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.
New York TimesYoga Is More Than Just Showing Up, but That Does Help. This article is about the approach of some yoga studios having challenges for their clients, like 21 or 30 consecutive days of classes. It’s not clear whether the author’s concern is the business practice (can the studio pick up new students or make a profit with this marketing technique?) or yoga practice (does a daily practice increase the benefits?). The reporter seems to be dumping multiple issues into a single article. Remember this article came in the Fashion & Style section of the Times.
As a way of creating loyal regulars out of monthly drop-ins, studio owners recently have pushed the self-serving idea that yoga is not to be done lightly, casually or sporadically. They have stopped short of telling erratic classgoers to give it up, but their message is loud and clear: committing to a regular practice is the only way to progress in life and on the mat.
At Thrive Yoga, another 40 Days to a Personal Revolution in the style of the Baron Baptiste school of power vinyasa yoga will be offered starting this month (September 24–November 2). This is a six week program in which you have three class sessions at the studio and the other three can be at home, plus daily meditation (two sessions each), journaling, nutrition and some group talk. This is the second time it’s being offered in Rockville. For me, it just comes at the wrong time, since I will be out of town twice during the period.
Flow Yoga frequently has 30-days challenges. Both of these studios do not pitch these packages to newcomers. They are meant for studio regulars who want to push their practice up a level or two.
For the sake of a personal practice, it’s far more important to have a home practice because it requires far more discipline and dedication. Of course, taking in a class or two a week is better than nothing, but it’s going to be hard to make progress. There is also the issue whether just yoga is enough to keep you physically fit (cardio and strength).
My daughter is doing the “30-Class Challenge” at Flow Yoga in April and Thrive Yoga is going to have a “40-Days to Personal Revolution” following the Baron Baptiste regime, starting on April 30. I don’t know if I can fit the time requirements for this type of physical challenge into my routine, but I am willing to turn it around, and put my own challenge on the Web: I will blog my yoga-meditation experience for 30 days in a row, starting as of April 6 since I already have four days when I’ve written something. As with the yoga challenges, you are allowed to double (or triple) up sessions to make up for a missed day or two so I could technically go back to April 3 if I write two entries in a day with just an extra blog entry.
Why am I resorting to this gimmick? I’ve slacked off my writing (both online and on the page) over the past year because I lost my drive to expose my practice. My practice had become more internal and needed some silence time so that it could mature and deepen. Now I feel that the time has come to re-encounter my yogic expression in words. Hopefully, I will not have many days like yesterday when I try to describe yoga poses and human anatomical mechanics as they apply to me. I just wanted to put up a picture and save a lot of words. More important is what goes on in my head and heart.