March: 27 Day Challenge

What started as a daily commitment experiment for personal growth, self discovery, and a writing challenge, has now become a personal writing tradition. This year I’m hoping I can make this challenge a bit more vulnerable and personal. As done in my last challenges; during the month of March I will be writing a daily post; observation and reflection. This daily posting challenge is a way to push open personal boundaries and redefine my commitment to writing and sharing more of what I see, what I experience, what I am deeply moved by, and how I rediscover the similarities in the cultures I encounter including my own.

This year I will add one more element to the daily challenge that will accompany you; my few but loyal readers on this 27 day journey.

This element, especially in my rediscovery of what it means to be a yoga student, instructor, and a person who genuinely loves guiding people towards better and more self empowered health; is my most challenging. For the past two years I’ve been redefining my own personal practice, and in that light; I will be adding posts and thoughts about my personal physical, spiritual and wellness life, and how it is informed by daily yoga practice, unscripted kinesiology and movement exploration, crazy dance classes, food creation and wellness routines. As my body ages, I realize I’m capable of far more than I had ever tackled in my teens and twenties as a dancer and young yoga student. I invite you to place your own personal 27 day challenges and share them with your friends and loved ones. Motivation sometimes comes from inspiration and I hope this challenge will give opportunity for inspiration and discussion.

Day 1. The Peoples Park

Running on empty.

This past winter, both physically and mentally has been a bit of a challenge. Even though the winter was far less harsh than in previous years; I felt I had to work twice as hard to self motivate. Pulling myself by my bootstraps, as it is often passed around in the U.S, by those who feel the need to show off their unwavering personal resilience to failure. I challenged myself to a biweekly (no matter the weather) run in the park. My body in the last year has gone through some welcome and unwelcome transformations. This morning, as I had done last Sunday, I got out of my winter skin, and with a chilly sunny day, as a backdrop took a very slow run in my favorite park in New York : Prospect Park.

Some may argue that Central Park is better, fancier, more sophisticated, has more to see, and they might be right, but for me Prospect Park has been my sanctuary, my safe haven, my meditation spot, my writing spot, my open gym, my place for self reflection, and where I go jogging from April till November. It’s filled with little nooks, beautiful open lawns, nice shady spots, drum circles and open air concerts. It’s a back yard, a meeting spot, a quiet space and a gathering space. Unlike any park I know in Athens, New York parks are stuff of legends and many stories. Since I don’t have a garden to sit in anymore, the Park has provided a green haven away from everything that reminds you, that you live in a crowded city. Today was no exception. Gorgeous sun reflected off the lake shimmering the waters as people ran, biked, played music and took in a few late winter rays.

It’s a little bit of magic. You will see everyone from the surrounding neighborhoods come together. Kids running through and playing with trees, cyclists whizzing by; re-construction on the old gazebo in the lower end of the park. Today I ran so slowly, even an old grandmother passed me by, but I pay no mind as my feet slowly got used to the rhythm of my heart rate. The Park transports you to places of the past as the trees have secrets only they will ever know. After cutting through the lower half of the park; the wind started to cut through both my hoodies as I walked home. It’s still too cold for me but I’ve pushed through today’s first satisfied with my progress but mostly exhausted and sore.

This for sure will be an interesting month.

Stay tuned…

Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

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