If you follow my Instagram account (and if you aren’t you really should be because I post amazing photos like loaves of bread and blurry shots of my kid’s face) then you noticed some pictures of me doing yoga. The shots were part of a “30 day Selfie Yoga Challenge” created by Ali Kamenova a yoga teacher who posts videos on YouTube. I use to do yoga sometimes, not all the time, usually when I was too tired to run or do an intense HIT routine. But I recently became intrigued about learning more about the practice after I wrote a story on how yoga is helping service members with PTSD. You can read the story HERE if you are so inclined.
Quite by accident I started the yoga challenge around the time I started a 30 day devotional. So my mornings consisted of Bible reading and then time on the mat. It was an interesting 30 days as I was challenged both physically and spiritually. I learned a lot about yoga, its history and belief systems. Yoga is not a religion, but it is spiritual. You can do it for the workout, but you would be missing out on so much if you didn’t embrace the virtues it bestows.
The challenge also helped me immensely with prayer/meditation time. I have one of those brains that won’t shut off. So I can find it difficult to pray. I mean I pray all the time and try to talk to God whenever possible, but what yoga did was help me shut off my brain and stop talking to God. Instead I began to listen to Him. That’s something, as a Christian, I struggle with. Often I feel like my relationship with God is one sided because even though I feel Him there and I know He is with me I didn’t always hear Him. I just couldn’t shut up long enough to let Him in. Yoga changed that. It doesn’t force you to shut off your brain. It helps you to be steady, quiet, calm and present in the moment. It is when I was being present in my practice that I could sense God there with me. I could hear Him talking to me.
As you can imagine there were a few sessions that became quite emotional. Fortunately Cat was around to climb on my back or throw her bottle at my head before I could get to wishy washy. Thanks for that kid.
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Day 13 #intervalyoga30daychallenge. I was a little tired this morning so I chose to do @intervalyoga AK36 for upper back strength and a long guided shavasana. Quite refreshing. Sometimes doing Yoga is like getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep! And of course Cat joined me near the end to make sure I got some weight lifting in. 😜
So what happened at the end of the 30-day challenge? What was so impactful about this that I felt the need to share it on our travel blog?
Well at the end I found myself stronger in a physical and spiritual sense. Religion and faith have always been a very personal thing for me. I don’t feel like I have much knowledge in that area so I tend not to talk about it very often. It’s the same with yoga. It’s something I do, it’s not something I have a lot of knowledge about. The yoga challenge was a “selfie” challenge, meant to get you out of your comfort zone and embrace all your imperfections. At the end of the month I wasn’t “ashamed” of my poor chaturanga skills (I have very weak arms, ask my sister-in-law Kim) and I wasn’t ashamed to let people know that I believe in God, I am a Christian and I have no idea what I am talking about half the time. I just know I like the feeling I get when I do my vinyasa flow and I like the feeling I get when I lay in savasana and let Him speak to me. It’s very refreshing.
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Day 30 of #intervalyoga30daychallenge. I missed two days, but otherwise I kept it up the entire time. Since starting this challenge I've noticed a few changes; my posture has improved, I sleep a little easier and my speed has improved when running. Thanks @intervalyoga for hosting the challenge!
Also, this has absolutely nothing to do with traveling across the northwest.
– Veronica Sandate Craker