The 30 Day Diaries
Snipets of my first ever 30 days of yoga with the awesome yogiMJ (lunchtime Fridays) and at Studio Bliss, a little gem of a studio I recently discovered. Should mention the fact, that since my issue is not about commitment, rather about managing my ridiculous sense of commitment, and learning to honor myself first and foremost. Making that my most important commitment, even if I were to only do 20 out of 30, I’d still consider myself successful. Simply because that would mean I cut myself some slack, gave myself a break.
It will be interesting the unfolding of this journey… a great way to wrap up the year.
So far, as of yet, there has been one day, when travelling all day that I only practiced bhakti, pranayam and shavasana. Still pretty good.
2010.11.23 – Today was day 9. Yin with Leah. At some point in wide legged stretch or lizard pose, can’t remember now, I lost my calm. Or rather, frustration took over. A recent conflict came to mind and the annoyance vomited all over my practice. And halfway through, she sais, there it is, the frustration is coming out on all your faces now, do whatever you can in the pose right now to stay with it. I reached for Kuan, my new, beloved friend, Godess of mercy and compassion. And so, it was the new mantra that got me through the last 10 breaths. I just kept giving it all back to Kuan. You deal with it. I have yoga to do. And body to attend to.
Interesting this yin practice, the opposite of my natural run away as fast as you can tendency. It’s really about working with what you have and making it as comfortable as possible, drawing inwards into the body, into the inner resources to find the good feeling place no matter how tight the space is. Alot of exploring.
Although there is resistance, I can’t say I don’t enjoy it.
Tomorrow is a flow class…. and my first lunchtime workout in a week… interesting see how i goes.
2010.11.25 Hatha yoga tonight. A late evening class. After a heated work day and an intense lunchtime workout, I coulda just lied there in savasana all class and it woulda been more than fine for me. But it took my mind off my frustration. And eased the stress from this upcoming Monday’s upgrade. It’s amazing how magical it is. So I’ve discovered that the thing about yoga mats is that they are indispensable for their supportive qualities. You can vomit all kinds of emotional garbage, frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, resentment on them and they just sit there and hold a soft, sacred space. No matter what, and, they even bring about gratitude, forgiveness, mercy, strength, relief, peace and even happiness. That’s more than any human, cat, fish or dog can do. Talk about indispensable. And here’s the secret, all those bad feelings, they come from you, and all those good feelings, they also come from you. The mat is just a space to explore and move in and out of them.
So I realize I’m gonna have to reach out to my resources for support over the next 19 days. It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be. Or fun. Excuses come up, I’m tired, I don’t have time to make supper, didn’t buy groceries, it’s cold, I’m grouchy hehe. Tonight, I coulda literally sat at home and sulked (serious case of pms) but I’m sooo lucky that I have this autopilot when it comes to fitness routines and my amazing sense of commitment. Just get up and do it. No matter what. The good thing about yoga is that’s more about being than doing. Great thing, to just be.
2010.12.01 Day 16 I believe. My knees hurt. Hehe they do. I have been cranky about the getting to yoga all week, always relieved upon arrival but having a hard time staying present in my practice. On Sunday, I literally agonized over how I was going to manage a healthy meal since I’d only had granola all day and still make to a friend’s within the hour after class. I almost went mad halfway through to class trying to shut my brain off. Going back and forth being grateful that the meal dilemma was actually keeping my mind off the real issue that’s been eating away at me. Then remembering I was in yoga class and had totally derailed from my core. I wanted to get up and shout THIS IS RIDICULOUS, enough already, it’s one darn meal. Shut the hell up and just get over it! I felt like halfway to crazy but apparently it’s a normal part of the 30 day process. The untamed mind’s resistance to the spiritual aspect of the practice. But tonight something magical happened, I’m hoping it’s like in running when you pass that wall where afterwards you can keep going and going and it’s like a drug you can’t get enough of. Not sure though, because of the intense spiritual and transitional nature of yoga, there may always be times when resistance arises. Anyway, so I’m listening to Stephanie, whom I must be due to listen to it because she’s been subbing almost every class I attend these days, remind us of the importance of meditation and how it allows us to become observers to our own life. Through that observation we detach and create space for choices in our actions/reactions. And I have this wicked thought…. what if I embraced my idiosyncrasies and crazy behaviors (what’s a woman without some wackiness) and saw them in a different light. If saw the beauty in them, the love in them, then I would be breeding more love and compassion into myself and thereby releasing resistance to the very patterns that seem to create pain, creating a way out or rather a way to let something else in. And so there I was in an akward but very comfortable bent elbow Adho Mukha Svanasana (downdog) variation thinking to myself all the cute and sweet things about the behaviors I dislike the most about myself. The wheels completely fell off the bad feeling tendency. No word of a lie, I came out of that class the happiest I’ve been helluva long time. I don’t think that’s what Stephanie’s intention was (for me to a happy little nut hehe) but hey I’ll take that kind if relief anyway. Now if I could find some relief for my aching knees.
