As someone who finds so much solace and strength by practicing yoga once a week each Monday, I can only imagine how much those benefits and feelings would multiply if I yoga’d every single day for an entire month. Well, one member of our Hot Mom Spa Squad, Nicole Kempka of Red Lotus Mama, did just that in January when her yoga studio announced a 31 Day Yoga Challenge. When she told her mom about it she said, “That is crazy. No way you will be able to do 31 straight days of yoga.” But in the true spirit of Hot Mom Monday, sometimes you gotta prove your mama wrong. Check out Nicole’s exhilarating Day 31 post on her blog, but first stay here as she shares her simple yet transformative experience in a rather poetic way: Yoga is a State of Mind I started practicing yoga for the physical benefits. I wanted those tight abdominal muscles and butt, sculpted arms, and lean legs every dedicated yogi has. I stretched and dripped in sweat trying to achieve physical perfection. But yoga will give you so much more if you let it. While other yogis are stretching or practicing inversions before class starts I prefer to take Savasana (Corpse Pose). While I lay there I ask myself three questions… 1. Where am I? I am at yoga class. I am on my mat. I am in the present. 2. What am I doing? I am putting all of my worry and stress on hold. I am breathing in. I am breathing out. 3. Who am I? I am Nicole. I am a yogini. I am a beginner. When I start to lose focus during class I repeat these questions and answer to myself. My stretches get deeper. My strength increases. My breathing is calm and my mind is clear. I walk out of class sweaty and smiling because I have improved both my physical and mental being. This is what yoga gives me. Namaste. — Nicole Kempka About Red Lotus Mama: Nicole is a “thirtysomething” year old single mom. She is a California native who grew up in the LA Valley, went to college in San Diego, and started her career as a website producer in San Francisco. In 2003 she returned to San Diego to be closer to family and friends. She daydreams about getting paid to write and take photographs, practicing yoga daily and living in a beach front cottage. In reality she works full time while trying to finding nirvana in the midst of motherhood. First photo c/o Nicole’s yoga studio, Haute Yoga, located Carlsbad and Solana Beach, CA.