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62 Day Meditation Challenge

It’s November 1 and 2017 is going to be here before we know it. I feel like a broken record, but where has the time gone? This year has passed so quickly and I know the holiday season will be no different.

Every year our yoga studio hosts a 62 Day Challenge from November 1-January 1. It’s a practice challenge where participants choose to complete 62 practices in 62 days or 31 practices in 62 days. These types of challenges are pretty commonplace in the yoga world but we do ours at a very unique time of year. You’d think that we’d start something like this in January but we host it during two of the busiest months of the year for a reason.

The intention is to help our students and staff stay connected to their self-care practices during a time of year that has a tendency to be stressful, rushed and a bit over-indulgent. The hope is that they show up to January 1 feeling like a very bright, clear, present and healthy version of themselves instead of like they’re digging out of a hole.

As the marketing director for the studio, I organize the challenge and have also participated in it several years in the past (this is our sixth year!). I thought about putting my name on the board for this year’s challenge but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. First, I am heavily in the swing of training for fall races and don’t want to have the pressure to feel like I need to practice yoga after running 15 miles. Don’t get me wrong, my yoga practice is a HUGE part of my run recovery and staying healthy so I can run but I don’t want to feel pressured to do it every single day on top of my training runs. Second, I honestly am still struggling with showing up for my practice. It’s getting easier but it’s so incredibly emotional for me and some days I just can’t go there. If that makes any sense at all. I’m not running from my feelings but I can’t go head-to-head with them every day. Some days we just need to co-exist as I learn how to wrap myself around them.

62 Day Yoga Challenge

Tanner asked me to practice with him tonight but I run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (typically) and I had yet to get my run done for the day. I typically get it done in the mornings but I waited for whatever reason today. I was so torn on whether to run or practice. I felt guilty for not practicing and not committing to the challenge. He headed to the studio and I leashed up Zoey for a slow, easy run. We ended up covering 6 miles and I kept the pace super chill at about 9:40ish miles. While I was running I listened to Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back.

Around mile 4 I had a huge epiphany. It’s not a 62 day yoga challenge that I need right now but rather a 62 day MEDITATION challenge.

For years I have flirted with the idea of getting serious about daily meditation. I have all of these dreams of making it happen and how amazing and enlightening it’s going to be but then I don’t make it a priority. Like, at all. Since my brother’s death, I have felt so pulled to meditation, prayer and journaling. As I ran tonight and listened to Gabby talk about the power of meditation, I knew it was a sign that it’s time to make a change in my life.

I got home from my run, showered, sat in a comfortable seated position in one of my favorite spots in our house, closed my eyes and set a meditation timer for 10 minutes (I use the Insight Timer app). I focused on taking deep, steady, even-count inhales and exhales and just like that 10 minutes were up. I won’t lie and say that my mind didn’t wander or I didn’t think about my back being tight but I did it. And I’m going to keep doing it for the next 62 days in hopes that this time it sticks. It’s something I desperately need on so many levels.

Meditation isn’t hard but I’m the poster child for how hard it can be to put into practice. It’s as simple as setting a timer for 5, 10, 20 minutes (however long you want) and sitting quietly with your eyes closed and breathing. Over the course of my personal meditation challenge, I also plan on exploring alternate meditation techniques as well as guided meditations but for now sitting quietly and breathing is a really good start. I could scream over how many excuses I’ve made not to do it when I can spend 30 minutes looking at SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook without pause or second thought.

62 Day Meditation Challenge

(source)

I won’t go into a ton of detail on the benefits of meditation in this post but this infographic provides a pretty good snapshot.

I’m not going to make this into a big deal, I’m just going to do it. And I’d love for you to join me if it’s something that interests or speaks to you. There are no rules or plans to follow. I’ll share some of my favorite resources as I move through my own personal challenge but I encourage you to start by just sitting, closing your eyes and breathing. Let’s make it simple. We don’t need a recipe or a training plan for everything in our lives.

Happy November everyone.

