The Living Yoga Sadhana (Or, THE EXTREME 30-DAY YOGA CHALLENGE!!!)

As part of my yoga teacher training, I’ve just started 30 days of daily practice. We’re instructed to take note of each day’s practice and any thoughts, emotions or other revelations that may come up during this process. So, for the next 27 days (I’m already on Day 3), I’m doing a little multi-tasking, showing a little love to my neglected blog and journaling my daily practice.

So first:

A Quick Recap of Days 1-3

My first day was a bit of a disaster. I’d drawn up this sort of vague plan for some creative adventure in which I would throw caution to the wind, practice wherever and whenever the universe permitted, allow my imagination and intuition to guide my movement, and maybe even cultivate some mad playlists along the way.

That was my first mistake.

Did I practice? Yes. Was it scattered, unintentional and all over the place not-in-a-good-way? You bet.

But all was not lost. Because it was during that first practice that it became overwhelmingly clear to me, that the last thing I needed in my life was more creativity. Do I wish I had more time for creative projects? Of course. But when that time comes, it’s not like I ever have trouble drawing up my imagination. When called upon, my creative juices make Niagara Falls look like a leaky faucet.

What this girl does need, most apparently, is stability. Structure. Grounding.

You’re looking at someone who hasn’t lived in the same place for more than two years at a time since she graduated from college. She hasn’t stayed in one job for longer than a year. She waits tables, does a little of this and that on the side and her boyfriend is looking at PhD programs, so  even that moderate stability has an expiration date.

How in god’s name does someone like this, like me, find solid ground?

She creates it. On the mat. For thirty straight days. (Well, 29 if you subtract my first attempt)

With this new mindset, Day 2 felt infinitely different. I created a space in the office that would be all mine for the next month. It’s got one giant window so that I can still commune with nature without actually dragging my practice out into the woods or the beach or somewhere else beautiful and distracting to my airy nature. I opened that window yesterday and, in lieu of my typical soundtrack of drum-heavy alt rock, I let the birds, the passing cars, and the brand spanking new rustling leaves be my guide. I grabbed the sequence I’d just created for class and followed its structure step-by-step, allowing for only a few minor embellishments: an extra few breaths in downdog here, a pulse vinyasa or two there…

And it. was. MARVELOUS!

Lesson learned: I, like a three-year-old, am very much in need of structure, boundaries and stability because it is not in my nature.

Tonight’s practice, although a bit shorter and much more lunar in nature, was also a surprise. I gave myself some simple guidelines: 1) Keep it close to the mat – no standing asanas, and 2) Move as slowly as you possibly can. I decided on this practice after a long, busy night at the restaurant yesterday. While my sense of urgency at work typically serves me well, I find that during hectic moments, what I need the most is to slow myself down. At some point, I start acting so quickly that there literally isn’t time to properly think out my actions, and that’s when things start getting dicey. My hope tonight, then, was to start instilling this idea of slowing down in my body, in my muscle memory, in my mental memory, in my subtly body memory.

There is most definitely a zen to the art of table waiting; any experienced server can relate to the idea of “flow,” can tell you that there are moments on a busy night when they hit their flow, and others when it’s jacked beyond belief. But they all know it exists. As it does in any career, really. As it does in every aspect of life on this planet. At any rate, I’m very curious to see how my work on the mat translates into my work in the restaurant.

And there you have it. Thus went my first three days… let’s see where the rest of this month takes us.


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