This summer I’m participating in my first bingo card challenge at The Mat Yoga Studio. The studio hosts different challenges periodically over the course of the year, and while they are a great way to take more classes – if that happens to be a goal – there are even more benefits to engaging in a challenge.
Other challenges that I’ve seen are often going to a certain number of classes in X number of days, or it may be about which classes to attend (like a 5:45 challenge, which offered 5:45am classes!). The bingo challenge has a card of tasks to complete to fill in a T or an X, or even to blackout the full card. And these challenges aren’t just about taking a class, though certainly those are options. There are opportunities to meet your fellow yogis or to participate outside of the studio.
The other day as I examined my card for what I could do next, there were a few things that struck me beyond just doing a challenge. I joined this summer because I thought it would be fun, but this challenge offers more than that. It offers a way to become a part of the studio’s community, a community that I greatly value. And if you are new to a studio hosting a challenge like this, it’s a great way to introduce yourself and become more involved.
Trying Different Classes
Yes, studio challenges can bring you in for more classes in order to meet a certain number of classes taken, but there is an opportunity to break from a routine to try a different class and a new teacher. With our weekly schedules, we can find ourselves going to the same classes at the same time. It may also be comfort. Every teacher has their own personal teaching style, and when I find one that works well for me, I look forward to those classes. But if there’s a day that my card suggests I take a class, and it’s a day I don’t normally go, it is an opportunity to get to know a new teacher or try out a new style. I take a lot of open flow classes, but I absolutely loved having the chance to take one of The Mat’s new Slow Flow classes.
Building a Community
I talked about this at the beginning, but wanted to touch on it further. The great thing about a challenge like this is that it is a great way to meet your fellow yogis. Some of my squares are to take a picture with a classmate (like one of my squares, which was to spell out MAT in yoga poses…which, of course, requires more than just me), or go out for a coffee after class, or even put up another classmates props. What a great way to introduce yourself! Marking one of your squares is just one excuse to start talking to the person next to you. And it’s these small hellos that build the foundations for a community.
Building a Personal Practice
This is a little related to taking more or trying different classes. One of the other things I loved about my card was the initiative to add more to my own personal practice. Not only do I find that as I take more classes, I want to have my own practice, especially for the days I’m unable to go to class, but I’ve thought for some time that it would be great if I could start my day with some sun salutations. I usually start my day making that first cup of coffee and I look forward to my morning routine of coffee and some writing or reading. But one of my squares said to start my day with five sun salutations, and the day that I marked that was as complete, I began my morning feeling more energized and warmed up. I was definitely reminded of why I wanted to add morning sun salutations to starting my day.
Sometimes marking off a square might just be incentive we needed to try a different class or say hello to the person on the mat next to you. Who knows what that will open up next?