February Challenges at yoga studios are a big thing. Doing the same number of classes as there are days in the month (28 or 29, depending on the year) is a great way to re-ignite any new year’s resolutions you may have let slide after the first couple weeks. More importantly, such challenges are meant to motivate you to show up on the mat regularly.
I did the February Challenge at my local hot studio for the first time a few years ago. I wasn’t a newcomer to yoga then but I’d done hot yoga for less than six months, mostly sticking to the class I was most comfortable with – Hot 26. The February Challenge compelled me to try different classes and push myself a bit. As a result, I got stronger and more flexible.
My life outside of home then consisted of work and yoga. I was able to do a class almost every day. However, the Challenge at one point conflicted with a scheduled work trip. Because I knew this ahead of time, there were days I took two classes to fulfill the attendance goal.
In other words, it’s a lot of commitment but I was motivated. It’s worth it, but it’s also a lot to plan out – especially if you have competing priorities (family, work, social commitments).
One of my students recently expressed interest in the Challenge at the local studio but acknowledged it would be difficult with scheduling. Classes for her were either too early, too late, or there weren’t more evening options. This was her reality as a someone who works full time and is a parent of young kids.
What transpired in our brief chat was the idea of creating her own challenge.
Not everyone will be able to do a formal February Challenge for various reasons. Instead of resigning to not participating at all, I encourage you to design your own challenge. The criteria is yours to set; and could look like one or more of these:
- If you’re taking one class a week, show up for a second.
- If you’re taking two classes a week, show up for a third.
- If you’re taking the same class every time, try a different class
- If there’s lots of class options, pick a new different class every week
This year, I won’t be doing the Challenge at the local studio. But I am doing yoga regularly at home and taking classes from different teachers at other studios in the area. So my February Challenge (which technically started in January) is to embrace the variety I’ve invited in my life.
I won’t be getting a new T-shirt (or similar Challenge prize) at the end, but I will have the satisfaction of knowing I did my best to show up for myself on the mat. Hopefully you’ll feel the same.