|Who I want to be when I grow up. via FFFFOUND!|
The program of 40 consecutive days of yoga, meditation, dietary changes, and calm focusing is based on noted yogi Baron Baptiste's book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul.
Big promises for a program of just over a month, but my long-time yoga teacher, in whom I have great trust, promises that it is "ahhhh...mayyyyzzzing!"
Having felt a bit like a hamster on a treadmill for the past few years - unsteadily balancing grad school, fieldwork, personal life, work, learning to be a wife - it felt like time to reclaim a bit of spaciousness and sanity in my life. And fitness. I spent a month over the holidays doing nothing but eating delicious foods (probably as a come down from the hectic pace that preceded the holidays), and a month after the holiday fighting off a vicious cold (ditto). Time to ratchet back a bit and take stock of the moment.
There wasn't much active, hatha yoga in the two hour orientation today, though we were all prepared with our stretchy pants and yoga mats. Instead, the teachers invoked the Four Directions to watch over us and purify our practice during this program. I often feel a little itchy when well-meaning white people employ Native American practices, and today was no exception. The invocation seemed to be be half prayer, half instructions to the students. I would have preferred them separately. Also, I'm unclear on the connection between an ancient eastern Indian practice, and the Native American tradition.... is there really a match? Had we started off chanting in Sanskrit, I would have been more at ease. However, I'm trying to calm my judgmental, hyper-analytical mind, and what better time to begin than the beginning of the first class? Judgment noted and set aside.
The teachers gave some instructions on food choices, and noting our mood and energy level when we eat. I think that will be helpful. Even more, I need to note what I'm doing when I don't eat. During the week, I often get so caught up in meeting a deadline that I forget to eat, ending up grumpy and lightheaded hours later. I'm not really sure why this happens, and I know my days would be more pleasant if I ate healthy meals on a regular basis. This is a good reminder to pay attention to that.
Finally, we were released from our cross legged positions for a few Sun Salutations. I was ready to move, it felt good to stretch. But after only two Sun Salutations, we sat down again to proceed with introductions, facilitated by a Native American (again??) "talking stick." Yes, it helps group process to have an item for people to hold as they speak, but this east-west mashup is bugging me. Several people shared trying personal circumstances that had brought them to the class. Tears flowed. People shared their goals and desires for the class - for me, a greater sense of spaciousness and ease in my life, and a deepening of my yoga practice. Two people had been signed up by others - a husband and father, respectively - and the lone man in the class was there because his wife was also there. So many different motivations brought people to this program, and now we set out on a journey together.
I think the biggest challenge will be simply getting to yoga class six times a week. Usually, I go once or twice a week, and practice a few days on my own. Now I need to carve out time to get across town every day, and to meditate for five minutes each morning and evening. I'll try to write about it each day, and share my progress.