2010.12.02 Day 17. Whoa! Major hotness in class tonight…. who is this man? I couldn’t focus until like 20 minutes in. My eyes kept drifting, I kept hoping no one would notice. I couldn’t help it! It’s not everyday you see that kind of hotness in a yoga class.
Ok, back to the serious stuff. …Shoulder is still sore but tonight was better than last night. My spine hurts, lower back as well, went way too deep into a backbend last night, and I could feel the fear inside while I was doing it. The fear is that I won’t make it to day 30. (I really really really wanna go all the way!) My knees are better though (O:
Interesting class, lots of technique, specification, lots of details. Very pitta type teacher, like me. Learned how to take the weight off the top of the body by pushing in through our heels, we did this by pushing our feet into the wall while pulling our bodies away from the wall in downdog and warrior poses. Didn’t know how to do it downdog but was doing it naturally in my warrior poses, thaaaaaaat’s why I’ve been able to hold them so well. Very cool!
I don’t know if it’s the yoga but I’m ridiculously extra HIGH on life these days. I am so hoping that I can go all the way, see it through to day 30, I’m loving what this experience is doing to my body and mind. Way better than weight lifting but with same, even better physical results. I feel completely different about myself, difficult to explain. A sense of openness, trust, strength, grace & beauty all at the same time. It’s an embracement for the physical experience of inhabiting this body. Everyday I actually love it a little more. At first I thought it was the stairs, all that cardio, but I’m starting to see muscles develop in places I’d work and grit my teeth and swear to develop at the gym.
It’s magic this yoga stuff, inside and out. Really is magic!
2010.12.04 Day 20. Or it shoulda been. Damm!!!! My hip flexor completely jammed in yesterday’s class. Was a really cool one, but a little too demanding after last weeks intense backbends. Ah backbends!! As great as they feel, they bring you face to face with fear. I felt my self on Thursday night going to deep into one, pushing to hard against the fear. I knew it was overkill. Gotta leearn to listen! listen! listen! So, today is bhakti day. The yoga of devotion.
Ok so I won’t lie, I’m terrified that I won’t be able to complete my 30. How can I live with not living up to my commitments? I’m a freak with this stuff. But I gotta keep it real. Chill the hell out!!! Thank God tomorrow and Monday are restorative.
On a WAAY cooler note, was having conversation with a yogi friend tonight who just finished his 30 yesterday. And he was telling me about how the real yoga is the the one you take off the mat. Just like Stephanie often makes reference to. And that’s just it, somehow, yoga weaves it’s way into your life, permeating all of your experiences with clarity. On Monday, I had this really cool experience, kinda like when you slow down a DVD, really really really slow, until you zero in on a specific moment. There, right there! I was able to pause in the middle of a thought and catch myself right at the moment where I get myself into trouble. In that slowness and clarity, it’s soooooo much easier to step waaay back and make a different choice. Which is exactly what I did. Kinda like interrupting my own a synesthesia but without any NLP techniques. And my yogi friend was able to confirm that’s exactly how it goes. I LOVE IT!
Please, please, please let me the next 11 days!!!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
2010.12.06 Day 22. Well, I actually don’t have much to say. My mind is quiet. Kinda like the blanket of snow out in my yard right now. I guess this is a sign the practice is working.
If you want some juice, well, I was quite the feisty one today, lots of revved up, growling kinda of energy. Had to constantly bring myself back to the gift in everything that showed up. But here I am, enjoying a cup of tea after Monday’s night’s restorative practice with Carina at Bliss, a quiet peaceful mind. Beautiful.
