You Just Never Know- Jill B.
If you would have told me 15 months ago that I would be practicing yoga regularly, let alone completing two 30-day challenges, I would have told you that you were crazy. But here I am, and I’m better for it. Some background. I am a Type A person who has the MO of “getting stuff done”. Make a ToDo list, complete it and create the next one. Repeat cycle.
Before yoga, I ran and did CrossFit. I still do those and I enjoy all 3 activities for different reasons. [Sidebar: Yes, you can do CrossFit and practice yoga, and not spontaneously self-combust.]
I figured I would do the 30-day challenge in March because I was in between jobs and I had some extra time. Why not, right? My focus during this challenge was to ‘believe in myself’ after I transitioned out of a company I co-founded. I also wanted to continue to ‘be present’ and not multitask, which was a goal I set earlier in the year.
What I learned in the challenge was that “every day is a different day”. Your body works differently at 6am than it does at 5:30pm. Having the same expectation of your body’s capabilities for every practice is unrealistic. Just like life, right?
That 30-day endeavor inadvertently ended up preparing me for the most challenging period of my life. My husband, Marc, ended up having emergency brain surgery in mid-April and the recovery was stressful for obvious reasons. One person that I became friends with during the challenge helped out in a major way on surgery day with a small and simple act of kindness.
The lesson here is that you just never know where help is going to come from when you need it.
We had some other significant “bumps in the road” surface in that time frame. Our friends encouraged me to keep exercising and set time for myself while all of this was taking place. So I kept going to yoga as much as I could while mixing in running with friends.
We certainly had our share of things that we couldn’t control, but you can control certain things and ‘gratitude’ was one of those I focused on.
Someone always has it worse than you and setting that intention in class was huge in helping me remain focused and composed. Marc’s recovery was progressing in a positive direction, so the regular reminder during a tumultuous period was good.
Rose, one of our beloved instructors, had a great quote in a practice that said, “Don’t think about how far you have to go. Think about how far you have come.” We were at a pretty tenuous phase in Marc’s recovery at that point so those words really resonated with me and they still do many months later.
I also learned to just ‘accept’ what I could and couldn’t do on a given day, whether it was at a practice or in some other facet in life. Lying down and chilling for half of the class was surprisingly liberating and I picked that up doing the bingo in the 30-day challenge. Did I mention I like to get stuff done yet?
The quiet in the room added calm when everything outside felt pretty chaotic. It allowed me to prioritize keeping things simple as much as possible so I could take care of both Marc and myself. I still say to people that yoga was definitely a form of therapy as I was simultaneously dealing with multiple crises.
Fast forward to the 2nd challenge in October, which had a backstory about some “unfinished business” for me (click here). In one of the workshops led by Kylie, she said something to the effect of “if you’re not willing to inspect, you can’t expect”. Another gem of a quote.
In between the 2 challenges, I had done a fair amount of introspection about a number of things going on in my life. I had made some changes, which were starting to yield results on a number of fronts. By mid-October, Marc was participating in yoga practices 3x/week thanks to Brandon’s help. He had his modifications and the atmosphere at MYS made us feel very comfortable to just do the best we could.
Marc’s determination to stretch, sweat and recover from his multiple surgeries motivated me on days that I didn’t feel like getting out of bed at 5:30am to complete the challenge. But I did. My fellow challengers also motivated me when I was on the fence so we would make a plan to hit a class together. Marc practiced next to me as I finished day 42, which was my goal. 42 sessions in 42 days.
I’ve learned a great deal about myself from when I first walked into MYS in late October, 2014. Participating in the 30-day challenge not knowing what to expect gave me more than I bargained for. I absolutely recommend it and advise going in with an open mind. It’s different for everyone. And jeez, two 30+ day yoga challenges in under a year. Never would have thought that would have been me! But you just never know.