Jen, aka JK, is often my partner in crime in book-related and fitness-related things . I’m really excited she’s decided to tackle this 30-day challenge with me and even more excited she wants to share this journey with all of you! Jen will be sharing updates about the challenge throughout the 30 days, so follow along! You can read her first post here. — Erin
This week was all about breath — paying more attention to it, cultivating more fullness. And that’s sort of worked, I still end up biting my lip off in some poses, my mind still wanders to dinner plans. But that’s okay. It’s still a work in progress. For the next 10 days I’m going to stay with that breath focus, but add length and fullness, in hopes that’ll give me more space in my poses.
After 10 days, I’m actually feeling pretty good. There was a low point of exhaustion from too many early mornings (I did 3 6:30 a.m. classes in 4 days) and not enough sleep, but I had a turning point in a glorious Power 8 class with Christi-an, and I think both Erin and I left feeling back on track.
I’m also pleased to have been able to keep up my other exercise, which has only been one run and one weights class, but when you’re already doing yoga every day, that’s an extra challenge, especially when it comes to finding the time. But so far this past week, doable.
The last 10 days in review:
Highlight: Going to an Aaron Slade hot hour class right after Body Pump class, and despite some quivering of muscles, leaving feeling so spacious and free (anyone who does weight training classes will realize how this seems like a total impossibility). Runner up: Holding a handstand with no wall and no help. (I still needed help getting up, but I’m working on it.)
Lowlight: Erin wrote about it: Wednesday morning Namaskar B extravaganza with Marinella. So many poses I dislike, so many times, so early. Another lowpoint came the next morning: I started comparing myself to the person next to me, and I wasn’t stacking up. So then I got a bit upset. And then of course, I got upset that I got upset, because yoga is supposed to be anti-competitive. But somehow I managed to leave it behind and finish the practice. And that’s the thing about even these low points: by the end you’re okay, even a little happy you went through it.
I’ve been trying to extend my practice off the mat for this challenge, and one of the tools I decided to use was Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Now I’m as skeptical of self-helpy books as the next person, but this one intrigued me: a classic overachiever decides she’s pretty happy, but wonders how she could be happier. So she makes resolutions each month targeting various areas of her life: from clutter and organization to parenting to friendship, and then analyzes the effect. The end result is interesting: she is happier, but it takes a lot of work. When you consider that the things in life that give us the most satisfaction are often the hardest, the ones that take the most dedication, it makes sense. But Rubin also posits that “it isn’t goal attainment, but the process of striving after goals — that is, growth — that brings us happiness.” It’s the Christmas morning effect: the anticipation of Christmas, the work, the preparation, is often more exciting than the morning itself. And that may be the case with this 30-day challenge. I like the sense of purpose it gives me; I like that Erin and I are in it together; I like the feeling of progress and achievement that are now a part of every day. When the project is over, I’ll have done it, and that’ll be a good feeling. But even with the hard mornings, even with the emotional on-mat mini-crises, it could be that the process of doing it will be a better feeling.
The video below has nothing to do with yoga, but JK and I made it, so obviously it’s worth watching. You can see more of our Books in 140 Seconds vids over a KIRBC. — Erin.