I am so grateful that the amazing Mat Boulé accepted to see me on such short notice, tomorrow bright and early we unpinch this baby so I can end the 30 days with grace and ease. Not mention that I will also be able to feel the crunch of my feet on the pavement again, albeit, today’s workout on the stairs went a lot better than I anticipated, snow and all.
That’s all I got folks. Exactly the intention I had set for tonight’s practice. Peace!
2010.12.06 Day 24. The phrase, everything happens for a reasons is coming to make more and more sense to me. So I walk in and there is Stephanie again, subbing for a class slot I NEVER attend. Backbends, she sais, today in a flow class. Great!!! I am to avoid backbends until my hip stabilizes, how am I to manage this??? As we move through our vinyasas I realize my sun salutation varies in chaduranga. I go all the way down and come uo in updog and everyone else never hits the floor. Interesting… so I go along the class respecting my boundaries as much as I can but take the time to ask Stephanie about the variation in the flow. She explains that my way is more ashtanga kinda of style. She then goes on to explain a whole bit about not contracting the abs but using the power of the legs in order to let the abs decontract (and that’s how I would be able to the same flow back up to downdog as everyone else AND it’s easier on the back AND doesn’t being the body into fight or flight and we go into this whole conversation about how to move ot of flight or flight by the way the core muscles are used) B-I-N-G-O…. just the information I need, cuz I’m HUGE on pranayama. This woman and I are meant to chat. I love how big the instructors at Bliss are big on technique AND the spiritual aspect of the practice (none of this trendy yoga bullshit).
Anyway, I’m so grateful that I made it out there today. I really had to pull my bootstraps up, woulda been easy to stay home since I am working at 9PM. As much as this 30 day thing is changing my life, I won’t be sad to get a break after Tuesday. Man, I’m tired!!!! This is some serious dedication. Well worth the effort! In body and spirit, the quality of my life has improved in so many ways. Peace!
2010.12.06 Day 28. Someone asked me today what have been the benefits of your journey?
I took on this challenge literally as a means to deal with the grief of the death of my best friend this past September and at the same time a broken relationship with someone who had played an important role in my life. Grief is one of those funny things, no matter what people say or do the person grieving never seems understood. I did have a handful of very special people that were present but I wasn’t able to, at the time, open myself up. I wish I could have but I literally needed to be pried open few people understood that. At some point in early November it became apparent that this was, naturally, affecting other areas of my life. I know myself well enough to know my throw-yourself-into-something tendencies. I saw myself working too many hours, working out to hard, dieting too much, pushing myself to hard. And I decided, if I’m gonna throw myself anywhere, let it be it into something conducive to all aspects of my life. And I had been missing my deep spiritual practice’s. As my best friend so wisely taught me, it was time do an inside job. What better way to dive inward than the practice of yoga.
If you care to know, 28 days later, the grief is still there. Even as coach, I understand that grief cannot be “cured”, it’s a time thing. But what I’ve gotten over the last 28 days far outweighs the efforts I’ve put in. It’s way more than having dropped 2 or 3 dress sizes and getting these kick ass abs and arms that not other workout ritual has even given me in such a short period of time. It’s been a radical but subtle experience.
First, there’s this insane appreciation for the body. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so free in my own skin. I guess you’d have to feel that way when you can turn yourself into a pretzel and back hehe. Then there’s the amazing follow-through power in everything I take on, I mean, I know I make things happen, but I’ve taken the follow-through to a whole other level. And this new ability to slow down, press pause and zero in on what used to be autopilot mode.
Being more open, sleeping better, eating different, feeling different, moving different. I’m stronger and more gentle at the same time. Calmer and more energized. Closer to my feelings and yet more detached from them. My intuition is at its peak. It’s easier to respect my limits, and even easier stretch my perspective. Opportunities are just dropping into my lap. New friendships, new experiences. I’m not planning on doing the 30 day gig on a monthly basis but I would say on an annual basis yes.
My recommendation to you, DO IT! I would say get yourself some buddies cause somewhere around week three, you’re gonna need to reach for all the resources you have at your disposal to stay in the game.