Join our new 30 Day YOGA & WELL BEING CHALLENGE
Our Group Challenge starts Sunday 15th November, and finishes Monday December 14th
Gain health, well being, energy, and get yourself ready for summer
Hello and welcome to the 2020 YOGA & WELL-BEING CHALLENGE. Ali Hale Tilley, director of the NZ Yoga Centre, will kick start the next challenge to inspire you to get the most of your pre-summer cleanse. You can join remotely from anywhere and get same the benefits as group practice. The overall challenge is FREE to participate. Scroll down for challenge updates and registration details.
Meet member of the 2020 Challenge Team
The 2020 Yoga Challenge includes 5 main parts:
PART 1 – Physical wellbeing cleanse
- Practice minimum 3 yoga sessions per week
- You can do 2 of the 3 classes as home, online, or at another studio. However, one class per week must be our Sunday class, with an option for you to do a make-up class at a different time slot if required. Regular yoga practice brings radiant health benefits and is the basis of a deep system cleanse.
- Clean and declutter parts of your home, car, garden, or office
- Unless you are a neat freak, there is sure to be one or more areas that need sorting out. Use this de-cluttering process to create more clear spaces in your environment, so you can feel more mentally at ease.
- Do a deep body scrub once a week
- Mix salt or sugar with natural oils like olive or coconut oil. Removing dead skin cells from all over your body helps your skin breath and renew itself.
- Set up a place for regular yoga and meditation practice
- Find a place where dogs, goats, and kids can’t disturb you. Face your mat east in the morning and north in the evening. Return to this place for each session to increase your vibrational imprint.
- Avoid using chemical cleaning and beauty products – use natural products
- Avoid artificial deodorants, chemical hair products, mineral oil based skin creams and cosmetics. Go online to get inspired by natural product recipes. You can buy basic low-cost ingredients like aluminium-free baking soda, coconut oil, white vinegar, tea tree oil locally.
- Practice minimum 3 yoga sessions per week
PART 2 – Nutritional cleanse
- Eat a pure vege diet using Ali’s 85+10+5% rule (no meat or eggs)
- A pure vege diet is outlined in the post below. The food really tastes amazing and this way of eating allows you to be super healthy before the big Xmas binge. We will share recipes on out private chat page. We will also come together for potluck feasts that were so inspiring and were the highlight of last year’s challenge. Going plant-based is the way forward for a healthy planet.
- Avoid all processed and refined foods, and read labels
- No white sugar, white flour, no biscuits, cakes, and slices. No deep fried chips, takeaways, or plastic wrapped food with more than 1 or 2 chemical numbers (additives, colours, flavours). No gelatine, which means no standard cream cheese or cottage cheese, Read every label and purchase accordingly.
- Research and use well-balanced vegetarian recipes
- There are so many amazing vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and articles, both online and in the local library. Tag the recipes that make each meal a mini feast and impress the doubters in your family with delicious nutritious fare.
- Limit alcohol intake to 3 units a week (i.e. 3 classes wine or 3 beers)
- Time to hang up your party shoes and go sober. Look for ‘virgin’ cocktail recipes online or in cooking books and have a jug of healthy refreshments ready to quench your thirst. You skin and organs will love a break!
- Stop food dependencies and avoid eating all unhealthy foods
- How are you going to handle cravings that come as a stress response to work, family dramas? Perhaps buy some sulphur-free dried fruits, organic berries, or 85% dark chocolate. Try chewing cardamom, fennel or caraway seeds. Make a small platter filled with fresh healthy produce. Get creative and get to know when and why you seek out unhealthy options.
PART 3 – Mental cleanse
- Practice daily meditation (5 minutes minimum)
- Sit in silence and watch your breath flow. Observe your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. Check in and find a deep sense of inner peace. Focus your mind on one thing like the rising sun.
- Limit entertainment habits such as watching soaps and reading fiction (2 hours a night minimum)
- Like junk food, junk entertainment is a distraction that pollutes the subconscious mind. If you need to be entertained to feel happy and preoccupied, put on instrumental music, read an autobiography, start a hobby like sewing or woodwork, or journal your inner feelings. Start s social group, join a book club… we are only limited by our imaginations.
- Observe your moods in relation to natural cycles
- New moon, full moon, and planetary phases can impact how we feel. Check http://www.spaceweather.com to see what is happening with the sun’s cycles. Check how you feel on a grey day as opposed to a clear day. Our moods are related to larger patterns of weather and plantary systems.
