After annual visits to Mysore for nearly a decade, one Ashtangi learned the hard way that real, rewarding progress comes only when the body and mind are ready to advance—and not one second beforehand.
Kaz and I created this fun Instagram challenge in an effort to bring balance to our lives. From polarizing political news to interwebs drama, we found social media to be draining our time and energy. As an antidote, we thought it would be nice to bring attention and awareness to the other aspects of yoga and, at the same time, spread positivity and inspiration within our social media feeds.
With the support of Webby Award-winning lifestyle site, Sonima.com, we are excited to launch our Yoga In Action Challenge. It’s a seven-day challenge featuring a a mix of seva (selfless service), svadhyaya (self-study), and dinacharya (self-care): all good things that make up a complete and integrated yoga practice. We hope this challenge brings you lightness, joy, and a sense of freedom.
Yours in service,
Kaz and Magnolia
-This is a seven day challenge
-Official Launch is Spring Equinox March 20th, 2018!
-Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate
-Information for the challenge will be up for the entirety of March here: (http://mysoresf.com/blog/ and https://kazcastilloyoga.com/2018/03/01/yoga-in-action/). Information will also be available on Instagram handles @mysoresf @mysorezamalek and @livesonima
-Some challenges require preparations ahead of time. For example, day 6 volunteering at a least one hour at a local non profit may take some time to research and organize. I’ve used www.volunteermatch.org to help find ideas of where to volunteer. A google search works just as well.
-Participants, please post at least one image of your choosing each day. It can either show the work you’ve done or express the bhava (emotion or sentiment) of the challenge. Feel free to copy and paste Sonima’s image for the challenge of the day. We have also included illustrations by a fellow Ashtangi practitioner @andeb.art feel free to include her work as well.
-The more information you provide of your experience the better, but as always please do what feels natural and genuine.
-Make sure to include the following hashtags
#yogainactionchallenge #yogainaction #seva #selflessservice #svadhyaya #selfstudy #yogasutras #morethanasana
-Here are some additional hashtag suggestions. Please include others you find appropriate
#yoga #selfcare #8limbs #eightlimbs #yogabasics #practicalpractice #practicemakespractice
– In addition to #yogainaction, please hashtag the daily challenges specifically, i.e.
Day 1 #svadyaya, Day 2 #reachout, Day 3 #randomactofkindness, etc…
Day 1 – Svadyaya, (Self-study) – The fourth niyama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras refers to studying the self through yogic scriptures, including this ancient work, plus The Bhagavad Gita, and The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. For today’s challenge, start a book about yoga (no pressure to finish it in one day!) and as you go, make sure to reflect on its key messages. Does it resonate with you or with your practice? If not, how can you apply it to your own practice?
Alternative challenge: Given our modern-day lives perhaps we may not have time to delve into these ancient texts. In order to honor our particular situations, find an article about yoga online (check out Sharath Jois and Andrew Hillam’s columns on Sonima.com) that helps you move toward self-realization.
Day 2 – Reach Out – We all have people in our lives—friends, family, loved ones—who, for whatever reason, we are no longer in contact. Sometimes, we simply drift apart, while other times, we need to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Send a heartfelt email or letter to three of these people today.
Alternative challenge: If you’re not the next Marcel Proust and writing is not your thing, then a phone call or shared cup of tea will do just fine.
Day 3 – Random Act of Kindness – Aesop, a Greek fabulist and storyteller once said “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Next time you’re standing in line for a coffee or tea, surprise someone behind you by buying theirs.
Alternative challenge: If you’re short on cash, help a stranger out by giving them a hand with their heavy bags at the grocery store. You could also leave a treat, a gift certificate or just a simple kind note in your neighbor’s mailbox. SURPRISE!
Day 4 – Social Media Sleep Mode – At the sake of biting the hand that feeds us, we’d like to call out that the average adult spends two hours a day on social media. Not just Americans, but people around the globe, too. It might seem counter-intuitive, but today, we suggest to turn off your phone or, at least, your social media accounts. Instead of spending two hours scrolling, see what other activity, big or small, you can do in that time. Who would you speak to in-person if you weren’t online chatting? What love-filled, real-life action might be replaced by liking a dozen pictures and videos online?
Alternative challenge: If a 24-hour digital sabbatical seems extreme to you, designate a time to check in the morning and again in the evening, keeping the time in between technology-free.
Day 5 – Nurture in Nature – Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing tradition, advises spending time in nature everyday. These days, we spend most of our time indoors, or in cars, or in cities. Nature is a salve for such modern-day living. Spend a portion of today outdoors: Go somewhere wild or lush, walk, sit, run or play, engaging the five senses with nature. If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors for more than a day, here are 25 beautiful places in the world to find peace of mind: http://www.sonima.com/meditation/mindful-living/serene-travel/
Alternative challenge: If you are unable to get away, a 10-minute stroll in a nearby park or botanical garden will do wonders for your spirit.
Day 6 – Spirit of Service. Seva, or selfless service, is at the heart of the yoga tradition. This is where we take the practice off our own mats and into our communities. How can we contribute toward a greater good? Who around us needs assistance? Volunteer at an organization that supports a cause you believe in. Yoga is most present in these moments of true service.
Alternative challenge: In case there isn’t time to volunteer for a non-profit or social welfare organization, offer your time to someone you know who needs help. You could help a friend or acquaintance who needs to clean out an office or closet, edit a resume, or watch their kids for an hour. Help is always appreciated.
Day 7 – Share a meal – American restaurant critic, journalist, and author Craig Claiborne once said “Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” For our last challenge, cook or bake a dish and give it to someone. You can either share a meal together with someone you know and love or you can gift this food to a stranger or someone in need.
Alternative challenge: If you’re no Julia Child or don’t have time to cook, why not invite someone out to one of your favorite restaurants or order something together at home. You could also bring your favorite cake or dessert to share with friends, coworkers, or acquaintances.
We hope that this challenge brings you what it has already brought us, even in its early planning stages: connection, community, an appreciation of the principles of yoga and the responsibility that comes with the teachings, and, most of all, the enthusiasm for the infinite ways we can live the yoga practice in our day-to-day lives. Thank you for joining us, we are excited to practice with you this first week of spring!