This morning, after a 9:30 meeting, I hustled over to my yoga studio.
Not to take class.
Not to play with Josie, the studio owner’s amazing pup.
Not to pick up sweaty clothes I’d “accidentally” left in a locker overnight. OK, for two nights. Fine, three nights, I’m so ashamed.
Not even to visit with friends or to take a very warm nap in the heated room.
I went into the empty studio to sit on a block in silence and to meditate for five minutes.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT HAVE I DONE, WHO AM I?
“Meditating” is not something I do.
Except that it is now. For five minutes every morning (it’s supposed to be right when I wake up, but we’ll work on the timing…), and for five minutes before bed every night.
I sit. And I consciously let thoughts enter my mind and then leave my mind. And I do nothing. (I’m still not totally sure if I’m doing it right. This morning I had “Blurred Lines” stuck in my head and struggled with “Do I push this thought out???” or “Do I let the tune play on because I’m totally not bothered by it?”)
I focus on being present. On knowing that in those five minutes, I will not solve any of the world’s problems nor any of my own.
It’s 10 minutes a day of very precious “me time,” and I’m only 2.5 days into this routine, but so far I’m really into it.
Tuesday night kicked off the 40 Days Program at Lyons Den, and I am so excited to be taking part.
That’s why I’ve been meditating. It’s part of the program.
The kickoff meeting on Tuesday was completely inspiring. Lyons Den has only been open for almost a year and a half, and 46 people signed up for the 40-day challenge! Being in the room with all those people who want to change and improve their lives and commit to something really bold and powerful was chill-inducing.
A bit more about the program…
Lyons Den Power Yoga is a Baptiste-style yoga studio. We practice in a room heated to 90-ish degrees, and it’s a fast, athletic flow. It is not Bikram yoga! I’ve actually never done Bikram yoga. But I know it’s different.
Baptiste yoga is attractive to me because I like my yoga to be a workout. I get super sweaty because the room is hot, but also because I’m aggressively moving through the poses. Come try it with me.
You’ve probably heard me preach about Bethany, the co-owner of Lyons Den, because she almost single-handedly brought me back from rock bottom during The Great Crohn’s Flare of 2013. So when she announced the launch of the 40 Days Program at Lyons Den, I knew I wanted in.
It’s 40 days of yoga (six days a week at the studio or following a podcast at home, plus one rest day), meditation (twice a day, starting at 5 minutes at a time and working up to 30 minutes yikes), healthier eating (there’s no diet or nutrition plan, just an awareness of what you’re putting into your body, which for me is mostly Thin Mints), journaling (we’re given topics to ponder), and weekly reading from Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution book, which we all received when we signed up for the program.
Each week (there are six) has a theme, and we all meet in person once a week (Tuesdays at 8:30 PM). The group sessions are not intended to be therapy; they’re just group meetings where we share our experiences so far in the program, talk about the theme of the week, and meditate together at the end. The community aspect is huge here. Beyond the large group of 46 people, we also have mini groups, and mine has six people (four girls, two guys). We got into our groups by being told to “find people we don’t know.”
I’m planning to share my personal experiences in the program each week because maybe it will interest just one person out there who has done the program or is thinking about making a big life change or a small life change or I don’t know, just maybe someone will find it interesting.
A few things to note about my posts regarding the 40 Days Program:
- Every single thing I write is from my own perspective. This series is about my experience throughout the 40 days. I am choosing to write about it simply because I want to, not because Bethany or Baron Baptiste or Buddha or Oprah told me to or asked me to. But I bet Oprah was going to ask.
- What happens during the weekly meetings is “Vegas.” Nothing leaves that room. It’s our little safe happy space for sharing and talking. You won’t be hearing about what anyone else shares during the meetings. Even if it’s like, really super juicy. Even if someone murdered someone. But probably no one did that.
- That being said, Bethany does know I’m going to be sharing my experiences, and she’s completely cool with it. She gave me permission to share things she says, just not things other people say. Vegas.
