A Month of Yoga


“Motivation waxes and wanes but discipline will carry you through those hard times”

~ Todd Cline

As I thought about what it would mean to give myself over to a year long experiment, I thought about something I read once about the benefits of “SMART goals:” Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. I chose A Month of Yoga as my first experiment because I want to start the year off cultivating discipline. If my larger goal is to seize 2019 and live more intentionally, I feel like I should start with the basics.

I have been practicing yoga for 12 years. It hasn’t been all beach yoga and handstands.  More often than not, I am the type of yogi who can be found weeping softly in half pigeon. Some of those years I barely looked at my mat while other years it was the one thing that could reliably bring me peace throughout the day. My practice has been patchy at times, but I keep coming back to the mat. I’ve found it is a practice that really works for me.

This past summer, after years of thinking about it, I finally did a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification. My nebulous goals for the course were to deepen my practice, master proper alignment, explore anatomy, delve into yoga philosophy, learn smart sequencing, lead confidently, and develop this as a hard skill I might be able to use as a side-hustle. I was all gung-ho about teaching privately and creating workshops when I landed a full-time job and my priorities began to shift. It was easier for me to prioritize my practice when I had the flexibility to go to class whenever I felt like it. My preference for mid-morning yoga didn’t exactly jive with my new 9-5 work schedule, and I fell off the wagon. So, my first challenge will revolve around sticking to my personal routines and prioritizing that which brings me peace.  If a happy and fulfilling life is the goal, I must routinely do that which makes me happy and feel fulfilled.

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.


Specific: Practice a whole lot of yoga

Measurable: I will keep a log of my practice

Achievable: At least 15 minutes a day. Not a huge time commitment, more is better, but focus on consistently achieving the goal.

Relevant: Having a daily yoga practice helps me to cultivate discipline, mindfulness, and intention. This will set the groundwork for the rest of my experiments.

Time-bound: 15 minutes per day for 31 days. How hard could it be?

Wish me luck!


12 Experiments

A few weeks ago my boyfriend Thomas told me about a friend of his who had spent the entirety of 2017 doing a new personal experiment every month. He mentioned that his friend, Sarah Natsumi Moore, was rebooting the 12 Experiments for 2019 and that she was inviting people to join in. He was going to do it, he said. Would I be interested in joining, he asked. The premise is to do one experiment per month for a year and see what happens; to try something for 30 days, reflect on it, and share your experience. It didn’t take very long to decide that I would like to do my own 12 experiments. You are now reading the introduction to my year-long experiment, which hopefully will give me some concrete goals and intentions for 2019. I love the element of limited time for each experiment. It is just one month, after all. I could do anything for a month.  At the same time, it’s a whole month! A lot can happen in a month.

2018 slipped by at a breakneck pace. I have found myself with a to-do list that is nearly identical to the one I had at the dawn of this year. It often feels as though I am treading water, tiring myself out, not making noticeable progress in any particular direction. Without previous comforts like the regularity of a higher education schedule or major life events, time has begun to extend out like the West Texas horizon, endlessly flat with hardly any landmarks to be found.

I attended my 10 year high school reunion recently and was struck by the variety of lives my classmates are living, all of them different from my own. I’m willing to accept that some of that is chance, but more so it felt like concrete proof that our lives are the result of the choices we make and what we prioritize. I want to spend 2019 digging deeper into that which brings me joy. I’d like to let go of all the things that obstruct my growth. I want to recalibrate my priorities, cultivate confidence, and deepen my relationships. I want to create and share and elevate and collaborate. And on top of all of that, I want to share this journey to empower myself and you, yes you, to live more intentionally.

Potential experiments in no particular order:

  • A Month of Yoga a Moving Meditation: Reconnect with my body and breath

  • A Month of Singing: Find joy in making music everyday

  • A Month of Writing A Page A Day, I wrote a page every day for a year once and then fell off the wagon. I was really improving as a writer and felt as though I was finding greater clarity in my thoughts.

  • A Month of Letters: Write to all the people I have been intending to reach out to.

  • A Month of Decluttering, Making room for joy: I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on vacation a few years ago. I was so inspired, but by the time I got home I gave away a few things and then gave up. I think I’m finally ready to let go of some extra baggage!

  • A Month of Digital Detox: no social media, no tv, no movies

  • A Month of Frugality: Buy Nothing Extra

  • A Month of Guitar: Play everyday

  • A Month of Cooking: Learn new recipes and eat at home.

  • A Month of Walking: See Thoreau’s essay Walking and Thich Nhat Hanh’s How To Walk

  • A Month of Reading: Dive into other worlds, read a couple of hours every day!

  • A Month of Performance: Live or post it

  • A Month of Finishing: Do those things that have been on the to do list forever!

  • A Month of Generosity: Be more generous than you think you can be. Tithe, donate, volunteer, help out, go above and beyond for others.

The format as laid out by Sarah, is to reveal the next month’s theme a few days before the 1st. Write about why you chose this theme: hopes, fears, rules, expectations, etc. Then give some updates throughout the month on how it is going. At the end of the month, reflect on how it went and introduce the next month’s theme. If you are also interested in experimenting, you can get more information here!

A list of people around the web trying out their own experiments in 2019!