I’m now entering my final week in my yoga studio’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. If you’re new here, hi! My name is Ali. Good times. Here’s my introduction to the 40 Days challenge, followed by recaps from Week 1 (on “presence”), Week 2 (on “vitality”), Week 3 (all about “equanimity”), and Week 4 (where we focused on “restoration”). Now we’re up to Week 5: “centering.”
I am very sad.
I am sad that we’re into the final week of the 40 Days program. I can’t believe it’s going to be over soon.
And I’m sad because I have a stuffy nose. I can tolerate having Crohn’s disease, but clogged nostrils really send me into a tailspin.
Other than that, I’m quite happy. This past week in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution — where the theme was “centering” — was a really really good one. Now I will tell you why.
Daily Yoga Practice
A few weeks ago, I held my handstand for a split second during class and was so mad that Bethany (the instructor) didn’t see it. (I mean, honestly, how dare she be paying attention to anyone else during class? WTF.) As soon as I came down, I whipped around to see if she’d seen my triumphant victory, and when she hadn’t, I was visibly angry! I am the brattiest student.
This week = a revelation! I held a pretty solid handstand, and Bethany didn’t see it, and I totally didn’t care.
Why the sudden change in dramatic state?
Because I no longer worry that I’ll only get one good handstand. I am practicing it so much and while I still can’t just effortlessly kick up and not touch the wall and hold the handstand for a few seconds, I am getting closer every day, with every class and every at-home practice using Brian’s face as my “safety wall.” (Sorry, Bri, love you and your face and sorry I kick it so much!)
There’s no longer that “OMG did she see me???” panic, because another sweet handstand is always coming right up. I have five days left to master it! (Realistically I know I probably won’t master my handstand by Saturday, but I sure am trying.)
Beyond the eager handstanding every day, my yoga practice felt so awesomely solid this week. Where I was completely run-down and exhausted last week, this past week felt so good. Every class (five 60-minute classes and one hot-as-Hawaii 90-minute class) felt strong and I’m legitimately sad about the possibility of not doing yoga six days a week after the challenge.
I asked Bethany what I should focus on in my practice going forward, and she basically said that I now have a true yoga practice (!!!) and a real vinyasa flow, and I understand the fundamentals of the poses and the alignment of my body — and now I just need to work on keeping the two connected. So flowing through the poses while maintaining integrity within them. (Whoa, yoga speak.) And when the flow gets fast — which it always does at The Den — not sacrificing my form and quality for speed.
I’ve also noticed that poses I used to really struggle with, like Dolphin and Forearm Stand, are now more comfortable and within reach. Dolphin isn’t the worst, most uncomfortable thing ever, and Forearm Stand is still really scary (“while visions of neck-snapping danced in my head…”), but I at least attempt it now instead of defaulting to Child’s Pose.
I really like yoga.
I love yoga.
This was a total fail. I was supposed to meditate for 25 minutes twice a day this past week, and I did that exactly zero times. I just didn’t commit to doing it. I honestly didn’t even try. I would put “meditate” on my To-Do List some days, but I never prioritized it or got around to it or made it happen. This week we’re supposed to do two 30-minute sessions per day, and I would really like to try to make that happen at least once. Stay tuned…
I’ve been cooking more! I love cooking! While my diet certainly isn’t balanced or as healthy and nutrient-dense as I would like it to be, I’ve gotten much better about eating mindfully and enjoying my food rather than just shoveling it in my face while I keep up with those Kardashians. (J/K I don’t do that.) (Yes I do.)
Still going pretty strong with the journaling. I try to get my thoughts in writing 3–4 times per week, and I really value that time. A few questions I enjoyed this week:
- Where, when, and with whom do I feel most grounded? My answer surprised me! I figured I would say I feel most grounded when I’m by myself or when I’m with Brian, but as soon as I got Le Pen to paper, I started scribbling about how comfortable I am with all my new 40 Days yoga friends, and how I’ve found such comfort in them and our shared experiences. I find that I’m really authentic around them, and I never feel like I’m putting on a show or being judged. It’s pretty awesome.
- How mindful am I of the smallest details of my day? I’m not. At all. I forget things minutes after they happen. Am I truly present enough to notice all my actions? I am surely not.
Yes, I read about “centering,” and um…flowers and dresses and stuff.
I feel the most empowered I have in a while. For sure. I feel so strong in my yoga practice, and I feel like I’ve learned about myself throughout this process. I’ve focused on being true to myself and acting with integrity. Whenever I’m in public (mostly on public transportation), I like to think, “If someone I know or respect were secretly watching me, would I be proud of my actions?” So basically, don’t throw elbows at strangers on the sidewalk and don’t roll my eyes so dramatically at the inaudible MTA delay announcements.
I’m also more chilled out in general. I’m working on my relationship with my ever-changing body (a forever work in progress, but it’s just that: in progress), and trying to focus more on what it can do and less on what it looks like and what I think are its “flaws.”
I find myself being much kinder to loved ones and strangers alike, and I’m more patient, compassionate, and understanding.
I have been saying “no” to things that don’t empower me, and “yes” to things that lift me up.
If I read this post a year, two years, three years ago, I would be rolling my eyes so hard at myself right now. But here I am, spouting out pharses like “things that don’t empower me” and “I’m more patient” and “I have a stuffy nose.”
Time to finish this thing strong!