Committing to a daily yoga practice is not easy, but starting with a yoga challenge might just be the bridge to get you there – well, it was for Celeste Jahn Tripadi.
The 33-year-old Sydney psychologist signed up to a four-week ‘Transformation Project’ with Body Mind Life – committing to meditating for 10 minutes each day and doing five yoga or Pilates classes a week.
“As you can imagine being a psychologist is a job that requires a lot of emotional labour, and investment in others to help them set goals and prioritise themselves. I signed up to the challenge because I thought it was important for me to lead by example,” Celeste tells myBody+Soul.
It was a shift in pace for the self-confessed “gym junkie” who admits to spending most days in the gym, and only going to yoga on Sundays before the Transformation Project where she actually practiced yoga and Pilates for 28 days straight.
She hoped to see and feel some sort of changes, though Celeste admits they weren’t what she expected.
“I thought I’d experience some peace and quiet and feel a little less stressed. But what the challenge did is really open up Pandora’s Box for me.
“I am a very optimistic and confident person, who practices self-love and self-care, and am grateful for my life, and my world, but I started to question that – ‘do I really have what I want? Is there more I should be doing?’ I quickly realised I’d subconsciously shelved these feelings around my identity in a dark place,” she says.
While it wasn’t the blissed out zen experience Celeste had anticipated, the mindfulness teacher is happy it happened, and has been able to address her thoughts since. She’s also continued the 10 to 15 minute daily meditations which “she craves” either in her lunch break or at night before bed, “falling asleep without fail.”
As for her body following four weeks of bending and stretching?
“I didn’t notice a six-pack or anything like that but my general gym yoga class after the program I was so much stronger. I could hold myself up so much longer. My flexibility improved quite dramatically. I was disappointed that I didn’t do a before and after shot,” she says.
“Everything changes your life but while I don’t feel like I’m fundamentally transformed as a human, the challenge changed my thoughts about exercise. I realised my body doesn’t respond to weights at the gym, but yoga and Pilates. It changed the way I think and look at food, too. I used to make excuses for eating badly, but now I’m more connected to my body and want to feed it,” she says.
Perhaps the biggest lesson for Celeste was about what to invite into her life, rather than deprive herself of.
“It made me realise I need more regular self-care rituals.” Don’t we all?