Guest Blog Post: The 30-day yoga challenge- How I made friends and stopped making excuses

Despite 'polar vortexes', sub-zero temperatures and snowstorms that just wouldn't quit, 16 determined individuals made it to a Tula class for 30 straight days. Dana Ardell was one of those people and I asked her to share her experience with making yoga a priority for a month. Look for more inspirational stories from our challengers in the coming weeks.

Here's Dana's story ---

The 30-day yoga challenge - How I made friends and stopped making excuses

by Dana Ardell

I'll be the first to admit it. The 30-day yoga challenge isn't easy. I signed up for the challenge previously and lasted a total of five days. I gave up, felt defeated and didn't bother trying to pick it back up, letting the rest of the month slip away with a complete lack of yoga.

As we all know too well, life is busy and it's easy to make excuses for ourselves. I was pretty sure that I was way too busy just with having a full-time job (not to mention life outside of that) to be able to make my way to yoga class thirty days in a row, but I was determined to make some changes this year and my health was at the top of the priority list. I decided it was time to stop making excuses and time to figure out a sustainable path to fitness.

So, I signed up for this year's challenge and even after blocking out the month's classes in my calendar to ensure that I'd be able to complete the challenge, I wasn't so sure that I could.

I was pretty fired up to begin the challenge and I was even more excited when I made it past day five because at least at that point I could say I had done better than my previous attempt.

But I actually found myself wanting to come to class. I wasn't dreading it like I thought I would. I kept seeing familiar faces in class and many of those familiar faces became friends during the challenge. We began encouraging each other and making plans to attend the same classes. Having supportive new friends who were undertaking the same challenge was a serious motivator as letting myself down is often easy, but letting someone else down isn't. Accountability can be a game changer!

I hit a major hump around day 14, but knowing that even though I didn't want to go to class, I would be happy once I got there and even happier on the walk home from class kept me going. And it always held true.

The most important thing that became apparent to me throughout the challenge was that I do have time for yoga. If I was able to carve out an hour or two of time to attend class every day for a full thirty days straight, my previous insistence that I was too busy for yoga was just an excuse I had made up for myself. The realization that I DO have time for the things I enjoy (which are often the things that are good for me) has been empowering.

My 30-day journey wasn't about physical transformation. I do feel stronger and I do feel like a more balanced person, but I still can't jump into handstand or even touch my toes without bending my knees...and that's okay. 

The various teaching styles of the wonderful teachers at Tula and the support from them, as well as from other students, have made me realize that I am exceptionally lucky to have found the community at Tula. Now that the 30-day challenge has come to an end, I am excited to continue a regular yoga practice and to meet many more yogi friends at Tula.