Completing a yoga challenge month is no small feat. Doing three in one year makes you a yoga super hero. Only 75 people completed our entire Triple Crown Challenge in 2016 - the 29 day February Challenge, the July Go Further Challenge, and the 31 day October Challenge. One lucky Triple Crown finisher won a coveted year of Platinum Membership. Meet our yoga challenge winner Angie Theaker, a member at Yoga Six Upper Arlington, and wife and mother of three. Angie lives an active lifestyle, both out in the community and on her yoga mat. She completed all three Yoga Six challenges in 2016 with her husband, Brent. Read on to learn more about her yoga journey.
When you’re not on your yoga mat, what do you love to do?
Enjoy time with my husband, three children and many friends. We love watching our kids enjoy their sporting activities and cheering on the Buckeyes with friends! We volunteer and fundraise for the Upper Arlington Civic Association as well as the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. I also love to play tennis and meet monthly with a wonderful group of strong accomplished women in my book group.
What is your favorite spot in your neighborhood?
I love Northam Park. It is the central park of our city and is home to our schools, library, pool, sport fields and many wonderful annual community celebrations that take part in our city. I must mention the best of all - the 4th of July Party in the Park and Fireworks!
What brought you to your yoga practice?
I was an athlete and I have always enjoyed high energy exercise. I played soccer for almost 25 years; participated in many spinning and weight lifting classes; I play tennis and I've run 5 half marathons. At age 40, I began feeling the effects of how hard all those activities have been on my body. A year ago, a friend suggested I tried yoga around the time Yoga Six opened right down the street from where I work and in my neighborhood. I had only ever taken one prenatal yoga class when I was pregnant and I didn't love it. She started going and really encouraged me to try it with her. The location and class times were easy with my busy schedule so there was no reason not to give it a shot. After a couple weeks, I was completely hooked. I started feeling better both physically and mentally. I loved the friendly staff and beautiful studio. I convinced my husband to give it a try too. After a few months we loved it so much, we cancelled our other gym membership of 5 years. We participated as couples partner in all 3 yoga challenges this year and it has been so much fun! We still run regularly (how else can I blast my rap music with 3 young kids?). But, I talk about my love of yoga with anyone who will listen and I am so happy to have won the Platinum membership so I can bring a friend and share the experience with many more!
Why do you love yoga? How does yoga make you feel physically and mentally?
Yoga is a full body (including the mind) experience. The deep breathing fills me with oxygen and energy. The poses push my limits of flexibility and strength. The meditative aspects clear my mind and enhance my focus. The positive thought principles often shared by the instructors leave me with a smile in my heart. No other form of exercise achieves all of this for me.
What is your favorite Yoga Six class? What is your favorite yoga pose?
Vinyasa because it pushes me to try new things. My favorite pose is Dancer.
Which of our six results resonates most with you and why? (Stronger, Leaner, Calmer, Clearer, Braver, and Further)
If I had to pick one, it would be Calmer. I have a very busy life with a full time job and 3 young children. Those aspects of my life are wonderful but not calm. I've done many other forms of exercise but Yoga is the only one that I feel actually helps bring much needed calming of my mind and body.
Completing a yoga challenge is no easy task. We should know! We host 3 yoga challenge months a year at Yoga Six. A yoga challenge takes commitment, planning (try the Yoga Six mobile app for a quick and easy class scheduling tool), and a whole lot of discipline. Just like New Year's Resolutions, not everyone who signs up for a challenge actually completes it. It's easy to make excuses and allow life to get in the way. The best way to stay motivated and accomplish your goal is to have a strong "Why". Why do you want to complete the challenge? What motivates you to practice every day for an entire month?
These are four of our favorite reasons to take on a yoga challenge. Tell us why you signed up for the Yoga Six October Challenge on social media using the hashtag #StrengthenYourSelf!
Challenge finishers at Yoga Six Solana Beach
Completing a yoga challenge is as much about variety as it is about consistency. We all have our favorite classes and teachers we go to every week, but too much of a good thing can keep you from progressing and leave you feeling stagnant in both body and mind. Yoga challenges get you out of your practice rut by challenging you to try something new. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to explore (and even enjoy!) a different experience while giving your body the variety it needs to progress. When you push yourself further in your practice, you'll be amazed at what you can do.
Like yoga, goal setting is one of those life skills that takes practice. It can be easy to lose focus and plateau without structure, an endpoint, and a clear goal. A yoga challenge provides all three, along with the support of our studio community, to set you up for success. Whether it's nailing your first arm balance or exploring a new inversion, having something to work towards and friends to work alongside you makes all the difference.
Practicing daily (or almost daily) for a month is an incredible learning experience. A consistent yoga practice can make you more mindful, igniting the connection between your body and mind. This added awareness will make you more conscious and appreciative of all you can do, both on and off your mat. With confidence and commitment come a willingness to take risks. Moving into an advanced variation of the pose you have practiced for 20 days straight is the next logical step.
