35 Days of Yoga

17 Dec

My hope for 35 days of yoga was to markedly improve. I had imagined a supported headstand, heels reaching the floor in downward dog, maybe even a block-less ardha chandrasana. I didn’t get those things. But I did get some unexpected lessons.

Lesson #1: I am not as patient as I think I am

In Oakland, after a few months of going to yoga once or twice a week, I was improving but still at beginner level. I know you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others, but I would look longingly at my classmates’ full wheels and handstands while I settled for a mediocre bridge pose or shoulder stand. I asked one how long she had been doing yoga: “About a year, but I used to be a dancer.” As someone who can’t make it through a Zumba class, I immediately absolved myself of any self-loathing around my practice. But I also told myself I could never get there since I didn’t have years of dance training, so I kind of stopped trying.

Fast forward to living in Orange County. I spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook and watched an inspirational, tear-inducing video of a man who was told he could never walk again, but through yoga and pure grit, he can run just 8 months later. So now I feel like a tool for having stopped trying.

So I’m doing yoga daily. I’ve never done any exercise daily. I think this will undoubtedly help me improve leaps and bounds. But, not having practiced yoga for a year and a half, my body takes the first 3 weeks to merely remember what I used to do. All the details about positioning. Keeping my back straight. Getting my wrists used to vinyasa. Breathing. The fourth week, I’m barely scratching the surface on some of the poses I used to do. By the fifth and final week, I’m wrapping up and thinking about my next 35 days.

The truth sinks in that I’ve spent the last 35 days just getting used to yoga again and that if I want to improve, I can’t quit now. This truth irritates me. I can’t believe I spent 35 days straight getting nowhere. And then another voice says, “35 days? Girl, please. That’s nothing.” So I recalibrate and remind myself to feel proud of my accomplishment and not set up unrealistic expectations. Breathe.

Lesson #2: Do not be quick to judge

In anticipation of this 35 days, I saw a Groupon for YogaWorks and thought, eh, why not. It’s one of the few places within walking distance with late evening classes. I tried 4 different classes with 4 different teachers and disliked them all. I moaned and groaned all week about how I would never find a class like the one I loved in Oakland. On my fifth try, I found one that I really liked. Not as good as in Oakland but still pretty great.

Then I started whining about him only teaching two days a week, thinking, “man, if I could go to his class every day, I would make amazing progress!” Then I remember that I don’t actually want to spend a sweat-soaked 90 minutes every day turning my muscles to jelly.

Lesson #3: It’s hard to do things you aren’t focused on

I haven’t blogged much since I started these “35 day” things. You’d think it wouldn’t be difficult to write a few hundred words and practice 30 minutes of daily yoga in the same week. I enjoy it, so I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to keep it up even though I’m distracted by this other activity. Wrong. Blogging isn’t hard, it’s just that I haven’t been focused on it. And not being focused means that it didn’t happen. Intentionality is real.

Lesson #4: What you think you need to learn is not actually what you need to learn

I was focused on improving my yoga practice, only to realize that I needed to learn to be patient and open-minded. Darn you, yoga, knowing what’s good for me.

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One Response to “35 Days of Yoga”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 35 Días de Español | oakland 2 oc - April 10, 2013

    […] para aprender y mejorar mi español. Igualmente sucedió al intentar practicar y aprender más de Yoga por 35 días. Yo supe desde el comienzo que mis expectativas siempre fueron muy altas y que no podría […]

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