I was challenged by my Guides to do 25 five consecutive days of yoga. I have been practicing yoga for several years now, much more seriously in the last 2-3 years. My routine had settled into 2-4 classes per week at Willow Glen Yoga, a wonderful studio with fantastic teachers. I try to bike 2-3 days per week as well.
However, the challenge to practice yoga 25 consecutive days came in response to my desire to deepen my spiritual work through strengthening the vessel of my body. I know that I need to further embody into the physical form I have in order to support the level of energetic work that I feel called to work. A series of changes in my attitudes and patterns over the last 3 months has given me a glimpse of the possibility of the level of work I could be doing, but I wasn't sure how to get there.
To be fair, I wasn't really issued a challenge so much as given a very loving suggestion. The suggestion was sweet, while suggesting that the commitment to this 25 day practice might support more growth for me.
Given that the 25 day period in question rolled right over big events in my life like Thanksgiving and Black Friday at my shop, I could see that I would have some interesting scheduling challenges ahead of me! Still, I did manage to get in a yoga practice everyday for 25 days. Sometimes it meant accepting that my practice for the day would be restorative rather than active. I came out of those sessions with a much greater appreciation for restorative practice, and I plan to incorporate at least one restorative practice per week going forward. Sometimes I practiced late at night, or sacrificed sleep in order to practice early in the morning, knowing that a later in the day practice simply would not occur. (Black Friday my lovely Wife joined me in getting up at 3:30 in order to have both our meditation and yoga practices before work!)
Did I experience changes during this cycle? Yes, I did, some of them visceral and others much more subtle than I was expecting. I gained a lot of endurance and physical strength. I also was able to see a tiny crack in the wall I have around compassion for myself. It's only a tiny crack, but that glimpse is enough to inspire me to work harder at taking down those walls! My meditation practice and magical work also benefitted greatly from both the physical and energetic strengthening that I experienced. I saw how I have held back from making big commitments in my life in really subtle ways. I found that my capacity is much larger than I had allowed myself to believe.
Then I took off days 26 and 27...and the I hit a wall. Turns out that my body and my psyche really want/need/desire/crave this piece of my practice. Everything -and I do mean everything - works so much more smoothly when I practice yoga everyday. My magical practice is so much more centered, and the work I do is so much more comprehensive when supported by the yoga. My relationships work much more smoothly, too! My first response to this was to make another 25 day commitment; then it dawned on me that the real answer for me was to step up and make a much larger commitment. That felt frightening, but the work of these last few weeks gave me a better center from which to address this fear. My primary contact pointed out that I do know the answers, I just need to do the work.
I commit now to practicing yoga every day, not just for 25 days but for the rest of my life. I understand that it doesn't have be a vigorous vinyasa practice every day. A teacher I worked with recently gave me this piece of wisdom that she received from one of her teachers: A yogi or yogini is not such because they practice physical yoga every day, but because they are fully integrated, present, and embodied. That is what I desire, to embody into this moment, fully integrated, present and accounted for! This way I can step up "in all my parts"!