September Self-Improvement Month 2020 – Reflections and Yoga Philosophy

Good Morning Yogis! Today is the last day of September and our Daily Asana Challenge for September. September is National Self-Improvement Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so as we complete our daily Asana practice challenge for September I am announcing another challenge for October – Daily Meditation! You do not have to participate in this or any of our particular monthly challenge themes, we will be continuing our daily Positive Practices drawn from the 8 Limbs of Yoga throughout next month.

As September Self Improvement Month and our Daily Asana Challenge are drawing to a close, I want to discuss an important common concept from Yoga Philosophy – Practice not Perfection! If you participated in the 30 Day Asana Challenge, how did you do? I will say, I was not perfect! I had a couple of travel days in September, and I missed a couple of my scheduled full-length Asana classes and only did a couple rounds of Sun Salutations. But, you know what… that’s okay! I still had about 28 of 30 days I hit my goal… that is probably 20 more days of full-length Asana classes than I would have done without setting this goal, and I hit my Apple Watch activity rings for the month! Our Tapas daily habits should be viewed the same way! It is great if you adhere perfectly to your goals. But you know what, sometimes life gets in the way.. if you miss a day or even a few days, just get back to it. One slip up does not mean defeat or failure. I have heard success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. So, keep practice not perfection in mind on your Yoga and/or self-improvement Journeys. This is a concept we will revisit – click here for more quotes about not focusing on or being demotivated by perfection. I am adding a few more of my favorites at the bottom of today’s post!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to reflect on your progress, keeping “Practice not perfection” in mind. This can be with your progress with Asanas or our challenge during September, your daily habits, or whatever you wish!

Today is the last day of our Daily Asana Challenge for September. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For our reflective day today, I recommend a Hatha class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I typically practice Asana most consistently in the morning, and this is my favorite morning series!

I have been building strength and doing this series quite a bit throughout September, so I am excited to finally move up to Intermediate AM (20 Minute) next month! Please note I have been occasionally working this beginner series for multiple years, but my focus on daily Asana has helped me finally take the step to the next level… progress, not perfection!

Remember, it usually takes 30 days to create a new habit! I am going to do my best to keep up with at least 15-20 minute AM Asana sessions. Either way, we will revisit daily Asanas in 2021 to reinforce this habit.

Please comment and share how you did with your progress, and celebrate your victories! Did you participate in our daily Asana challenge or keep up with your daily habit? Are you planning to participate in the meditation challenge or set another new goal? Always remember, be kind!

I prefer today’s picture quote and the ones below over the shooting for the moon and landing among the stars, which is beautiful imagery, but scientifically not very accurate.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali
“Change happens outside of your comfort zone.” – Robbie Kramer
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“Fail early, fail often, in order to succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 4 – September Self-Improvement Month

Good Morning Yogis! Happy September! September is National Self-Improvement Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so we’re going to continue with a daily Asana practice challenge for September.

Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Santosha Day today, I recommend a Hatha class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Combination (30 Minute), so I can complete my Beginners Essentials Badge. I would also classify this series as Hatha Style.

We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Last time we practiced the second of the Niyamas, Santosha / contentment with ourselves on the mat, by honoring and being gentle with our bodies, and not pushing ourselves to pain… Santosha is the key to avoiding injury during Asanas / Poses, so please make sure to carry this throughout the month if you are participating in the September Asana Challenge! Today we will be focusing on Santosha with our lives, not just our bodies.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to actively exercise Santosha/contentment by focusing on the present moment, ideally in nature. I have heard if we focus on the past we will be depressed, if we focus on the future we will be anxious, and the key to joy is living in the present moment. A couple of the Yamas and Niyamas reflect this secret of happiness hidden in the “now”. I find one of the easiest ways to do this is to get outside and be active! Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses. Take a run and feel the wind on your face. Being around water is always especially calming for me, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river. Perhaps hike and appreciate the beauty around you rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot. Since we are still in the days of social distancing, maybe pack a picnic and head to the back yard or a nearby park, or read a book on your deck or by the window. Whatever feels like the best way for you to get out of your little bubble, and appreciate the beauty of the world around you.

Also, calmly notice when your thoughts drift back to the past or forward to the future. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the sight, sounds, smells, taste, or feel of your surroundings.

Please comment and share how you did focusing on the present moment today. Did you get outside? Were you able to find contentment in the now? Always remember, be kind!

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