30 Day Yoga Challenge
Hi, my name is Michelle Young, and I’m a C-IAYT Yoga Therapist and E-RYT 500 Hour Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer in Austin, TX. I’ve been teaching in multiple capacities for the past fifteen years. I started teaching yoga publicly several years ago, and have since completed advanced training in Yoga Therapy. I created an online company, My Vinyasa Practice, to act as a platform for teachers and students to come Staying healthy over the holidays can be tricky. The holiday season can be a nightmare to navigate with all of the meetings, parties, gatherings, and get-togethers. Trying to maintain your health and wellness routine can be almost impossible, especially without some community motivation. Sometimes we have to resource ourselves so we can tap into the intrinsic motivation that is always accessible within. Yoga and meditation can help us stay on track even through the most hectic seasons of our life.
This year I’m kicking off the New Year with a 30-day challenge. I know it sounds cliche, but everything is more fun when you’re doing it in community. I’m writing a new online course that will help people press the reset button on their health and wellness routine so that they can find more balance, ease, and prosperity in their lives.
As I’m preparing to compile all of the content for this new course, I decided it would be a good idea to sit down and consider all of the areas of my life that need a minor tune-up. This couldn’t come at a better time; with the holidays right around the corner, I feel like I’m getting a jump start on my health and wellness goals by proactively thinking about how I want to be healthier in 2020. Here are a few things you might want to consider before you reset for your next year around the sun.
What Are Your Health & Wellness Goals?
Everyone has a different lens. Some people think of aesthetics when they think about health and wellness. Some people think about feeling better and being more active. There are even some people who think about digestion and gut health when they think about their wellness goals. I decided to look at three different aspects of healthful living to create the format for our Total Transformation 30 Day Challenge.
Who doesn’t want to look ten years younger with glowing skin and full, luxurious hair? Many of us want to feel better in our clothes, but as we age, it is harder to maintain our youthful appearance without a fair share of work. Looking good takes more than fad diets and clean eating. It requires a substantial commitment to our mind, body, and soul.
When I am in the thinking mind, I want to rush to quick fixes and unhealthy behaviors, but when I drop out of the thinking mind and into the heart, connecting to intuition, I know small changes will make a big difference. I can tailor my approach to my goals, ensuring that the end result puts me on the path I want to walk. From an Ayurvedic perspective, there are some things I should keep in mind as I plan so that I avoid any dis-ease and optimize the sustainability of my plan.
First, I need to acknowledge that fad diets and quick fixes are not going to be sustainable, and they are not in alignment with Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, each person is a combination of the Doshas or constitutions. The Doshas are made up of the five elements, and they react to one another, creating causal relationships in our bodies and our experiences. Because Doshas are reactive, our food intake can have a profound effect on our overall wellbeing.
In Ayurveda, we use food combining to help mitigate the negative effects of digestion in a closed system. Bloating, water weight, nausea, and intestinal discomfort is frequently caused by the way we combine foods in our diet. Ayurveda also addresses the Doshas and the foods that either promote balance within the Dosha or promote disease. Bringing in the wisdom teachings of yoga help me align with my yogic values while mindfully evaluating my physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual behavior. All of these factors influence the way we look and feel, which makes this a good starting point for self-inquiry.
Overall Health And Wellness
Some of us are trying to cultivate a more balanced diet and routine. I have three kids, ranging in age from 15 to 11, and I find it extremely difficult to make time to cook balanced meals, given my busy schedule. By the time everyone is home from extracurricular activities, it’s nearly eight at night. Unless I’ve been super organized, a night like this would have me reaching for my Uber Eats app. When we integrate the principles of yoga into our lives holistically, we can see that the chaos of our day to day lives has created a dissidence between our biological tendencies and our evolved consciousness.
Humans are designed to follow the rhythm of the sun and moon. When it’s daylight, our bodies want to be up, and when it is the night, our bodies want to be resting. Our devices bring daylight into our resting periods by artificially tricking the brain into thinking that it should be active. If we go back to yoga, we can use the Gunna, the causal influences, to see how our experience is ebbing in and out of balance. There are three Gunna discussed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, including Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva. Rajas has the effect of movement, change, cycling, and habit. Tamas has the effect of stillness, quietness, rest, and lethargy. Sattva is the soul source in between the two more extream causations.
If I were to look at my patterning, where and when I’m spending my time, then I would be able to identify both rajistic patterns and tamasic pattens. This knowledge provides a roadmap for self-inquiry and svadyaya (self-study). This is the yoga that we can be practicing all the time in every situation. If we’re looking for balance, then we have to identify when rajas is ruling our energy, and we counter that rajas with tamas. If we are patterning in a way that is more tamasic we add rajas into our routine to help balance the inactivity. We’re always trying to come back to sattva, or our essential nature.
We can apply these concepts to everything we do in life. Looking at our diet, exercise patterns, and even our meditation to see when we swing one way over the other. Awareness of these concepts in our practice can help us to achieve a more balanced lifestyle and a less reactive disposition.
Digestive Health & Holistic Healing
Some of us just want our body to work the way it uses to work; digestive issues impact the entire body, and when the digestive tract is out of balance, the effects permeate the entire organism. Ayurveda and yoga help to balance the physical energies in the body and rebalance the natural gut biome. A 30-day reset can be so cleansing for the body and surprisingly requires a lot of nourishing sattvic foods.
In my opinion, we tend to want to punish ourselves when we clean the body. We put a lot of emphasis on exertion, but that is simply the opposite of excess. Maybe excess put us in a position where our digestive health feels sluggish or where we’re not taking in nutrients properly, but more often than not, it’s simply a function of our fast-paced lifestyle.
A combination of Ayurveda and yoga will help the body to regain its natural balance and recalibrate its energy. We can tell that it’s working when we see regular sleeping and waking times, regular elimination, general ease in transition, and stable hunger and thirst levels throughout the day and evening. The body does a great job of telling you how it’s doing. When it’s happy, it tells you in subtle ways.
Take The Challenge
Interested in learning more about how yoga and Ayurveda can transform your life in just 30 days? Join us as we explore how yoga can be integrated into your life to transform your body, mind, and soul completely. Register for our free 30 challenge beginning January 2nd and take your practice to the next level. Each day you will receive recorded asana practices, guided meditations, journal prompts, meal plans, and email check-ins from Michelle. You’ll have access to our Total Transformation Facebook Group, and you’ll have the chance to win some amazing prizes along the way!