21-Day Challenge II, Week 1
If you’ve been reading, you know that I recently completed Yoga Journal’s 21-Day Challenge DVD set. Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience. Even though I didn’t like some of the practices, it got me into a regular routine of daily yoga. I wrapped up the DVD challenge last Sunday, which was excellent timing because YJ’s 2012 online 21-day challenge began the very next day. I was already in a routine, so I figured, why not? And so began the next 21-day challenge.
I’ve completed the first week of the online challenge, which seems like a good point to check in and reflect. Writing every day during the first challenge was a good exercise for me, but doing so again might prove repetitive. So, a weekly update seems more reasonable and palatable this time around.
The Good and The Bad
First, the bad: I was super excited for something new and different in my yoga routine, so it disappointed me greatly to find that this “new” 21-day challenge was simply the same practices from the DVD set, just arranged in a different order. Major bummer.
But, I have committed to doing it, so that’s what I’m doing. I have such little confidence in my ability to follow through on things these days, and am hyper-aware of my tendency to start something and not complete it. Because of that, I think I’ve maybe begun to tend to the other extreme, being doggedly determined to stick with various projects and commitments until their completion.
Another fairly major downside to the online challenge is that the videos are embedded in the browser using Flash, so they can’t be downloaded. This means that for people like me whose computer and yoga mat are on opposite ends of the house, it is difficult to make the logistics work. After lots of technical assistance, I plugged my laptop into the TV to play the video. That is, until I realized that I already have the whole thing on DVD (head, meet desk).
Now, the good: I have everything on DVD, so no more messing with plugging my laptop into the TV! Also, the practices are relatively short, which means that a) there’s no excuse not to do something each day, and b) I can easily supplement with other DVDs in my collection.
By the end of this challenge, I will have more or less done a daily practice for 42 straight days (and since December 28th, I’ve only missed one day!). While searching for my header graphic, I stumbled on this blog, where I read the following comment:
My teacher… says it is better to practice 10 minutes each day during the week than one day a week for 70 minutes. The habit of practice is important and tends to grow into longer practice sessions without much effort.
It’s true: I find that frequently, I do more than the day’s prescribed sequence, just because I want to. I know that I need to add more variety (cardio, strength) to my fitness routine, but I’m pleased that I have at least achieved some sort of consistency. It’s the little things.
An Extra Challenge: A Meat Hiatus
I also added eating vegetarian as a component of this 21-day challenge. So far, so good. I find it pretty easy to eat meat-free, and with the single exception of some amazing looking sushi last night, I have not been tempted to veer off course. (I resigned myself to veggie tempura and the avacado, cucumber and asparagus roll, while vowing to return on January 30th).
For me, the most challenging parts of eating vegetarian are 1) finding enough protein, and 2) avoiding carbs. I’m so used to getting my protein through meat that I sometimes forget that I have to actively find alternate sources. And, because I really shouldn’t be eating many carbs anyway, it’s doubly hard to resist the urge to replace meat with extra bread, pasta, etc.
Accentuate the Positive
Since I have been doing yoga daily, I have noticed a substantial decrease in the number of negative thoughts I have. It’s striking, really. I’m even mostly over the fact that there are zero new practices in this 21-day challenge. I was, however, highly annoyed to be woken up this morning on my holiday off by my neighbor’s tree-cutting and chipping activities. I’m not sure why that couldn’t wait until tomorrow. In any case, I’m grateful to have the day to myself so that I can do things like write, with this helpful little gremlin sitting in my lap:
In the next week, I plan to maintain the consistency of my practice and increase the intensity. I’m also hoping the sun will decide to shine so I can get out on the tennis court at least once without freezing. At least spring is (hopefully!) right around the corner!
So tell me, How are you doing with your 2012 fitness goals so far? What has worked, and what hasn’t?