- Resolve negative mind-sets with self-reflection
- Like meditation, self-reflection asks us to look in and experience our deep inner state. Does that idea scare you? Are you terrified of what is lurking in the mind’s shadows? Have a chat with the ‘universe’ or inner self and make friends with your shadow side. Ask yourself why do you feel a certain way? Document or mind map the outcome
- Establish a weekly self-care ritual
- Soak in a bath with essential oil, walk on the beach, light up your home shrine, dance naked in the moonlight, or sit by an outdoor fire. Create a ritual that nourishes you and allows you to feel more connected with the sacred energy that is all around.
- Practice daily meditation (5 minutes minimum)
PART 4 – Emotional cleanse
- Rise just before sunset
- In the Southern Hemisphere the sun rises around 6 am. Check sunrise times and be prepared to leap out of bed when the alarm goes off. Set your alarm a minute earlier each day as the longest day approaches.
- Write up a daily journal or a 100 word summary of the week
- Keeping a journal helps keep you accountable and allows you to check in with how you are really feeling. Why not write a passage to read out at our potluck gatherings? Sharing our feelings in a safe space can help with our mental wellbeing. People do not have to read out what they write but you will be encouraged to share your experiences.
- Cleanse your personal space with incense, sage, or blessed water
- Sometimes negative energy builds up around our homes, workplaces or cars. To cleanse this energy try sprinkling salt on the doorstep, light a bay leaf to clear the air, ring a bell to dispel tension, fill a spray bottle with filtered water and essential oil to spritz your space. Become a shaman with your own domain. Chant, sing, act!
- Avoid where possible toxic or emotionally draining people
- If you are listening to someone for more than 3 minutes at a time without saying much, it is a monologue or a download, not a conversation. If you find yourself in a place where someone is talking about themselves exclusively, about a situation that doesn’t really involve you, say something like ‘breaker, breaker’, or ‘can I jump in here’ … Try to invite conversation rather than be a vent for other people’s self-obsessions.
- Cut emotional chords and reroute relationships through the higher self
- This is a powerful visualisation exercise. During the challenge period, cut psychic ties with anyone who continually drains your time and energy. Reestablish a new relationship through the plane of the higher self by sending them positive thoughts.
- Rise just before sunset
PART 5 – Spiritual cleanse
- Practice two hours of silence once a week
- If family members or your thoughts won’t leave you in peace, find a place out of range, without cell phone, or any artificial noise, where you can sit or walk quietly and practice complete silence… not ear phones, no podcasts, no talk back … silence! Once you make a commitment to silence, it feels like a deep cleanse of the soul.
- Practice forgiveness and acceptance
- People and problems can get under our skin. If we practice forgiveness and increase our compassion we can see ourselves and others in a different light. Accept that there are some things you cannot control. Rather than trying to control the actions of others, try controlling the flow or your breath instead.
- Sit or walk in nature and silently observe colours, smells, sounds
- Small children are enamored with nature. However, as adults, sometimes we lose that effervescent joy. Take your inner magical child on a play date. Find places where nature actively expresses itself and see how it lifts your spirit. Or go to an art gallery or museum and enjoy the experience of the senses
- Do some devotional practices
- If you are spiritual light a candle or incense and dedicate it to someone special. If you are atheist look up at the stars and try to find planets. If you are religious go to chapel, church or temple. If you are pagan create rituals that harmonize your world. How do you connect to that which is bigger than you? Make a ritual to celebrate the day.
- Read spiritual or religious texts
- Each day or even once a week, do a close reading of a spiritual chosen text and see what meaning it offers. These texts can spark inspiration for your own writing. Contemplate the power of the written word and dwell on the deeper meaning of what is said.
One of the most successful parts of the Challenge was the group chat on Facebook where we shared recipes, food ideas and words of encouragement with each other.
For example, here is Shirley’s Quinoa Salad – 1 cup basic cooked quinoa. 125gm cherry tomatoes, handful of baby spinach and handful of rocket, roughly chopped. 1/2 avocado sliced. 2 asparagus spears or 1/4 cup chopped broccoli, steamed. 1/2 cup chopped fresh berries, any kind. 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Combine together in bowl and toss lightly. Quantities can vary depending on how many you are feeding. Can also add herbs, spices, whatever you want. Enjoy.
HOW DO I JOIN THE 2020 CHALLENGE?
The challenge asks each person to follow the five parts of the challenge systematically, diligently, without cheating. Each person who takes up the challenge will sign the commitment form provided (see below), and pay a $20 cash deposit to show their commitment. The deposit will be refunded to you if you can swear on the ‘yoga bible’ (The Upanishads) that you have stayed 100% on track … with every single aspect of the challenge. If you strayed, the $20 will be forfeited and used to buy a tree or garden feature to remind you of your efforts.
