I’ve been taking yoga classes sporadically for around ten years, but this year, I’ve decided to take it a little more seriously and practice regularly. I’ve done many things that I love only sporadically – writing, for one. Now I’d like to cultivate some discipline. I started with one week, going every day.
Day One: Forgot how tough hot yoga can be when out of practice/out of shape. Ouch.
Day Two: Did not magically improve overnight. Muscles are sore from yesterday and I had to sit out more than I ever had in class before. Only this time, didn’t feel like I was missing out on any postures, like I usually do – because I’m taking classes every day, if I miss one tree pose, I’ll make up for it next time. Recognized the vast room for improvement; very glad I am doing this.
Day Three: Took a “break” with a nice, relaxing Yin class (the instructor kept using the words ‘juicy’ and ‘delicious’; occurred to me that talking about yoga is a lot like talking about wine: i.e., gratuitous use of superfluous and downright absurd adjectives. See: Foxy – A pronounced flavor found in wines made from native American grapes; the same smell as in grape jelly. E.g., damn what a foxy wine this is.)
Day Four: Thought I was going to die/pass out/vomit everywhere. My heartbeat could have been a drum and bass set.
Day Five: Absolutely amazing. Understand what runners mean when they talk about a runner’s high.
Day Six: Realized something about myself. I used to say that I wasn’t competitive, because I don’t like sports or anything traditionally competitive. But that’s not true at all. In fact, I don’t participate in sports because I am competitive; I don’t like doing things I’m not good at.
Yoga is not supposed to be about competition. Certainly not compared to others, and not really against yourself, either. Yoga was originally created as a way to prepare for meditation – quieting the body down so that the mind may quiet, too. My first yoga teacher told us that yoga is about appreciating your body exactly as is, not pushing it or expecting/wanting it to be something else. Joyful self acceptance is the name of the game. Sure, improvement over time happens and while that’s great, it’s not the point. And yet, sometimes, I cannot help feeling the swell of pride, and little tinge of smugness when I get into a tough pose.
Day Seven: Still look like an electrocuted noodle when attempting the side plank pose.