would like to try. We went and I really enjoyed it but still felt like I needed a bit more. I signed up for a pass this September and love it. I am totally present in what I am doing and have improved my body and my mind! I get stressed easily with school, and yoga has been able to ring me back easily to a place where I can focus and breath. I had an amazing teacher who really worked with me on my postures and I can’t wait to get deeper into in.

I am so pleased you are having the opportunity to find out which classes suit you best thanks to Dawn. Looking forward to hearing more about it!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Wow, so cool that your boyfriend was the one to introduce you to it!

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Marie

Hi Leanne, I am so excited about this challenge. I look forward to reading your journal and I’m going to do my best to join you!

I have been practicing yoga for over a year and it really has changed me. Odd thing is, when I say “really changed me”, I don’t mean it in some big, obvious way…instead, it’s more like several small changes that build up over time. One example: I realized I’m the kind of person who sees things as “all or nothing” and yoga has helped tweak my perception to honour where I’m at right now, and to look at the big picture, rather than getting lost in all the little details. It’s a work in progress, but I try to be as mindful off the mat as I am when I’m on it.

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Looking at the big picture has been huge for me as well. It sounds like yoga has been really, really helpful for you, Marie!

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Melanie

Hi Leanne,

I just wanted to say thank you for your blog and fresh perspectives on healthy living! I find so many recipe ideas here and they always turn out so well. I’ve tried to start a 30 day self-practice yoga challenge a few times over the last year but keep getting off track because there doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day. You’ve inspired me to start again, and to keep my own yoga journal. Congrats on the move to Montreal!

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Faye

Hey Leanne,

Sorry to hear that you had a rough day. :S I hope today is full of awesomeness.

I think I might try and join you on this 30 day challenge! I can’t do too much, but even it it means I do 5 minutes one day, and 10 the next – I think it might do me a world of good. Thanks for initiating this public challenge! :)

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Leanne @ healthful pursuit

Thanks Faye! 5 minutes a day means something. I’m so happy to hear you’re joining the challenge!

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Libby

Hey Leanne, great work on the yoga challenge. I am on day 39 of my “40 Days to a Personal Revolution” yoga program through my studio, which is based on Baron Baptiste’s book and program of the same name. I was a heavy practitioner before, but upping my practice to 6 days a week (with some meditation, though not nearly enough!) has made such a huge and positive impact on me these last few weeks.

Not wanting to be an underacheiver, I also started the Whole Life Challenge through my crossfit box, and am coming up on 4 weeks in. I’ve found that yoga and crossfit are super complimentary, and all that extra yoga helps balance out the muscle-y masculinity of the crossfit (although I not so secretly want to have a ripped back and arms!).

Keep up the good work both in the studio in the kitchen! If you’re not taking a fish oil supplement, they’re a good tool for recovery for active bodies, and remember the days when you don’t want to go to the studio could be the day you get the most from your practice. Even if you show up to a class and stay in child’s pose the whole time, just keep breathing that ujjayi breath and you’re totally doing yoga.

Stay with it!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Wow Libby, look at you go! Sounds like you’re doing some pretty transformative work. Thank you for your words of encouragement :)

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Trisha

Hey Leanne! Great challenge! I’ve tried yoga several times, but have had a hard time getting into it. I know it’s such a personal experience as far as comfort and what to look for. The expense has been something that has steered me away… But I’m feeling so disconnected and really need something to bring me back in tune. The way you speak of finding yourself and going back into your heart is something I’m yearning to find. With that said…. Do you know of a particular style that is best for creating that sacred space within? I weightlift on my own and don’t think I’m really interested in a power / fast paced yoga class. Any suggestions would Be really helpful. ( I definitely don’t want a video…. As I know I wouldn’t do it at home, yet). Thanks!!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Trisha – I was the SAME way with yoga, and still am. There are some days where I just don’t want to be bothered with it in the least. But those are usually the days I need it the most. It sounds like you haven’t tried a style that fits you. If you like a slow and steady practice, Hatha is nice but it’s a little ‘light’ for me. Moksha is awesome because it’s hot, you feel like you’ve had a good workout when all is said and done, and you hold poses for a long time so you really get the time to focus. Sivananda yoga is nice too because everything is very structured which also helps to ‘zone in’. I hope that helps!

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