Love,
Jen

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Elaina November 1, 2016, 9:30 pm

    Love this! I’m struggling to be consistent with meditation but the benefits make it worth putting the time into.

  • Kim F November 1, 2016, 9:30 pm

    I’m so in!! This is wonderful!

  • Heather B November 1, 2016, 9:42 pm

    I am with you!! I have been thinking and thinking about getting started and just never do…but your right, I can spend 30-45 mins scrolling thru FB, Insta, Pinterest, etc. Why not do something GOOD for ME! Thanks for this!!!

  • Christy Rogers November 1, 2016, 10:06 pm

    What absolute perfect timing…my favorite yoga teacher has started offering a guided meditation after class on Wednesdays…I’ve talked to her about wanting to start a daily practice & am reading a few books she recommended. I’ve been struggling with motivation even though I really want to do it…so this couldn’t come at a more perfect time for me!

  • Lauren C November 2, 2016, 12:20 am

    Just finished part I of Inner Engineering: A Yogi’so Guide to Joy, and am thinking this will be a great accompaniment to part II. Count me in!

  • Beth November 2, 2016, 12:58 am

    Yes!!! I’m in! I’ve definitely been putting this on my to “add to my life list.”And I agree you definitely don’t need any special program of anything. It does happen to line up with Oprah and deepaks free 21 day meditations too so if you’re in need of support definitely check those out. Thank you for your thoughtful posts. I’ve followed you for years.. I follow many blog but for some reason I always feel like your posts are so genuine and real and really speak to my soul: they’re not just plugs or promos or posts but connections and real life: when I read your blog it makes me feel motivated and inspired. I think so many social media experiences can make you feeling quite the opposite —so thank u:
    I now have 2 kiddos and have been practicing yoga for 2 years but I feel like you’ve been beside me through my life journey even though I don’t know you– I have been supported countless times through your blog throughout..Thank you and wish you the best!

  • Cath November 2, 2016, 4:32 am

    I’m in! I’m a bit late as it’s 2 November but I’ll start now anyway. This comes at a perfect time – I’ve really got to address my constant negative thinking towards myself. It permeates everything I do and stops me doing things I value (because I suck at them) and saying things I want to say (because they’re stupid). Hopefully meditation can help me see the rut my thinking is in and perhaps help me reframe those thoughts.

    I’ve read your blog over the years Jen and to be going through the painful time you are and still giving love.. it’s very moving. Thank you for sharing yourself through this blog. You make me strive to be a more loving, open and healthy person.

  • Brittany November 2, 2016, 6:05 am

    I have a regular meditation practice, but I could turn that regular into daily and definitely could spend more time at this point in meditation. I’m up for the challenge!

  • Linda November 2, 2016, 8:20 am

    I’m in! Like you, I too have been flirting with the idea and have played around with it. Even downloaded an app about a month ago. I so need it. I’m reading a book You are a Badass, How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life”. I just turned to my next chapter and the title is “Medication 101”. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. I will start today!

    “You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too”. Shire Shrii Amandamurti;

    • tara November 2, 2016, 1:35 pm

      how do you like that book ? i think my yoga studio is doing a book club on it.

      • Linda November 2, 2016, 1:52 pm

        Tara….I really like it. It’s straight up and just says, hey, just do it! No matter where you are in life. Here’s a quote I love from it “But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT would be living.”

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 10:46 am

      I really want to read that book. Maybe I’ll add it to my audible for long runs!

  • Pam November 2, 2016, 8:25 am

    Jen, I think you can add your name to the 62 day challenge as Meditation is Yoga. I’m joining you on this challenge. Sitting for Meditation (or even a Meditation walk) just sets the tone for my day.

