I had a bad winter. And during this bad winter, instead of doing all the things I should have done, like exercise, journal, and socialize, I isolated myself and stayed almost completely sedentary (except for going to class and work) while I binge-watched a very unhealthy amount of tv and procrastinated/stressed about my school work. It was a really bad time. By mid-February I was in desperate need of a remedy, and my first line of defence was counselling and a dose of B12 every morning (which made a considerable and noticeable difference! As a vegan, it was actually totally irresponsible for me to not have been taking it all along anyway). These things got me through the final weeks of winter without losing what was left of my mind, and I’ve made it to spring.
These days the sun is up long before I wake up at 7, birds are singing in all the trees and the sunlight calls me to get up. It only took a few weeks until I began to feel fully human again; like a functioning, worthwhile life form with some purpose and worth. Everything has been brighter, sweeter, better. Well…almost everything.
With the beautiful weather comes the shift in wardrobe to shorts and tank tops, as well as facing up to how a winter full of stress/depression-induced chip binging has changed the appearance of my thighs. Luckily, the bright mornings were not only helping me wake up, they were beckoning me outside, and so I took the opportunity to take a quick jog before the neighbourhood woke up. Since I used to run a little (never more then 10k), I recognized the beginner’s pain in my shins and lungs and felt assured that it would dissipate as I went on. But I couldn’t keep it up. With Mr. W at home for a couple of weeks with a busted up ankle, my 7am wake-ups have been pushed to 730, and now 8, and I just haven’t had the drive to get up.
Then early last week I got some sad news about someone I care very much about. Not having a direct line to connect with them during this time, I found myself distracted and very heavy-hearted. I couldn’t shake the images and possible outcomes from my mind on my own and I needed some way to find my centre. Enter Yoga-By-Donation at Studio 330. I went on Wednesday last week to a restorative class – a slow moving, gentle practice with lots of hands-on love from the teacher and her helper. By the end of the class I found myself frustrated with my failure to clear my mind, if only for that 75 minutes, and I wondered if it had to do with the low impact of the practice versus the deep impact of the news. So I went again on Thursday for a Hatha class, something a little more demanding of me and commanding of my focus. This worked a little bit, as I didn’t realize until I was in savasana at the end of the practice that I had managed to focus on just that. On Friday the studio didn’t hold any classes for my level (only power classes), so I went to Hatha again on Saturday. I felt great afterwards, and while I had still been (and still am) thinking very much about the news I had received (and waiting for more everyday), I found all of my thoughts about it shifting to a lighter, much more positive space (something I believe is not only beneficial for me, but beneficial for this person as well…you can’t send good vibrations if you’re not having any). Additionally, my perception of my body and my thighs has been slightly altered, to the point where I bought a pair of shorts today instead of becoming upset with my mirror image and leaving the store empty handed – a major positive development. (Obviously the appearance of my legs hasn’t changed one bit in a week, but my mind has changed a bit and it is making all the difference. Looking at my legs and disliking their appearance didn’t override looking at my legs and appreciating what they can do).
But of course, even yoga-by-donation costs money and it wasn’t realistic to try to go every day, and so I spent some time yesterday reading about yoga sequencing and building a home practice. By the end of the day I found Yoga With Adriene and her 30 Days of Yoga challenge.
This morning I did my first at-home practice outside in the sun on my back deck. (I found a clever way to get some privacy from my visible neighbour by hanging a sheet on my clothesline!). It was lovely. My savasana was under the bluest sky, perfectly spotted with small fluffy white clouds, and the sun herself was actually present for my Sun Salutations. It was hot, bright, breezy, perfect. (Note to self: pick up sun screen).
Tomorrow will be my official Day 1 of my 30 days and I will do it in the same place, only maybe a bit earlier, before the sun shines all of the shade away. I will try to write a short journal entry here for each day to record my experience.
To anyone reading who has any interest in trying yoga and a little bit of time each day, I ask you to consider joining me! Just go to YogaWithAdriene.com and sign up! If you think this is something you want to try, I’d suggest a couple of things:
- Don’t actually sign up on the website until tomorrow (if you wish to start tomorrow). Adriene sends each video daily for your 30 days, and the first one comes the day you submit your email address. (I signed up this evening and so I will be one day behind each of her emails since I plan to start tomorrow morning – it’s not a problem, but just something to consider).
- The day (or evening, as in this evening) before you start, arrange a place where you can do your practice. For a good home practice it is often suggested that you set up your mat (or towel or blanket, whatever you have) in one place and keep it set up so it is easier to just go and get to it. Sometimes just knowing you have to roll out your mat and clear a space might be a deterrent depending on the day. However, if you don’t have enough room for a semi-permanent space, perhaps you can pre-arrange things so they are easy to set up each day for your practice. For myself, I will have to wake up, pick up my mac, my mat and a blanket and set up on the deck. If it’s raining, I’ll have to slide the dining table to the corner and set up right there.
I hope some of you will consider joining me and sharing in this experience for the next 30 days. If you do, please let me know and share your experience with me!