Wednesday, December 29, 2010

40-Day Challenge - Reflections from Participants

Karen Kinnard - I am moved by you all. . . .

Angie Perschnick
The yoga challenge was a really good experience for me. I feel like I've gotten a lot stronger during the challenge, and my mind is less scattered (more able to calm down & focus) overall. Going to the studio 3 days a week was difficult at times with children and scheduling conflicts, but it was a good chance for me to figure out how to prioritize my health goals that can so often be pushed aside when I get really busy or feel others need something from me at the time.

I'm looking forward to doing the Weight Loss/Wellness Boot Camp starting in January too. I love yoga practice and want to combine that with my efforts to lose weight. I did lose several pounds during this challenge and would like to continue on that journey and become healthier in the new year. I hope some of you join me in that challenge as well!
Enjoy the holidays and congratulations on taking on this yoga challenge!

Aimee Jackson
The challenge has been great for me. And a true challenge. The "why" is what I continue to still work on. I love yoga--it restores me--it makes me feel more connected to everything and everyone around me--so why do I let it so easily go by the wayside? What this challenge did do for me is at least put it in my mind every day, weather or not I practiced, I thought about it. And often my practice wasn't asana at all, but trying to focus on a principal of the yamas and niyamas, which really is the point of it all anyway.

Practicing asana more often gave me more opportunity for insight into the poses so that I could be in them more deeply, find my balance, my center. Explore those poses that are restrictive for me with curiosity instead of resistance. Practicing in studio several days a week reminded me how much I love doing yoga with others, and how much I benefit from letting the teacher guide me because I almost always will go deeper into a pose when someone else is guiding me.

I certainly wasn't perfect and did not achieve daily practice. I tried to blog through most of it, but really only blogged daily for about the first 20 days. But what I found was that I didn't need it so much after that. The blogging was what helped me stay on track and focused on daily yoga, but once it took hold and become more a part of my daily consciousness, I didn't feel the need to articulate it out loud so much. As is always the case with deeper yoga practice, my mind finally turns off; my words lose their usefulness; and I simply move and breathe and am--and that's enough.

Thank you Karen for this opportunity, and everyone else for being part of the journey.

Mona Lynn
Gracious Greetings to all,

I reside in Missouri and went to high school with Karen. We recently reconnected via Facebook. I have heath issues, and was so inspired by reading Karen's blog posts about her recovery from her recent bike accident, that I decided to attempt yoga again after a not so good experience several years ago. Thus, I decided to take the 40-day yoga challenge virtually so to speak. I live in a rural area where there are no yoga studios. So, I dug my yoga mat and a couple of DVD's out of the closet and decided if I committed to the challenge online, then it would make me accountable for following through to the goal line.

When I began my practice it was physically painful due to my body's de-conditioned state. But each day it seemed to get easier and the pain decreased. Until I attempted a new pose the first week of December, when I experienced a new "opening" sensation in my lower back that I was uncertain about. Karen encouraged me via e-mail. I was feeling improvement, and my posture was improving. I was on track with the 6 days practice, 1 day rest from Nov. 14th thru Dec. 11th. and must say, I was feeling proud of my goal accomplishment.

And then...on Dec. 11th my husband was in a serious accident with a big tree while cutting firewood. That brought my yoga challenge to a screeching halt! I wasn't sure how I was going to get though caring for him as a result of my own health challenges. However, we experienced a Christmas Miracle! He is recovering very well! I have no doubt the time I had spent practicing yoga prior to his accident had strengthened me both physically and emotionally so that I was able to deal with the whole traumatic event and care for him and take care of everything for 2 weeks.

What I learned was I had not practiced yoga long enough to remember to breathe and calm myself while my body was in a full blown adrenaline rush. I instead reverted to my old habits and paced for hours on end like a caged animal. I was however able to remember to breathe and remain calm, thus keeping my husband calm until the ambulance arrived for him. So there was some benefit from my practice.

While I was very disappointed not to be able to complete the challenge. I am feeling good about my physical improvements that I can see in retrospect. It was indeed a powerful time! However, as a result of the positive improvements I've experienced during the challenge, yesterday, Dec. 27th, I chose to begin practicing gentle yoga as a 5 day a week habit.

I wish you all a healthy and Happy New Year!  Namaste, Mona

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