While yoga is not a competitive sport, challenge months DO inspire a little friendly competition. But remember: the most important competition you have is with yourself. Check in with yourself after every class. Do you feel like you're improving? How does your body feel compared to the day before? Last week? Last month? The answers may be different day-to-day, but in the end, 31 days of yoga is a huge accomplishment! Completing the challenge is a personal win for your body and mind. Anyone who shows up to their mat 31 times in 31 days is a winner!
#YogaEveryDay isn't just a hashtag. For some of us, it's a way of life! Entrepreneur and host of The Pulse, Cindy Matalucci, celebrated her birthday with a yoga challenge - one yoga class a day for an entire month at Yoga Six Point Loma. She told us what it was really like to practice every day and how a daily Hot Yoga practice changed her life both on and off the mat.
What inspired you to do 30 days of Hot Yoga?
I was inspired to do 30 days of Hot Yoga at Yoga Six because I had really been struggling with the whole work/life balance issue in my life. Two years ago, I left the corporate world to be an entrepreneur and I found myself working more hours then ever. I noticed that I stopped making myself a priority and was not taking the time for myself mentally & physically as I had in the past. I was burnt out and needed to find a way to recharge my battery. I kicked off my birthday in May with 4 days at a wellness retreat in Idyllwild and it was the start of my plan to make myself and my health a focus in my life again. I decided as soon as I got back, I was going to do a 30 day detox, 30 days of hot yoga, and 30 days of no alcohol to really kick start my way to feeling more energized and empowered.
How did your body and mind feel when you first began the challenge?
I have to admit when I first started the challenge, I was nervous that I was going to be able to finish it. With my schedule constantly changing, and the line of work I am in, I can be on set for hours, or have to be at an event all day, so I knew it was going to be a challenge to complete. It had also been quite awhile since I had done hot yoga and was wondering how my body would adapt to it. My body was a bit clumsy trying to get back into the poses, and I realized I needed to drink a lot more water than I was because I was sweating quite a bit in class. I realized that this is why they call yoga a practice, because the more you practice, the better you become and the more your body & mind is capable of. You just have to have patience.
What was difficult about the challenge?
I think the most difficult thing about the challenge was making the time and putting it in my schedule no matter what I had that day. Instead of trying to plan out the month or the weekly calendar, I just tried to take it day by day and make it to a class. I usually plan things way ahead of time, then my schedule changes and I would get frustrated and stressed out trying to fit everything in. I tried to change my mindset and make sure that I knew when all the hot yoga classes were and then bring my yoga clothes with me so I could run from a meeting and get my class in. (Confession: I even had an all day event for my job during my challenge but snuck out for the hour of hot yoga and came back to the event.)
How has a daily Hot Yoga practice affected your life off the mat?
My life has changed drastically since this challenge. As the days progressed with my challenge, the more I looked forward to my Hot Yoga workout. It became what I call my "hot cocoon of happiness.” It was my hour of the day to be present in the moment and really think about my intention for the day. One of the hardest things for me in my life is to stop thinking about what’s next, or what’s the next item to cross off on my to do list. Being present is such a struggle for me as I am on the go constantly. This hour of yoga brought me into a stillness and a sense of calm and peace that I really needed in my life. I noticed that my stress level was really going down as well. I used to be so reactive to emails or text messages and overreact to things because of my stress level. I was now more calm and not as reactive to things that used to bug me. I felt like I could handle anything that came my way. I also started to get more strict with my time. I was going to make it to my yoga class and no one was going to get in my way of that hour for myself. I used to let people take up more of my time, but I became more selfish because this was my time to work on me. I could not wait to get to class!
Now that you've completed 30 days of Hot Yoga, which of our six results resonate most with you?
I would have to say that after the challenge the results that resonate most with me are Calmer and Clearer. Mentally I am so much calmer and less stressed every day. I go into my yoga practice and really take in the breathing exercises that the instructors teach you. I realized on a day to day basis I was sometimes holding my breath and forgetting to breath deep. Now, if I am at work and get a bit stressed, I just start practicing my Ujjayi breath and it calms me right down.
The Clearer part came in by really listening to the instructors at Yoga Six who remind you to set an intention for your practice. They ask you “what brought you here today?” Everytime my mind would wander to something else, they would bring me back to the present with a mantra or a reminder to reconnect with my breath. It made me be conscious of setting a clear intention as soon as I sat down on the mat. I would make sure I had about 15 minutes on the mat prior to the start of the class to focus on my intentions and meditate on what I wanted to manifest into my life. I use that time to focus and be clear on the things I want for myself and my happiness. I have taken this into my day to day life and I am now more clear on the things I want to do with my business and my relationships. I just feel more sure of what I want now. Oh, and I am addicted to Hot Yoga and don’t plan to stop anytime soon!
Student Advisor Camille, Cindy, and Point Loma Studio Manager Chaise