In the 6 years that I’ve been a member at Bikram Yoga Nairobi, I’d never done a challenge. In August 2018, I decided to challenge myself to a 30 day challenge, to support teacher Beatrice who was embarking on a personal 30 day challenge. 30 days turned to 60 days… then to 90, then to 100 and somewhere along the path, I decided to make this a 365 days challenge.
My days were focused on yoga; scheduling and rescheduling work to make it to yoga; arranging meetings around yoga; eating early enough to make it to yoga; choosing what to eat so not to throw up in yoga… EVERYTHING revolved around yoga.
There were days when I couldn’t understand why I tortured myself to go for yoga, going to the extent of blaming yoga for me not having “a life”. I complained and I whined often.
But then I came to realise that yoga had become an important part of my daily life, something that you do without much thought because it’s a routine… like having breakfast or going to work and, apart from feeling guilty when I couldn’t make it for class, something definitely didn’t feel “right” when I didn’t do yoga.
At one point during the challenge (around day 95 to be precise), I started to notice mental clarity.
First of all, it’s amazing what you can achieve physically by focusing your mind.
Secondly, that physical “pain” or struggle that you endure during class miraculously disappears the moment you step out of the hot room after class… that pain and struggle is as much mental as it is physical.
Then I realized that yoga doesn’t allow you to stay in your comfort zone. Much as you wish to stay where you are, hiding behind negativity or fear or anger, it propels you in the direction that you’ve been avoiding and pushes you forward.
There’s that small voice inside you that spurs you forward when you want to give up; but then you notice that there is that strength in you, strength that you never knew you had, that you are resolute and you can persevere… then you realise that you’ve pulled through because YOU made the choice to be strong.
Then one day during savasana, you suddenly become aware that you’re a different person. Things that used to hurt you, annoy you, the fear, the anger are no longer significant. You inspect yourself inside and realize that you’ve learnt to let go…. all through yoga.
Thank you to all my friends at the studio. We met at the studio, became friends at the studio and now you are an important part of my life.. it’s thanks to you and your support, that I accomplished this challenge.
Thank you to that very special person who understands how important yoga is for me, and always allows me to prioritise my yoga. I will always be very grateful to you.
This years’ long experience cannot end without saying a big thank you to the teachers and studio owner and studio staff.
Although my challenge is over, you will still see me coming every day… well, almost !!!
- Yoko Seki