30 Day Yoga Challenge & New Beginnings

When I started practicing yoga five years ago, it took me a while to get into the language of yoga. I giggled. I squirmed. When I think about it now, the giggles were coming from two areas. First, it was simply new. Everything was new. And if I were to only listen to a complete yoga class now (while thinking of it from a beginner perspective), I could still hear how silly some of it sounds. The rest of the giggles were coming from a place of uncomfortable new-ness. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I didn’t know what they were referring to 95% of the time. I would watch them and try to replicate it. Five years later, yoga has become a part of my life. I’ve gone through phases of more/less yoga – ranging from monthly, to weekly, to daily. But yoga is always there waiting.

Like most goals that seem impossible, (well not impossible, but almost unattainable) beginning is the most important step. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to be the best. You just have to start. Just like when I started running this year. And then life happens, and days, weeks, months, years go by. Then you overhear a friend mention to another friend, “Olivia is really into yoga, so ask her”. You realize “yeah, I guess I am a yogi”. When did that happen? Slowly. Over five years time. As long as I continue to practice I will be a lifelong yogi. Fancy that.

My last 30 day yoga challenge was in 2010. I’d been thinking of doing another 30 day challenge this year. After I hurt my IT band and finished my half marathon, I took some time off from running. It was the perfect time to replace all that running with yoga. I had been doing a lot of short practices while half training anyway, for cross training and recovery. I ended my yoga challenge in Hawaii while visiting my sister. It was so fun to be able to practice with her again. As my first foray into yoga was also with her back in 2008! It’s also great to see how amazing the human body is. My sister just had her first child and so she hadn’t done much yoga since before the baby arrived. So six weeks post-baby she was up for some yoga again. She also loved the classes on yogaglo and the ability to search/filter based on area: (neck and back is where it’s at being a new mama).

Being in Hawaii for 10 days was a great time to finish out my yoga challenge. I didn’t work while I was there. I had a lot of time to think about life and where I’m going and what I’m doing with this one wild and precious life. I got to spend the most uninterrupted time with my sister since she moved to Hawaii a couple years ago. And I got to fall in love with my new baby niece! She’s going to grow up so quickly. Thankfully, I have another trip planned soon to meet her four month-old self.

I could get used to my Hawaii morning routine. Maybe this why I’m feeling a little reluctant with fall back in Portland. Morning yoga out on the balcony with 180 degree view of the ocean and Kailua bay (yes, I also have a little house envy). Followed by morning coffee while reading. Getting ready for the day and then a little quality time and ridiculous grins with baby Vi while her mama got ready. Oh, Hawaii.

In closing, one of my favorite phrases I have heard over and over in some of my classes is “Yoga is not your sport.” It’s so true – in life and sport we challenge ourselves and over-stretch. Those of us with a competitive nature might be even more terrible at this. So more recently in yoga, I’ve been learning to not over-stretch. To feel the stretch in less of a stretch. Meta! To relax into it instead of being caught in this tension of trying to hold a stretch you’re not quite into – simply because you can.

PS. While in Hawaii, I also made the decision to take the leap into self-employment! So I left my job at BootsnAll Travel and this was my first week being self-employed! I’m doing marketing consulting and digital strategy and my company name is Early Bird Strategy. I struggled a little with deciding how to split up my work and personal online presence and decided I wanted to keep Powered by Tofu as my personal blog. So I’ll still be focused on travel, life, fitness, things I’m learning, food etc over here. Then I’ll be blogging about marketing, social media, and fun productivity and process tips over at my new blog. Can’t wait to share a bit more about my decision to go freelance and some lessons I’ve learned already, but for now if you’re interested in streamlining your marketing check out the latest posts, including 5 Things You Should Be Doing in Gmail, and 8 Ways to Promote the Same Blog Post on Twitter (Without Sounding Like a Broken Record), and sign up for my free monthly-ish newsletter to keep up on the latest from Early Bird.