January is full of ads and articles about getting in shape, taking on new fitness challenges and pushing yourself to get a workout in everyday. I don’t know about you, but it gives me hella anxiety. Throughout the month I tried to avoid being effected by these messages, but it’s hard not to feel guilty about my habits, or lack of motivation for hitting the gym.
So now that it’s February (my birthday month!) and the month of love, it’s time to take on a much more fulfilling challenge. It’s all about self love and acceptance. This 30-day yoga challenge from Refinery29 is all about finding peace of mind, and focusing inward to connect with your body… and to love it!
See the full schedule below for small challenges you can easily complete everyday. If you’re interested in trying the meditation challenges, or want to incorporate more meditation into your day, I encourage you to try the Calm app!
Day 1: Begin with about five minutes of meditation. End your day with a few minutes of legs up the wall pose to reduce inflammation from standing.
Day 2: Start your morning with no phone, and instead practice your deep breathing and meditation for five minutes, she says. Before you go to bed, do a few minutes of legs up the wall pose and pigeon pose on each side.
Day 3: Your morning starts the same way as it did on Day 2: five minutes of meditation and deep breathing, and no phone. Try to avoid turning to your phone for the first 30 minutes until you wake up, she says. Do pigeon and rounded plough pose before bed and focus on directing your breath to the lower back, kidney region of your body.
Day 4: Wake up and meditate on your breath for five minutes. End your day with a wide-legged forward fold and rounded plough pose. Hold each posture for a few minutes — yes, minutes — to really deepen into the stretch.
Day 5: Start your morning with deep breathing and five minutes of meditation. As you sit, focus on your breath and any other sensations you feel in your body. Before bed, prop yourself up in a restorative fish pose, and then restorative bridge pose for a few minutes.
Day 6: Wake up and meditate for five minutes. End your day with pigeon and rounded plough pose. Hold the poses for up to five minutes if possible, she says. “Count your breath and slow it down.”
Day 7: Try 10 rounds of “box breathing,” a technique that involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for four counts, and then exhaling for four counts, she says. After that, meditate for five minutes. At the end of the day, do legs up on a wall, restorative fish pose, and restorative bridge.
Follow the same series as week one, and continue with your no-phone policy before and after bedtime. “Start to log your dreams in a dream journal every morning: write down any images, symbols, or figures you can remember,” says Krissy Jones, co-founder and yoga director at Sky Ting Yoga in New York City. Increase your evening yoga time to 10 minutes of restorative yoga poses per day before bed.
Extend your breathing meditation to 10 minutes every morning. Keep doing the same 10 minutes series of restorative yoga poses at night, and continue logging your dreams in your dream journal. Try to journal before bed, and reflect on your day, she says. “Write down places in your day where you felt at ease, connected, and healthy, and times where you felt distracted, frustrated, and negative,” she says.
Continue meditating, practicing yoga before bed, and logging your dreams in the morning. “Check in a few times during your day and notice your breath, thoughts, and where you hold tension in your body,” she says. At night, spend time reflecting in your journal. “This practice will help you to navigate your mental space, and you’ll be able to clearly see the places where you get stuck and where you’re centered and grounded,” she says.