806 postures and 62 breathing exercises later, I have completed my challenge.

What I learned this month:
– how to engage my neck during backward bends, especially in bow and cobra.
– how to kick out in standing head to knee.
– how to push through the heel and bring my kicking out leg down and forward from the hip in standing head to knee.
– how to bring my weight forward in standing bow, and just how far down my body needs to be in order to get my leg up. How far forward I have to reach. When they say to reach like you’re going to touch the mirror, they mean it.
– where to place my feet in both triangle and standing separate leg head to knee pose.
– how to not collapse onto my heel in toe stand.
– what angle my hands should be at in cobra.
– where my arms should be in full locust.
– how gosh darn forward I need to roll in bow pose.
– how to keep my heels down during the sit ups.
– how to come out of fixed firm.
– how to tuck my chin to my chest in rabbit.
– how to roll my weight in towards the center in head to knee pose, dropping my inner shoulder down too.
– how to engage my quads in order to stretch my hamstrings.

– how to know when to push myself and when to take a break.
– exactly how much water it takes to stay hydrated.
– that I like morning classes a lot – and that they don’t make me feel tired during the day.

I’ve learned so much this month! I did do the daily double on Friday, but it was hard. I had a rough first class, so for the second class I moved my mat back into a cooler area, and just did as much as I could. As usual, when I stopped thinking about the class as a whole, and began to really go posture by posture, I was much more capable.

I rocked in standing bow, and by the time we got to trikanasana I hit my stride. I finished the class – and the challenge – strong.

In our last savasana, Frani (the teacher) congratulated me and another girl in the class on completing the challenge, and double congratulated me for doing my two classes in a row, and then drew the name for the challenger that would win a month of yoga for free. It was me! I won!

In my previous challenges, I have felt like their culminations have been rather uneventful. This did not. I felt a deep sense of accomplishment. I relished putting that last gold star up on the challenge chart.

It has felt strange not having to go to yoga today. I actually already feel inclined to go back. The amount of progress I have made has been really inspiring. I want to go back and improve. Push my postures farther and deeper, make my body healthy and strong.

I spent a wonderful day today with friends and family and my dog, Lilly, and having so much time to just give to the people I care about has made me feel grateful. I’m grateful for the people I have in my life who support me and make me a better person. I’m grateful that I can support and make myself a better person too. I’m grateful that I have this body that works so well.

Gratefully yours,