Last year we made a whole garden from the deposit forfeits and now it is flowering prolifically!
Sunday class costs $14 per class. There are 5 Sundays in the challenge.
30 Day 2020 Challenge Commitment Form
I, ______________________________ will practice yoga 3 times a week for the duration of the 30 day Challenge. I will be strict vegetarian and meditate daily, rising with the sun. I will follow each step of the 5 week challenge (as documented), writing my journal, doing devotional practice, practicing silence, and cleaning my personal spaces.
I will limited my alcohol intake (3 units/week women) and consume no foods with chemical numbers. I will make a commitment to upholding healthy personal relationships.
I will keep a daily yoga journal documenting my progress and experiences. I will take an oath of complete truthfulness and documented transparency, owning and declaring any of my negative behaviors and lapses to the group.
I will pay a $20 cash deposit. If I do not complete every aspect of the challenge I understand I will forfeit my deposit. This deposit will be used to by the NZ Yoga Centre a new tree in a pot or garden feature
SIGNED: ______________________________ DATED: __________________________
Our yogic diet will follow Ali’s 85% + 10% + 5% rule
85% of each serving should include …
- Fresh vegetables
- Whole grains, especially oats, whole wheat, and brown rice
- Beans, lentils, peas, tofu and plant-based protein
- Herbal teas (minimising caffeinated teas and coffee)
- Any type of fruits, especially organic and/or locally produced fruits – including tomatoes, avocado, and lemons.
- Preparing and cooking with care, giving gratitude before eating
Up to 10% of each meal servings can include …
- Organic and/or local dairy products: organic milk, butter, vegetarian cheese (no animal rennet), yoghurt (no gelatine), cream
- Raw nuts and seeds (not salted)
- Cold pressed oils such as sesame, sunflower, and olive oil
- Raw sugar, honey, molasses, agave syrup
- Sweet spices, like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, mint, basil, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, fennel
Up to 5% of meal servings may include rajasic foods
- Garlic, onions, leeks, chives
- spicy foods or salty foods
- Lightly fried foods
- Eggplants (aubergines)
- Tinned foods without added sugar, such as canned beans, lentil, tomatoes and fruit in natural juice
- 85% chocolate or caffeinated drinks – coffee, tea, green tea
- Alcohol not exceeding 3 units a week
Rajasic foods are those that a stimulating effect, leading to irritability and competitive tendencies.
- All meat and fish of all types, including eggs (NB soaked chia seeds make a great binding agent as a substitute to eggs)
- Non-vegetarian cheese or halal gelatine
- Animal fats or margarine
- Deep fried foods
- Processed, refined and/or artificial foods with artificial colours and preservatives, including artificial sweeteners (no sugar-free chewing gum or breath freshers)
- White flour and white sugar
- Microwaved foods
- Soft drinks – cola or energy drinks
- Tobacco and synthetic drugs
- Fast food from fast food restaurants
Start Up Class – Sunday 15th Nov. 9.30 am-11 am (doors open at 9.25 am)
We will kick off our 30 day Yoga Challenge with a systems cleansing yoga class, followed by an informal gathering strategizing how to get through the next 30 days following a strict yogic lifestyle. Please note, remote attenders can join us by Zoom if required. This is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow challenge participants so that you can each offer encouragement along the way.
- 2 Fortnightly potluck brunch gathering after Sunday classes from 11 am -12 pm: 22 Nov/6 Dec
- 2 Fortnightly potluck dinners or vegetarian restaurant outing (optional) Sunday 6-7 pm: 29 Nov/13 Nov
Bring a plate of fresh fruit, or healthy home cooking sweet or savory, or raw juice, or a fresh beverage to share with challenge members. Also we will encourage you to share ideas, recipes, or your journal insights. Please note, in keeping with good karma yoga practices, everyone will be expected to help tidy up and do any dishes before leaving.
- Challenge will close Monday 14th December
Please contact Ali at NZyogacentre@gmail.com or phone 06 3274108 for more information
Ideas from the last challenge
A tasty super-food smoothie includes whole food such as: organic milk, or soy/nut milk, probiotic yogurt (no gelatin), raw honey, coconut water, varied fruits such as: banana, avocado, stone fruit, pears and peaches, passion fruit. As well as raw nuts & unprocessed seeds. This allows us to drink amazing smoothies, sip freshly pressed fruit juice, eat fruit salads, and also enjoy ‘savory’ fruit salads made of tomato, avocado, cucumber, lemon etc. There is so much scope for yogic ‘fasting’. The general idea is to give the digestive system a rest by eating simple fresh foods.