IOL's fashion editor Nontando Mposo shares her 25-Day Yoga Challenge experience.

Nowadays, with social media and hashtags, there is a challenge for everything.

From the #30daySquatChallenge to the #30DayBeachBodyChallenge, some challenges aim to fast-track your body transformation. while others are there to motivate you to commit to a fitness programme. Fitness challenges can also be fun to do with loved ones, friends or co-workers to give you that extra push.

A popular myth says that it takes 21 days to form a new habit and after that it’s a bonus. I’ve never been one to take part in any of the challenges as, when it comes to fitness and exercise, I have always had the self-discipline to see through whatever I sign up for.

For years, I’ve kept fit by doing yoga, attending gym and running about four times a week. This fell away in October last year, when I simply lost all interest in fitness and exercise for some reason. The only form of exercise I did was walking to and from work (about a 5km walk a day) .

I like to think my body needed a break after all, one is entitled to a fitness slump now and again.

The lack of exercise meant I piled on the kilos, my energy levels dipped and my insomnia got worse. Towards the end of January I came across the announcement of the myUTOPIA #25DayYogaChallenge on my Instagram feed.

I’d been contemplating getting back to yoga in a new environment, so I took this as a sign to sign up. I did it for two reasons: number one, being a competitive individual, making this commitment will mean I will have to see the challenge through to the end; and, two, it was going to motivate me to get back to my active self again.

Located at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, in The Pavilion building, the yoga and pilates studio myUTOPIAdescribes itself as “a premium lifestyle space, designed to allow your health and wellness time to fit seamlessly into your busy day, making it easy to take some time out for yourself”.

I was sold.

The word “Utopia” (noun) is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect”.

The definition perfectly paints a picture of this yoga studio with a view of Table Mountain.

At myUTOPIA, luxury meets comfort and wellbeing. With the yoga mat, a bottle of water and a sweat towel provided, all you have to do is arrive in your yoga clothes. Now, when you live a busy lifestyle of work and a social life this makes all the difference in the world. It cuts out the admin of having to carry around a yoga mat and a towel. Did I mention that after the class you receive an essential oil cloth and the shower facilities come with all amenities and towel? Well this is simply yoga heaven!

Back to the 25 Day Yoga Challenge; the rules were that you must complete 25 yoga classes during February; and, if you miss a day, you can take two classes (double up) in one day to catch up. The first week of the challenge was a tough one. Having been out of practice, it was a physical and mental test that had every muscle in my body aching.

I really enjoyed that the studio offers different types of classes I have never tried such as Power Yoga, a vigorous, fitness-based approach to Vinyasa yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and BodTopia which is a 40-minute HIIT (intense bursts of high-intensity exercise). This meant I could try a new class every other day which kept my studio visit interesting. The classes are small, so you get special teacher attention to help you get each pose right. Offering two studios, the heated Forest room and the non-heated Desert Room, you get to decide according to your mood which class to do.

I made it to day 17 and fell 8 days short to complete the challenge due to being out of town. Nevertheless, I won in my book: my strength and balance is restored; my metabolism is working; I can sleep peacefully; and I feel like my active and healthy self again. From the warm and welcoming front-desk staff to the teachers, fellow yogis and immaculate facilities, I fell in love with the studio and have now made it my yoga home.

* Where? Corner of Beach & Portswood Road,V&A Waterfront.

Connect with myUTOPIA at: www.myutopia.co.za Instagram: @myutopia_sa