This August, I embark on my final month of yoga teacher training.
The last five months have flown by, and for this final month, I wanted to consciously integrate a number of teachings into my everyday life in a deeper way than I have done previously.
At our last training weekend, one of my teachers, Michael, challenged us to really step up over the final stretch of our course. He discussed the fact that some people tend to just coast through the finish line – while others really dig deep and finish the race strongly.
I really resonated with this idea of making the most of the final few weeks of our training, and have been thinking since then – what can I do to dive even more deeply into my yoga practice in this final month, in preparation for stepping into the world as a newly minted yoga teacher?
In the end, my decision was twofold.
One – to really focus on, review, and reinforce the asanas I have been learning throughout the course. That was where the idea for my #31DaysOfYogaFundamentals challenge came from.
Running a public challenge like this was my way of making myself accountable in a way that will compliment my internal motivation with some external motivation.
My goal is to maintain 31 days of continuous practice – with a minimum of 30 minutes of asana and 15 minutes of meditation every single day. Within this, I will photograph myself each day doing one of 31 poses, and share it on instagram and facebook along with the alignment cues, variations where possible, and the contraindications for that pose.
A way to study that might help other people, too? What’s not to like!
Two – I wanted to work on other aspects of my life, and I turned to the yamas and niyamas for some inspiration.
In the end, I decided to dedicate August to the enactment and study of 4 of the niyamas – Shaucha (purification/cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), and Svadhyaya (self-study).
There are almost myriad ways to do this, but I wanted to place some concrete limitations on myself – purification and cleanliness in my diet, the discipline and contentment to maintain these restrictions and my daily practice, and making more time in my day for self-study.
This month, I dedicate myself to the following:
- I will not consume alcohol
- I will not eat meat
- I will eat only 3 small meals per day, and no snacks (with one dessert per week – because… the middle path!)
- I will maintain my daily practice, outlined above
- I may only read fiction on the weekends, to make space in my weekday evenings for study (I usually go through novels like water, and read most nights for a few hours)
I will also keep a journal to chart my progress throughout the month, and share some of those thoughts with you here.
I’m intrigued to discover what challenges this month will bring, and what I might learn about myself. Part of me thinks ‘no sweat’ and another part of me is slightly freaking out. But hey – we only grow by pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones, right?
On the brink,