The 40-Day Shiva Nata Challenge

Confession: I’ve been seriously neglecting my Shiva Nata practice since the beginning of the year. I want to get back on track. Badly.

My solution: A 40-Day Shiva Nata Challenge.

If you want to deepen your personal practice (Shiva Nata or something else entirely) or would just like some support, I’d love to have you join me.

The more we can support each other in our personal practices the more we and the entire world will benefit.

Yes, that’s the power of deep, personal practices. :)

The Basic Structure:

Note: this is the structure I’m adopting for myself. Feel free to change, adapt, make up your own, as you see fit.

  • Minimum of 5 minutes per day every day for 40 days. And yes, thinking about Shiva Nata – especially thinking through a pattern – totally counts.
  • To write for 5+ minutes after 4-5 practice sessions per week AND to document my process, here, at least once per week.

Hmmm… that’s it. Woa. That was easy.

My 40-Day Theme: Relax!

I’m choosing an over-arching theme for the entire 40-days: Relaxation.

I want to see how my life might change if I spend an entire 40 days with Relaxation as my focus. I want to see what new connections might be made. I want to see whether my responses to stress and conflict change as I begin to embody more of the quality of Relaxation in my day to day life.

What might I learn about myself and how I respond to stress? How might my responses to stress, conflict and tension change as I practice the Art of Relaxation?

There will be weekly focuses as well.

It is very important to me to vary how I approach my practice. I want some structure in place to remind me to vary my movements (crisp, flowy, precise, sloppy…) and to vary how I relate to the space around me.

I’m looking to Ortho-Bionomy to provide this structure. In Ortho-Bionomy there are what we call Phases (or Moods). Briefly, these Moods are ways of being that influence the session. You can read about that here.

There are 4 Moods in Ortho-Bionomy.

I’m going to use a different Mood each week as a basis for my practice.

For instance, in Week 1 my practice will be mostly based in what we call Phase 4.

Phase 4 is about maintaining a crisp, clear, grounded presence. Therefore, my movements for the first week (whether I’m using words, music, or silence) will be crisp, precise and filled with clear, grounded presence.

And, yes, my overall theme of Relaxation will still be in affect. How relaxed can I remain as I practice very precise arm and leg movements?

I’ll talk more about the other Phases as those weeks arrive, rest assured. :)

There will be daily variations in my practice as well. I’ll write more about these in my next post.


Ok, here’s the catch: it is very easy for things, even super awesome, nourishing things, to turn into big, fat ‘shoulds’ for me. Therefore, I’ve found that giving myself tons of flexibility and permission to re-evaluate are critical to any practice being sustainable.

My intent is to challenge myself through this process – to challenge my ability to commit to a daily practice and to meet any resistances that may emerge… with relaxation. :)

And, of course, all my standard stuff about being gentle and kind with myself and listening to my body still applies. Thus, these permissions:

For myself:

  1. It’s ok to mess up, to forget, to not dance every day. The point is to revitalize my practice, to deepen my relationship with myself, and to notice and play with any resistances that show up.
  2. I give myself absolute permission to change or alter the Challenge if needed. This Challenge isn’t about pushing through. It’s about noticing patterns. It’s about deepening my relationship to my practice. It’s about noticing what comes up for me when I commit to something that challenges me.
  3. To check in with my body regularly – to not get so caught up in the 40-day thing that I lose site of what my body is telling me.

For you:

  1. If you want to join me, you can totally create your own Challenge – one that works for you and your lifestyle.
  2. You have absolute permission to join and then drop out. There will be no laughing, mocking or punishment. Just happiness for whatever time you do spend here.
  3. To join even if you do not do Shiva Nata – if you have some practice you’d like support and some sort of structure to help motivate you, you are welcome.
  4. Of course, you can join in at any point. You don’t have to start out on Day 1. I’m not giving you much (any) notice after all!!
  5. You can join secretly. No one even needs to know you are participating.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that this Challenge is not about forcing, or pushing through, or obligation.

Rather, it’s about supporting each other in deepening our practice and deepening our relationship with ourselves. Oh, and, saving the world. Of course.

Will you join me?

Comments? Thoughts? Want to join? If so, leave a comment (including your twitter handle if you have one). That’s it. You’re in!

Of course, if you’d like to share your structure, theme and/or possible variations, that’d be great. :)

Day 1 begins tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/2, 2011.

And….. We’re off!! :)


  1. cynthia says:

    i’m in in a BIG WAY! i look forward to shiva-ing it up in the weeks ahead AND following along with your structure of awesomeness. Whee!
    Twitter: salbatoc


    Larisa Koehn Reply:

    Fantastic!!! So awesome to know that we’ll be flailing together – even if not in the same room. :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  2. Casey says:

    I’m IN. I’ve been lagging (post Rally blues?) and I’d love to have a support structure to get me noticing, practicing, and just plain listening to what my body’s saying again.
    Thanks for organizing such a wonderfully simple plan. Shivanuts, unite!

    Twitter: 74rally


    Larisa Koehn Reply:

    Yippee!! If you have any suggestions or thoughts about how to keep in contact with each other, I’d love to hear them.

