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, her 10-day recap here, and her 20-day recap here. — Erin
It’s all over. And am I bigger, faster, stronger? Zen-like and unflappable? Hardly. But I think I am a little bit fuller. On the mat, my core is a bit stronger, I’m paying more attention to my back body, staying a bit lighter. Off the mat, I feel a bit more in touch with my practice and with my fellow yogis (notably Erin, our kula of two, with special guest appearances by Jill). But that fullness is also a sort of quiet confidence, a satisfaction. I did it, and I could, and would, do it again.
Though looking back it feels very ordinary, with no glamorous breakthroughs or sudden enlightenments, I realize I have learned some things. I’ve learned that exercise CAN be a part of your life every day and, usually, a good part. But I’ve also learned the value of rest, and of resting when you need it. I discovered the necessity of pacing, of balancing heated and unheated classes, challenging and restorative ones. I picked up a few tips that may change my practice too (maybe even get me up into my fantasy handstand). And off the mat, I’ve made a few changes. Thanks to reading The Happiness Project, I think about attitude more, and about how things that make you happy take effort (this whole yoga project is just a perfect example). Also thanks to THP, I’ve kept clothes off the floor of my bedroom for over 30 days now (a tougher challenge than the yoga in some respects). We know that lasting change is slow and steady, and that’s what this challenge offered, and hopefully my practice will continue to offer.
Highlight: Our final hour flow class with Jen Slade. It was open house day at Kula, and the room was packed with new people: people who weren’t so serious, who chattered, who were excited. (Yogis, for all our good qualities, are sometimes a little too serious.) Jen was even more energetic than usual (which is saying something), and brought out some partner poses and got us off our mats. And though normally my BF provides the music, today Jen had a guy playing pots like crystal bowls. He even broke out a pan flute sometimes that made me giggle. There was a moment, during savasana, with those pots singing at just the right pitch, that I just soared, felt large, all-encompassing like something in a Walt Whitman poem. Lying there with Jill and Erin and all these strangers, I thought, “We did it.” I was aglow.
Lowlight/Challenge: Total embarrassment when I accidentally crashed the Power 8 savasana, thinking it was the beginning of the class and not the end. No doubt everyone thought I was crazy. And then, as punishment for letting my blondness take over, I had to do hot core instead. Which was the second time that week, and this class was definitely the less enjoyable of the two.
So where do we go from here? Me, probably back to my 4x a week schedule, although I’m definitely open to 5, or even six. And I’d definitely be game for another 30-day challenge in the future. It’s a nice thing to do with the change of seasons, preparing for summer, celebrating the long daylight hours and the warmth that lets you leave the studio without layers. We might just have the makings of an annual tradition.
My goal for this project was above all to be grateful. And maybe I wasn’t grateful for each chaturanga pushup (or any of them, really), or for each and every practice. But I am grateful that my body could handle it, for the opportunity to do it, for my wonderful studio, for a partner to do it with, and that I did it at all.