- I will probably share these posts on Mondays. Just a heads up in case you’re totally not interested. Now you know which days not to click around here.
- I’m going to be doing a lot of yoga in the next six weeks and would love your company at any and all classes! It’s cold out and the studio is hot, so now’s the time to come Crow with me. Here’s the schedule.
So, why am I doing this? (No one asked me that. I’m asking myself so I can answer my own question.)
Committing to 40 days of yoga plus additional “tasks” is a huge undertaking. Probably ain’t nobody really got time for that. But it’s about making time. And making priorities and sacrifices. This is a good time for me to do that.
I’m at a point in my life where I’m really analyzing my career and what I want from it (I know I know I know I still haven’t talked about the job shift, but I will when the proverbial dust settles, promise — it’s not some great big secret, it’s just…life).
I’m turning 30 in a few months.
And I’m getting married in the fall.
So this just seems like good timing, or as good as it’s going to get. I want to spend some quality time with myself, figuring out what I really want, who I really am, all that introspective stuff. The happier I am with myself, the happier I’ll be around my loved ones. Bethany always tells us to be someone we like being around. Be someone whose company you enjoy.
And cheesy as it may sound, I want to really commit to myself before I commit to someone else. Barf. But true. (HI BRIAN, HOW’S BIKE CAMP?)
Almost exactly two years ago, Brian and I went to L.A. I never blogged about it because I was so sick and for some reason I envisioned people being judgey about the post and just didn’t want to deal. Weak lil’ Ali, she was afraid of the haters. We went out there to do Tony Robbins’s Unleash the Power Within workshop. Brian had done it before and said it completely changed the way he did business and lived his life, and I was at a turning point in my career (this is when I was first thinking about my future at Dance Spirit and whether I wanted to be a lifer or move on), so it seemed like it could help me find some clarity.
But then I was at my sickest point. The workshop was a disaster for me. We were in this huge convention center with thousands of people, and I was running to the bathroom every three minutes. Or more. Literally. I was a physical and emotional wreck, and I didn’t even make it to the fourth and final day of the workshop because I was in the hotel bed with a lot of Crohn’s and a 103-degree fever. It felt like such a wasted opportunity. (And it was not cheap.) It could have been so good for me, but the timing was so wrong. I did do the fire walk, though.
This is much more my speed. I’m not at emotional rock bottom. I’m happy, but I want some clarity and some inspiration. I like the more intimate setting, and I’m in it for the journey and the process, I think, rather than the specific end goal or expectation. We’ll see.
The theme for Week 1 is “presence.” I love that. Because holy shit, I am never fully present. Like ever. My brain is always peace-ing out to do other things. But yoga helps. It’s very “be here now.” Instead of looking at class as an item on my to-do list, I’ve tried to focus on it being 60 minutes (or 75 minutes, or 90 minutes, depending on the class) of time in the studio. Time to work on my practice, time to drop my brain, and some peaceful time without my cell phone beeping every four seconds. I hate my little devil cell phone.
During the first meeting, Bethany told us that it’s OK to give something up to make space for what you really want. I think she meant that it’s OK for me to give up paying my rent bill to make space for buying more zebra-print sweatpants. I will ask her to clarify that point.
I’ll wrap this up with my favorite thing Bethany said during the meeting, which I will probably have tattooed on Brian’s forehead (because if it’s tattooed on my own forehead, I can’t see it)…
“In order to be courageous, there has to be fear.”
So hey, it’s OK to be a little afraid sometimes. Chew on that.
And I’ll be over here, chewing on my Thin Mints.
Next week I’ll post about how my first week actually went. The Thin Mints are almost gone, so that should help with the nutrition part. I’m excited to document this process. I hope that after six weeks, I’m a little more chill, a lot stronger, and much warmer. Also more patient. And kind. And with a bunch of new friends! And maybe I’ll be able to do handstand. I’m so excited about all of this.