    And, damn, I *love* ShivaNUTs! Hilarious. I think ‘Shivanuts Unite’ may have to be our rallying call. :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn


    casey Reply:

    There could be a few ways for us to keep in touch.
    – On the Twitters, we could check in with a hashtag #ShivanutsUnite or #40dayshiva (the latter is shorter, so might be better)
    – You could create another page on your site for the 40-day challenge where we could post what’s happening.
    – We could start a free blog on typepad or wordpress, and each day would have a different starting point and we could all comment there.
    – We could form a Google group (or some other online collective if you’re Google-phobic)

    Anything that might *remind* us that we’re playing along together in this thing, and where we could share our yays and encouragements.
    Twitter: 74rally


    casey Reply:

    Ha! And now I read the rest of the comments and see that you already have nice short hashtags. So, um, never mind about that one.

    If it would help, I could do the free-blog setup on WordPress. I’ve already got a blog over there, so it wouldn’t take very long. Just let me know if that sounds good?
    Twitter: 74rally

    Larisa Reply:

    Wheee! Such great ideas. I’m going to email you. Right about Now. :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn

  3. Danielle says:

    I’m so in. Yay Shivanuts! :)
    Twitter: somaphile


  4. Sarah says:

    This…is…FANTASTIC!! I’m in! Go Shiva Nata!
    Sarah recently posted..A Fable


  5. Bridget says:

    I’m in.
    Bridget recently posted..It’s not about the suck


  6. Leila says:

    Oooo yes this sounds doable and flexible just like I need.

    Thanks for inviting us!

    Leila xxx
    Leila recently posted..Ways into happiness- Feet-belly-breath
    Twitter: LeilaLEvelyn


  7. Larisa says:


    Thrilled you are here. Really excited to hear about how this challenge unfolds for each of you. Yay!!

    ps. I know a lot of you have personal blogs. If you write anything about your 40-days, let me know (either in comments or through email) and I’ll link to them from my weekly recaps.

    And, on twitter I’ll be using these hashtags: #shivanata (of course) and #40days :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  8. Julie says:

    I have every expectation of failing (flailing?) utterly, but I’m in.
    Julie recently posted..You’re doing just fine
    Twitter: escapeivrytower


    Larisa Reply:

    That’s perfect. Failing, Flailing… all allowed here. :) I’m happy you are here.
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  9. Elizabeth says:

    Hmmm. My Shiva Nata practice is pretty consistent, not sure I need a challenge there. But I might join in for something else. Maybe drinking water. Or yoga. Oooh, yoga.
    Elizabeth recently posted..a lovely special


    Larisa Reply:

    Yoga! Lovely. And, I could totally get behind the water thing myself. Never considered doing a water challenge before!
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  10. Beth says:

    Like Elizabeth, I’m reasonably consistent in my practice. But I’ll join in just for the companionship!


    Larisa Reply:

    Perfect. Welcome!
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  11. Ty Barbary says:

    I am notoriously inconsistent, but I want to try to play along anyways. Throughout January, I was focused on making daily exercise a habit, and I actually did pretty well (yay! this is a novel thing for me), but neglected a few other should-be-daily habits…

    So, stretching. Not time-consuming (takes me some fifteen minutes, maybe). Not hard. Not physically taxing. Totally doable on a daily basis. Just… stretch. Every day.

    I give myself permission to miss days, but in mindful ways – to choose not to, for a good reason, not to just blithely ignore the commitment and forget to do it.

    We’ll see how well this works. :)
    Ty Barbary recently posted..15 Minute Ficlet- Landed
    Twitter: tybarbary


  12. Larisa says:

    Welcome, Ty! I really like the permission you are giving yourself… allowing for the *mindful* missing of days. That’s lovely. Happy you are here. :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  13. Yael Saar says:

    OOH, how delicious! I hope it’s not too late to join. I like Casey’s idea of a daily blog where we can catchup with each other. Then again I tend to like Casey’s ideas in general…
    Going to get me some Andre right now. Will check in later.
    Twitter: yaelsaar


    Larisa Koehn Reply:

    Oh, totally not to late to join. Would love to have you. :)

    There is a daily blog now; it’s here:

    See you there!
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  14. neil keleher says:

    My own goal was to finish up my own dance of shiva website. I”ve just finished level 3 after skipping ahead to levels 4 and 5 and now I’m gonna work on levels 6 and 7. Goal is to make it as easy as possible for others to do the dance of shiva so if you need a boost, new ways to practice, please have a look and let me know what you think. ps. videos are about 5 minutes in length and all on you tube and even has subtitles so you can “look ahead”.
    neil keleher recently of shiva level 3


  15. Larisa says:

    Hey Neil! Happy to see you here. Congrats on finishing L3. I just took a peek at your site and saw that you have the formula for L6 there. Yay!!! I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for that formula! Thank you.

    And, I’m going to copy your comment and link to the daily check-in blog so that the rest of the ShivaNuts are aware of what you are doing. :)
    Twitter: larisakoehn


  16. Deirdre O Connor says:

    Dear Larisa,

    I just came across your 40 day challenge – yes, I know it was in Feb and that date is way gone – but can you let me know if you’re doing any other challenges along the same lines. I would so love support in my shiva nata explorations.

    Deirdre (all the way across the sea in Ireland)


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