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Why I Completed a 30-day Yoga and Meditation Challenge and What I Learned Along the Way

Rickita Henderson is a 200-hour RYT yoga teacher in the metro Detroit area. She thrives to be a reminder that you are the gate keeper of your life. You have the power to balance and align your mind, body and spirit. Her classes are challenging and help individuals develop a sense of self and total well being. Join her journey @RickitaYogini

Transmuted: To change from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another; transform.

It started out as a community program I was putting on for my department at work but it quickly bloomed and blossomed into something much more. Investing time in others gave me energy to create space for myself. It became personal. This was a commitment I was making to me, for me, and I overflowed from there.

By the end of week one I was committed. Loving myself in spite of my flaws, even though my situations weren’t perfect, I chose love anyway.

“Be strong. Be brave. Be fearless. You are never alone.” — Joshua 1:9

Day two swiftly, I realized that sometimes I would have to do it alone. My practice became my comfort. It is true that what you do when no one else is around determines your character and your commitment. Lean on your truth. Joshua 1:5 explains “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So even if someone wasn’t supportive or they didn’t understand, I still chose to practice and to love. Doubt and old self-defeating spirits of perfectionism tried to creep in. What if I get distracted? What if I don’t complete a full hour or 90 minutes or whatever? I chose consistency. I embraced the loneliness, fears, and doubts choosing to stay in my breath one at a time.

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." — 2 Chronicles 15:7

When you make time for stillness, then you can get perspective and see everything moving around and inside of you. You will be rewarded. Your efforts are not in vain. Your good work and the fruits of your labor will be supported at just the right time. I am a witness. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” — Exodus 14:14. Without judgment move into your posture, what you need will make room for you instead of you having to figure out how to make room for it. I confessed “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” — Jeremiah 29:11. By the end of day four old dreams were resurrected and I not only began to wish for them but I also believed in them. I am worth the commitment to my happiness. My happiness is worth my commitment.

"Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." — Proverbs 27:17

We needed each other.

Our community started to express their excitement. After one week of a daily yoga practice, they were surprised by the “yoga bliss”. I would hear comments like, “I just feel so good.” Or “I don’t know why, but I feel so energized”. The vibes were electric. The students were buzzing with positive chatter. Plus, I was sharing my personal experience on Facebook and Instagram. Our energy started to spread beyond our yoga studio walls.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. There will be waves. Ups and downs, twists and turns.

The half-way point. Can I really make it the next 15 days? Yes. The mind matters most. There is no such thing as a trouble free person, relationship or existence. Believe that each day is worth experiencing. Trust that the bliss once felt is real. Trust yourself. Trust your practice.

It is important to surround yourself with people who are positive and truthful. Not only are having a community of support and self-practice important, but also you need a teacher; a picture of what is possible; examples of commitment and of how to keep going. This will be a great foundation. Keep building from there. I believe in order to live life in the now you have to be willing to let go. By not having all the answers, your experiences will also become your teacher.

May all beings be happy and free. — Sanskrit prayer of loving kindness

Day 17 I introduced the concept of metta meditation into the challenge. Metta meditation, or the meditation of loving kindness, allows us to stretch beyond our own needs and believe peace and happiness for all beings. This meditation practice also added a sense of gratitude for all experiences. All are friends and working for our good.

When the going gets tough, continuity is the key to success.

It is nothing more heartbreaking then to give up and then once you step back you see you were so close. The last 10 days were a challenge. But the groundwork had already been laid. Once you experience the yoga bliss, it is hard to go back to old ways. It’s hard to unlearn what you now know. It’s even harder to stay in a place where the harmony is not there. You might go back but you just can’t stay as long.

This is why I learned it is so crucial to be intentional. Make time for your practice and commit to it. I once heard that discipline not desire determines your destiny. Hopefully, my discipline was an example — a teacher — to someone else.

"There is a time for everything." Ecclesiastes 3:1a

Just Breathe and follow your flow!

Be open to what you need. For instance, I had to be open to practicing at various times of the day or making modifications to my practice. There are so many different formats of yoga and meditation. I was able to adjust my practice to the flow and rhythm of my body and spirit. So, instead of doing an ashtanga or vinyasa practice, there were times when I needed more yin yoga, or pranayama (breath work), or restorative yoga. My practice was more in line with my natural rhythm. I did not have to force and the gifts of balance and equanimity were waiting for me in the end.

Remember: Trust yourself. Don’t make it complicated. Just keep doing what works. Keep being open. Keep putting the good stuff in. Be willing to let go of your future plans and expectations, so you can start living your present dreams! Don’t miss out on the now!

Dig Deep. Deeper. Even deeper … if not for yourself for someone else.

Sharing my journey allowed others to feel supported. We are here to support and love one another. Our society needs more light. Have a good time in what we do and make the most of our lives!

"Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." — Ecclesiastes 3:15

Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow.” I noticed a good work being done, an edification of self and new harvest coming up. I kept going because I noticed a change happening in me and around me. I wanted to keep exploring from there. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

I was transmuted, changed by listening to the Holy Spirit within, the teacher from within. With compassion and understanding, I committed to 30 days of yoga and meditation and allowed the transformation from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another.

Good seeds were planted in rich ground and I am so grateful for the experience.


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