This is written by guest blogger/Tula yogini Becca Wise. Becca recently finished the Tula Yoga 30 day challenge where she did 30 days of yoga…in a row. Becca is amazing and bad-ass in a lot of ways (I’ve also heard her described as ‘sunshine’) but this is especially inspiring, here is her story.
A Lesson in Perfection
Life, by nature, is challenging enough. Once we button up one problem, another is sure to replace it fairly quickly. Or sometimes, just as we’re feeling so completely overloaded, another bomb drops and we’re forced into a deep dark place we never even thought existed. I guess I feel pretty fortunate that striving for balance is a main priority in my life. And this balance comes in the form of yoga, lots and lots of yoga. So when I was presented with a challenge to attend one yoga class each day for 30 days at Tula Yoga Studio in Logan Square, I thought, “Sure, why not?” The reward offered by the studio for completing this challenge was a waived monthly membership fee, but I should’ve known that the lessons would reach far beyond this monetary incentive. The takeaway helped me better understand the concepts of the spiritual practice, including translating the equanimity I take with me after class and back into the real world, which isn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows, especially during the brutality of winter in the Windy City…
The best part of the challenge was that each and every day, no matter how strong or absent-minded I felt during class, I felt good simply knowing that I was working toward a goal and that I hadn’t given up. Even when my mind would wander, exacerbating feelings of negativity, blame and guilt, I still had my practice-one thing to feel good about each and every day. The strength of mind and character that I built during the challenge carried over into my real day-to-day life, offering me courage, insight and wisdom. I was able to challenge myself to say the hard things, to speak up and be heard. I also began to feel steady progress physically as well. All of a sudden, I could touch my head to the floor in a wide-legged forward fold and even push my legs up into a headstand! The more challenging my personal life got throughout the 30 days, the more I went into my breath during practice, keeping my eyes closed through most of the poses and feeling that I was really “getting” what this whole yoga thing was all about.
It shouldn’t have surprised me that my life would continue to balance itself throughout the 30 days. All of the warmth and positive energy I created inside the studio was counter-balanced by the difficulties presented outside the studio. There was no reserve of serenity, my life off the mat had literally soaked up every last drop of yoga bliss, pulling me off-center and taking me to a dark, unfamiliar place. At the time, I felt like my commitment to the 30-day challenge was almost all I had…my only chance to feel good each day. And I learned that no matter how much yoga I do, nothing will ever be the exact way I want it. I remain who I am: perfectly imperfect. The more I struggle for perfection; the more my life pulls me back into reality, wakes me from the unrealistic notion that I can do it all seamlessly, if only I practice yoga each and every day.
Now, after the dust has settled and I am back in a balanced place, I see the effects of my sustained effort much more clearly. It was a life lesson. A deep yoga practice doesn’t prevent us from the natural ebbs and flows of life. Couples have challenges. Work can be intense. The magic of yoga lies in the fresh, clear perspective it offers. If we can learn to accept challenges in our lives and look at them as opportunities, we start to gain wisdom. And when we truly understand that the one thing for sure in life is change, we’re golden. Until the next challenge, that is…then we start fresh and learn it all over again.