Have you ever cleaned a long ignored cupboard to find something wonderful buried in the back? That is the easiest way for me to explain my 40-Day Yoga Challenge experience. When I signed up, I thought my life was all under control. I had made some huge changes that I felt good about; job, location, and relationships. However, during this process, I had let my physical care slide. What could be better than yoga in a way that was sure to make it a habit? Bring on the 40-Day challenge.
In the beginning, the challenges I faced were small, although they felt huge at the time. The first little challenge was really just getting up and going to class. Who knew that it was so dark at 6am in winter? The next little challenge was the actual physical work. It had been a good long while since I had pushed my body, and my body was sore. I will admit, I tried to force my way through it at first, but the teachers offered a better way. Over the course of 40 Days, I learned increasingly to work with my body instead of on it. I liken this period to when you get up off the couch, open the cupboard, take a big sigh and decide you are indeed cleaning it right now.
The process then brought about challenges beyond the boundaries of “physical”, and this was unexpected. It was as if each time I made space in my body physically, I realised what was blocking it mentally or emotionally. Sometimes, it was unrealistic expectations on myself. Sometimes it was something that I had forgotten to grieve. Sometimes, it was a sense of selfishness or guilt or shame. This resulted in a few moments crying gently in a pose. Ok, it also resulted in uncontrolled sobbing in certain poses. I had reached that moment when you realise cleaning the cupboard was a much bigger job than you expected, and you just want to walk away.
This could have been the end of the process for someone like me, someone who detaches from what they feel as a form of self-defence. However, when I looked up in those moments at the teachers, and they looked at me as if this was completely normal, I felt ok to be exactly where I was. The made me feel that it was not just ok to take time to move through whatever I was doing, it was important. Add to this the meditation sessions with Liama, and it was akin to making piles with what I had found in the cupboard. Do I love this? Does it serve me? Will I keep it or do I throw it out? The insides of my cupboard were strewn across the floor as I sorted through what I’d found. Not quite where I wanted it to be, but it had to be done
As if the universe knew the clock, I found a special gift, just for me, right before the end of the challenge. Sitting there, easy to see now all the clutter had been moved. I had found something amazing, buried deep in my self that I had forgotten I even had. It changed my relationship with the world for the better. There had been gold buried in my cupboard and I had just let it sit there.
Showing up on your mat for 40-Days, not just in body, but in mind and spirit also, is indeed a challenge. As Tim Ferris says, “The most important actions are never comfortable”. My cupboard was messy; it was work. While not necessarily easy, in a safe space with teachers who obviously cared and yoga as the foundation, it really was simple.
I can’t recommend this experience highly enough, and have already signed up for the next 40-Day Challenge. I hope you sign up too. Don’t you know what inner gold is hiding in your cupboard?