30 Days in Boat Pose
Updated: May 4
The truth about the Navasana Challenge: a tool for Svadhyaya (self-study).
No I didn't actually spend a whole 30 days (or even 30 minutes) in Navasana. Honestly, I wasn't even able to get into boat pose every day. I took off days 4 & 5 for some much needed self care after a less than favorable nursing shift. I felt that allowing myself that time was part of the challenge... walking the middle path and trusting intuition to ensure ahisma (nonviolence) toward ones self.
I did do double sets of Navasana other days to appease my ego. Sometimes I do the same with sleep... oh well no time to sleep after this shift I will just sleep twice as long on Sunday. But this is life as a nurse. And life as a yogi allows me to reflect on that. Funny how we have these different boxes we put ourselves in.
Here I am this, over there I am that. Separating dualities as to maintain our sense of self... whatever that means. THIS is the real work of a yoga challenge: Svadhyaya (self-study). It isn't about doing a certain posture everyday. It isn't even about whether or not you actually do the posture everyday. A yoga challenge is about learning who you are and how well you can incorporate all the limbs of yoga into your practice.
A yoga challenge is about learning who you are
You see... Yoga has eight limbs. I find it fitting that the term limb is used because I often meditate with an Olive Tree, climbing up its branches or down its roots depending on my needs. The practice of yoga is the same for me; I climb up and down The Eight Limbs always trying to remain aware of my roots.
One day I may need to focus on the Niyamas (internal ethics): Tapas for inner discipline or Santosha for contentment. The next day I may need Pranayama (breath work) to be my guiding force. Then it's back down the limbs to call upon the Yamas (external ethics). Helping maintain Sayta (truthfulness) while sharing about my experiences during the challenge is no less important the the shape of my spine while holding Navasana (boat pose).
The Asana practice gets a great deal of attention here in the west. Lets use that attention to shed some light on the other limbs yoga offers us. Ethical ideals, breathing techniques, sense control and meditation are wonderful partners to the physical practice.
Helping maintain Satya (truthfulness) while sharing about my experiences during the challenge is no less important then the shape of my spine.
I invite you to take a moment and reflect on this challenge. Did you participate? Why? Why not? Now sink deeper into your physical body observing the sensations that arise while you reflect on this challenge. Take a deep breath and answer that question again. Where do you feel the response? Do you wish your answer was different?
I wish my answer was different. I wish I was able to pop into navasana every day and post amazing pictures and motivate ya'll to do the same. The truth is, I am just another human on this journey doing the best I can. I didn't get a lot of core strength from this challenge because I wasn't able to keep up the physical aspect.
However, I grew triple fold on a personal level with the benefits of svadhyaya (self-study). I thought about the challenge every day; why I was in navasana and why I wasn't. I also thought a great deal about how to promote this challenge. What does it look like to hold myself and others accountable. How much of myself am I willing to give to the world... how much of me does the world really want?
During 30 days in boat pose I realized what no longer serves me. I was able to find the aspects of my life preventing me from popping into navasana.
Through this knowledge, gathered with svadhyaya, I was able to realize and let go of what no longer serves me. I have changed my career path and set new goals for my home practice. I learned new ways of reaching out as a teacher and discovered my boundaries on social media.
So as I ask myself the questions again... Did I practice? Why? Why not?
The answer is yes and no. No, I did not practice boat pose every day. Yes, I did practice self-study. So my core may not be stronger but my sense of self is. My connection to my intuition and my devotion to divine guidance is stronger. I am perfectly imperfect, and that is perfect for me!
Stay tuned for our next challenge!