I got off work at 5:40, walked briskly through the rain to the Metro station, and caught the first train to Rockville. I thought I had plenty of time to make it home in time for yoga class at 7:30. At the next station, we were ordered off the train (no explanation that I could hear). I had to wait as two packed trains passed before finding one that had enough room for me to slip in. I arrived in Rockville too late to make yoga class at 7:30. So that ends my streak at five classes in a row.
I’ve been trying to change my body clock: in the past, if I didn’t get work early, it was hard for me to leave the office at 5:30. I tended to linger longer finishing off one more task, sending another e-mail. That made it really hard to arrive at 7:30 classes, especially if there was trouble on the Metro. In order to hit my goals for the 40-day yoga challenge, I have to give my work a full eight hours, but starting at 9:00 or earlier, so that I have no excuses for stalling.
In order to do the 9-to-5:30 cycle, there are other modifications that have to happen. I need to wake up at 6:30 am, which in turn means that I have to start my bed time routine early so that I can get my minimum seven hours of sleep.The routine includes some restorative yoga, stretching routines for my neuropathy and meditation. Having suffered through an extended period of insomnia and sleep deprivation, I have come to appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep.
After a work day full of bad vibes and negative loops, I was looking forward to yoga class as the standard hatha yoga class that would allow me to chill in my comfort zone.
But tonight, the scheduled teacher (Marylou McNamara) was absent so Karen Barlove took over. Karen is an experienced teacher who’s been at Thrive Yoga since the opening week. She led us through a habit-breaking hatha class and I was not chillin’. In fact, I was working up a sweat as we went through some slow-motion sun salutations. Warrior II was a deep step forward. Luckily, there was plenty of time at the end of class for restorative poses. I came out of the class having purged the emotional toxins accumulated during the day.
Fifth day in a row of yoga class and keeping on pace with my 40-day yoga challenge.
The following conclusion should not come as a surprise to anyone who has taken fitness, well-being and the mind-body connection seriously: since stepping up the frequency of taking yoga classes and going to the gym after Christmas, I’ve noted a sharp improvement in my mood, attitude, energy and stamina. Vinyasa classes still tax my reserves of strength and breath, but I can now manage to get through them without falling to my knees (I will occasionally come out of a challenging pose early).
Since the start of the 40 days of yoga at Thrive Yoga on Friday, I’ve made it to four classes in a row. My muscles are still sore afterwards, but I recover quickly enough that I am not talking myself out of going to class the next day (I may not take in the 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise at the gym as I’ve promised myself). There are about 14 participants of all levels taking part in the 40-day program, but we don’t necessarily all go to the same classes. Tonight, I was the only 40-dayer in the vinyasa flow class.
I look at the whole 40-day challenge as a way of bringing closure to all the misfortunes and milestones of the past year, since my parents’ deaths, purging the toxins, healing myself and acquiring new physical and emotional vigor. Throughout this period, I’ve never “given up my yoga practice,” just cut back to a kind of maintenance plan, emphasizing restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation, but there came a point when I was running on fumes. Once I re-dedicated myself and stepped up my practice in frequency and intensity, a different set of benefits seemed to click on.
I had planned to fit in more yoga and aerobic exercise today before starting my 40-day program tomorrow. But getting lost in Northern Virginia while running an errand in the morning, taking my wife to a lunch on the town and welcoming a rare visit from my son came between me and over-reaching intentions. I needed the rest anyways. Besides, I still fit in pranayama, meditation, and restorative yoga before the day was over.
WordPress (or the theme or a plug-in) has the annoying habit of inserting hyperlink formatting in a first paragraph if it contains a link, from the link to the start of the paragraph. But it does not function as a hyperlink. This has forced me to avoid putting in links in the first paragraph or do a kind of dummy paragraph (as above) to prevent the bug from happening.
Since Saturday, I’ve been able to carve out time to go to a daily yoga class, and also put in time at the gym to build up my aerobic capacity. It’s amazing how a dedicated exercise regime can improve my outlook on life.
Whenever I can string together three or four classes in a row, the cumulative effect is extraordinary, making the next class feel a little better than the previous one. Today, it was a Hatha Yoga class with Marylou McNamara at Thrive Yoga: it was less intense than the first three vinyasa classes and allowed me to settle into the poses and work on alignment. It also helped that my daughter, Stephanie, was on the mat next to me, just like in the old days.
I’ve signed up for the 40 days of yoga and wellness at Thrive, starting on January 6, the first time that I’ve undertake the challenge of sustaining a rigorous program of six yoga sessions a week (a minimum of three formal classes, the rest can be at home), plus meditation and other activities. It’s based on Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soulso I will have one and a half months to concentrate on my yoga practice. Thrive Yoga has offered this program once a year for the past four or five years, so it has become a kind of rite of passage at the studio.