Nowadays there are challenges for every topic you can imagine. What if you could participate in a challenge for a practice that can improve your health, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness? One that can help reduce your stress, anxiety and pain; a practice that can potentially help improve the overall quality of your life. Would you sign up for it? According to various studies regularly practicing yoga can have these impacts. Participating in a yoga challenge can help you learn about different styles of yoga so you can find the one that’s right for you, while also pushing you to practice it regularly.
A Yoga Challenge As A Starting Point
You can actually use a yoga challenge as a starting point to catapult you into the habit of regularly practicing. You might already practice yoga on a weekly bases or every now and then at home or at a studio, but a yoga challenge pushes you further. Practicing yoga every day through a yoga challenge can encourage you to make it a daily habit. You can try at-home video challenges or challenges offered by your local yoga studios. However, without an instructor, while an online yoga challenge can be helpful, you might not get the guidance you need to make sure you have the proper alignment and it’s a lot easier to stop midway without taking an in-person studio class.
While a yoga challenge can jumpstart the habit of practicing yoga daily, it can be difficult to continue if you haven’t established a daily practice. So you can use it as a springboard if you haven’t practiced yoga before, but know that in reality it takes 66 days or more to establish a new habit. So one thing you can do is make sure you sign up for weekly yoga classes at your studio once the yoga challenge is finished, and have online yoga courses to turn to for days you can’t make it to the studio. Also, if you want some tips on how to maintain a daily practice, check out this post on How To Start A Daily Yoga Practice.
Graph displaying habit formation with respect to time, indicated in number of days.
Making Participating in a Yoga Challenge Possible
As a mom, there are definitely times you are going to need to arrange for childcare. Here are several ways you can do this:
- Let your spouse, partner or caregiver know that you are participating in a yoga challenge and that you’ll need help with childcare on specific days.
- Choose the classes you want to take ahead of time and insert them into an online calendar or wall calendar so you and your partner or alternate child caregiver knows exactly when the classes are so they can schedule the time to be there to help out and co-parent or babysit.
- Have a discussion on why doing this yoga challenge matters to you and can be beneficial for you and your family.
- Use your buffer days wisely. Some studios allow for extra days where you can attend more than one class in one day if you can’t attend specific days and have to miss a few classes.
- Try to have a backup babysitter available, for if your partner or regular caregiver has to back out last minute. While it won’t always be possible to get a backup babysitter, (because even if you have one, they might not always be available when you need) it is worth having one just in case. Also, do an at-home practice for such days you can’t make it to the studio.
Things to Note:
You can work towards incentives to boost your practice
If you aren’t used to a daily yoga practice, another advantage of doing a yoga challenge at your local studio is they often offer additional incentives in the form of contests and prizes that can keep you attending and help further your practice. Prizes like memberships, spa treatments, yoga swag and the like.
If you recently had a baby
If you recently had a baby, make sure to wait several months so your body can fully heal before attempting to do a yoga challenge. You will likely be taking classes with a wide variety of instructors and styles and certain poses aren’t safe for women recovering from birth. If you have waited several months and want to be sure it’s okay, make sure to get clearance from your doctor first.
If you are a beginner
If you’ve never done yoga before, a yoga challenge will be an intense experience. But it can be a good one if you make sure to listen to your body and the cues of the instructor, letting them know your skill level before class. You can also try to schedule the classes according to your skill level, but most often you might end up taking classes that work best with your schedule. In that case, if you take an intermediate or advanced class, let the instructor know and perhaps do modified versions of advanced poses, if offered. If not, you can also go into Balasana or Child’s Pose for those you aren’t sure about.
While yoga is great for the body, you can also get seriously injured doing poses you aren’t familiar with or are not ready for, especially if you aren’t working one-on-one with an instructor and are in a large class. So when in doubt, wait in Child’s Pose or a seated pose until the next pose you are comfortable with. I personally know skilled instructors who will not do specific poses until they’ve worked with someone to master them or had an additional person working one-on-one with them in the learning phase to spot them, to prevent injury should they fall out of a specific pose awkwardly.
So remember, even yoga teachers get injured. If you’re just learning, it’s okay to go slow. Make sure to resist the urge to do a pose just because others in the class are doing it, especially if you aren’t ready for it. If you want to read more about how to prevent yoga injuries, check out this post.
Also remember, yoga is for everyone of all different levels and abilities, not just young women and people who are super flexible and athletic. There are modifications to most poses and you can slowly work your way to mastering and improving your poses. In fact, you might realize that with regular practice and through doing a yoga challenge, your flexibility will significantly improve and you’ll even feel better.
While not all places offer this, a cool thing would be for studios to offer childcare on certain days to encourage moms of young kids to attend more classes. Also, it would be pretty neat for studios to offer those participating in their yoga challenge the option of recording and submitting their at-home practice should a last minute emergency come up. Perhaps offering online video courses they can do once or twice to count towards a day in the challenge. These options would be super helpful for moms of little kids and parents and caregivers in general. Either way, you can always provide feedback and make recommendations for classes or options that you think would help.
Incorporating more yoga into your life
If you truly want to try different styles of yoga and encourage yourself to incorporate more yoga into your daily life. Participating in a yoga challenge can be a great way to do that. It’s not just for college students or athletes or people who have been practicing yoga for decades. While there are definitely challenges moms of young kids might face in making time for themselves or participating in a yoga challenge. With the right systems in place, non-judgmental support and encouragement, it is totally possible and something seriously worth considering.