Committing to a daily yoga practice is not easy, but the benefits are huge. We find that practicing every day for 20 or 30 minutes allows us to approach our life off the mat with a greater sense of calm and focus, and we notice our physical progress much more quickly than if we practice for 90 minutes only once per week. If you need a boost of motivation to get you started in creating this habit, here are 10 reasons why a yoga challenge may be the perfect solution for you.
1. It’s a Great Place to Start
Whether you live in a big city with tens of yoga studios, or are gazing into the infinite depths of online yoga, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and not know how to start. A Yoga Challenge is a well-structured and easy-to-understand way to begin your yoga practice, or renew it after a break.
2. Experience the Benefits of a Daily Practice
Most people who start yoga attend class two or three days a week for 45-90 minutes, but there are distinct benefits to practicing yoga every day, even if it’s for a shorter time. A daily practice means you get the immediate benefits of yoga, like lowered stress, every single day. It can also be easier to find the time for a shorter session in your busy schedule, and easier to bounce back if you miss a practice.
3.Create a Long Term Habit
To improve your yoga and experience the long term benefits – including anxiety and pain relief, stronger bones and a lower risk of heart disease – you’ll need months and even years of practice, and that means building a consistent habit. Yoga Challenges are a great way to start off your habit formation by providing structure and motivation, and a smaller daily practice is a much easier habit to build. Habits are triggered by contextual cues, like washing your hands (habit) after going to the bathroom (cue) so it helps to start your daily practice in your regular environment and at the same time each day. Encouragement and rewards are also important, whether it’s the satisfaction of checking off the day’s yoga practice, or reporting your success to your fellow challenge-takers.
4. Take Time For Yourself
There’s an old saying that goes, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” You deserve to take time for your health and happiness, and you’ll be surprised how much more spacious your life feels! Starting a Yoga Challenge will give you an excuse to set that time aside.
5. Join a Community
Community support plays a large role in the success of any endeavor. A yoga challenge offers a group of like-minded people who can share their frustrations, encouragement and victories. You’ll feel motivated by others’ success, maybe even enjoy a little healthy competition, and you might just make some lasting friendships. Either way, it will certainly be more fun!
6. Learn from Instructors
Another benefit of any good challenge is the support of experts and instructors. Want to know what the first stage of your downward dog is supposed to look like before your heels come down? Worried about a wrist injury? Your instructors can answer these questions and tailor the challenge to match your needs.
7. Go for a Test Drive
If you’re not sure about this yoga thing, or a particular style, class or series, a challenge is a good way to dive in and test things out. You’ll get to try a variety of sequences, poses and videos in a short time, and quickly learn what works for you.
8. Get Great Value
It can be hard to spend money on something you’ve never tried before or commit to a long term membership. If you’re unsure about signing up for regular classes or buying a whole DVD set, challenges often offer a discounted, short term investment while you decide if you enjoy what’s being offered. You’ll get a lot of content for a great price, and that’s always a win.
9. Enjoy The Sweet Taste of Victory
There’s just something delightful about checking off boxes! Completing a yoga challenge is immensely satisfying, and helps build to patterns of discipline, confidence and positive-thinking that can transfer to your other life goals.
10. Know what do after the Challenge ends
Some fitness challenges take you up to an incredible peak of difficulty – and then just leave you there at the end of 30 days. Should you keep doing that many squats? Should you do more and how many? The great thing about a yoga challenge is that if you’ve already begun a sustainable practice that you can do for years to come, so there’s no confusion once the challenge ends.
Ready to sign up for a challenge? Good timing! The Namaste Challenge starts Monday, February 15 2016, so head on over and sign up today.