Local Studio Dares its Students to Down Dog for 30 Days

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Local yoga studio Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse has a bi-annual tradition of daring its students to 30 days of yoga. Every October and February, yogis choose to enroll in the “30 Day Dare,” with the intention of taking thirty yoga classes throughout the course of the month.

“The dare is important to the overall programming at the Funky Buddha,” said Anna Baeten, executive director at Funky Buddha. Baeten explained that the studio’s mission statement is “growth through practice,” and it has been scientifically proven that physical, mental and spiritual growth can benefit from an occasional deep-dive. “We grow better, more and faster if we are committed to the idea of changing it up once in a while, and that is what the 30 Day Dare does for our students.”

Yoga classes at Funky Buddha are all hot yoga sessions, meaning each class takes place in a studio kept at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. So students who accept the 30-day challenge are not only committing to incorporate daily yoga practice into their life for one month, they are also committing to getting their sweat on.

So why do they do it? Why did over 250 students sign up for the 30 Day Dare this year, and why do they voluntarily take time out of every single day to practice their down dog? Lisa Bartolec tells GR|MAG why.

250 Yogis, One Shared Goal

Bartolec has been a student practicing yoga at the Funky Buddha Yoga Studio since it first opened in 2011, and this October she completed her 15th 30 Day Dare.

“I do the 30 Day Dare because I like the challenge and I love the community—how it brings together so many yogis on the same mission to challenge their practice and grow personally through hot yoga,” said Bartolec.

Because Bartolec is already a frequent practitioner, she says the 30 Day Dare doesn’t make her feel too different physically, although it does increase her intentions on the mat.

“With so many other yogis setting similar goals and working towards the same ultimate goal of growth and completion, it gives me a deeper sense of belonging to something bigger than just myself,” she said.

Baeten says the dare is vital to the Funky Buddha community. “For some, the dare is a time to commit or re-commit to their yoga practice, self-care, accountability, and general wellbeing. Others do it for the self-competitive challenge. Frankly, some of them just do it for the cool T-shirt at the end. But all of them benefit from the overall camaraderie and energy in the studio in that month.”

Benefits Beyond the Mat

Today, Bartolec is what you would call “a regular” at the studio. She usually takes at least one class per day, and some days even two classes. She credits her first Dare, 15 years ago, as the reason that she is motivated to meditate and move on her mat every single day.

“The benefits I experience from yoga go far beyond physical fitness, torching calories and building strength,” Bartolec said. “It truly has become my own personal therapy session on my mat every single time I practice.”

Bartolec sees her yoga practice positively influencing other areas of her life beyond the mat, including friendships, acceptance, being present, personal growth and being able to process her emotions more intentionally.

“Yoga has given me the gift of grace. The ability to hit the pause button in life and process my feelings more deeply, with more meaning and sureness. It was my first Dare that sparked a longing to experience that practice daily.”

For more information, visit Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse.

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