The magic of “Showing Up” - Reflections halfway through the KYD 30-day challenge

By: Brittany Russell (Karma Yogi and 30-day challenge participant)

    How many times have you set unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that are broken by January 3rd? Or maybe you’ve given something up for Lent just to binge on Easter Sunday? I know I have, more times than I care to admit. That is why the Karma Yoga Denton 30-day challenge is such a great idea. It is a realistic resolution that encourages good daily habits. The only requirement is to spend time on your mat everyday for 30 days.

    I am not saying it has been easy, because honestly, the hardest part of any exercise program is showing up. The same goes for Yoga. The toughest thing is showing up on your mat. Once you begin your practice, whether it is at home, at the gym, or at a KYD yoga class, and you start moving and doing something good for your body, then the hardest thing to do is to stop.

    There have been times in the first half of this challenge that I have told myself I am just going to get on my mat to take a picture to post for the challenge; and then an hour later I am still on my mat and my body and mind feel rejuvenated. You will never regret taking that first step of showing up to your mat!

    Many fitness goals I have made in the past have gone unreached because it was too difficult to measure my progress. I feel like with yoga I make progress every day.  I get a little deeper into a stretch, or I feel myself getting stronger and holding a pose longer.

    Initially the hardest fear I had to overcome with this challenge was worrying about what people would think when they saw my post. I was afraid of responses like “What the heck are you doing!” or “You are doing this all wrong”. Once I began the challenge and posted my first few photos the responses were so positive that the fear quickly went away. Every day the responses I receive from my social media friends and family encourage me to stick to this challenge because I can see that I inspire others. And that feels really good!

    In addition to gaining more confidence, strength, flexibility, and balance; I had another motivation for doing this challenge. I am getting married in October and I set a goal for myself to have sexy, strong arms to be able to look my best in my wedding dress. This 30-day challenge has been the most inspired I have been thus far in accomplishing that goal. I can already see more definition in my arm muscles as well as increased strength. Thanks to this challenge, I know it really is as easy as just committing to showing up.

    This isn’t like most resolutions that are easily broken or end with nothing gained. This is establishing good habits that I intend on keeping. Not just the good habit of developing a daily yoga practice, but the habit of setting challenging but attainable goals for myself and really sticking to them. It’s not just setting an intention for my yoga practice, but for my daily life. Too many times we make excuses, not just for our fitness or health goals but also in many areas of life (work, school, personal, ect.). This challenge is helping me lead with the attitude “all you have to do is show up on your mat” which translates to “all you have to do is make an effort”. With most things in life if you show up and give it your best, then the outcome will be positive-- even if it is not the outcome you were expecting.

    I am only half way through this challenge and I feel like I have accomplished more than just gaining physical strength. I feel strong enough to push aside the excuses I want to make some days, and I feel inspired to get on my mat even if only for 10 minutes. That is how I start every workout; I get on my mat with the intention of spending 10 minutes and seeing how my body feels and then I listen to what my body needs that day. Some days I can really push myself and some days I need to take it easy.

    It is not too late to join me in this challenge. I encourage each of you to go to www.karmayogadenton.com to check out their schedule of donation based classes or find a clip online and practice in your living room. Take a picture of your practice or a picture of a healthy recipe and post it to Instagram or Facebook and tag @karmayogadenton #KYD30daychallenge to participate in the challenge and to inspire others to join you in leading a healthier life. I look forward to seeing all of you on your mats! Namaste!