  • JennyV November 2, 2016, 9:30 am

    Thank you for the encouragement to add meditation to my daily routine — it’s something I “think” I should do, and never do it! There was a period in my life where I worked to be much more mindful and instead of doing 15-20 minutes a day of prayer, I broke it up into 5 minute increments throughout the day. Morning / Noonish/ Night I would take 5 minutes to pray or journal. I cannot tell you how much more centered and grounded I became during that time period. I am not sure when or why I stopped, but this is something I will start today at noon! When we become more peaceful and loving, the world reflects that. I am eager to begin again!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 10:45 am

      Hey Jenny – I love the idea of breaking it up throughout the day so that you kind of keep reminding yourself to stay focused and grounded. And I couldn’t agree more on the universe reflecting back to us our emotional state. We totally create our own realities.

  • Joy November 2, 2016, 10:00 am

    What a great epiphany! I’m in!

    I was meditating daily for months and months this year and then just one day I felt too busy to take the time and I got totally derailed because if I didn’t have to do it one day, then not doing it the next day felt okay too. A terrible pattern to fall into! So thank you for reminding me of the importance of meditation.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 10:44 am

      Oh yay, I hope this helps you get back into a regular practice. Isn’t it crazy how fast we can get out of the practice of doing things?

  • tara November 2, 2016, 1:34 pm

    Im in as well ! i am the same making lots of excuses not finding the time and all that. but i know its good for me and have dabbled in and out. I’m going to do 31 in 60 type thing since i know i cant commit to everyday and i want to start off slow. i tend to be all or nothing so setting myself up with 31 days is probably good for me. i cant wait for you to show how it goes ! i too often think how bad my back hurts! ive started just laying down in shivasana. i know its not proper but who cares.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 10:42 am

      I love the idea of 31 in 60. And RE: laying down in savasana. That’s how all most people take savasana. Does your studio have you sit?

  • Linda November 2, 2016, 1:56 pm

    Started today! 5 minutes!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 9:58 am

      Amazing. Thank you for joining.

  • Marla-Deen November 2, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Jen,
    Finding your time with all you are processing now will be so good for your soul. I did not think I would ever be able to meditate until I had an “aha” moment. I wrote about it recently, I’ve Been Meditation All Along. (http://www.marladeenfit.com/2016/01/12/ive-been-meditating-all-along/)
    Also, reading Rick Warren’s What On Earth Am I Here For? was one of the things that would help begin my day following the death of my brother.
    I hope you continue to be patient with this process.

  • chrissie November 2, 2016, 4:54 pm

    I had decided to focus on meditation for the next two months, so I’ll make it official and do it with you! I really want to make it a regular practice. And I love insight timer – both the guided options and just the timer.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 9:58 am

      Wonderful news! I am going to focus on the timer first and get to where I feel pretty good just sitting and breathing and then move to guided meditations.

  • Chris November 3, 2016, 7:42 am

    How timely…I just read this post today and I started a meditation practice 3 days ago. I have also been dealing with a recent loss and I found my stress levels are way too high. So I ordered a book with daily meditations and just started.

    I feel compelled to say that I’m not great at it, my thouhts still tumble around but I am going to keep trying. Anything new takes practice, right?

    Anyway I’m here with you!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 9:57 am

      Hey Chris – I told my yoga classes yesterday that my mind was like a pinball machine when I was meditating but I’m excited to see how that changes for me as I make it a regular practice. I’m really sorry to hear that you are also going through a loss. It’s so, so difficult. Sending you prayers.

  • Mackenzie November 3, 2016, 2:12 pm

    I woke up today and decided that for every day in November I woud meditate ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night – so funny how I stumbled across your blog post on the same day! After reading this I am so excited to start this journey. Thank you so much for sharing and best of luck on your experience!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 5, 2016, 9:55 am

      Oh I love your morning and evening meditation idea. Such an intentional way to start and end the day. Good luck to you as well.

  • adrianna November 5, 2016, 9:53 pm

    this is a GREAT idea! i actually might try it, even if its just a few days. and i actually think this is the perfect time of the year. i like all this holiday hoopla but holy cow, its stressful. and work has really been bothering me lately, so i think its a sign i gotta do it, too. keep your head up Jen. this blog is awesome and so are you 🙂

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