Day 1 reflection:
My yoga teacher say for the next 87 days, we are to "eat, breath and puke yoga". Sounds enticing, no?
As I write this blog, I can barely keep my eyes open...my muscles ache...I feel slightly dehydrated...but this is also the best I have felt in months.
I am determined to write these blogs as often as possible, not just for myself (this is actually an amazing form of reflection and review of my studies), but also for those genuinely interested in this somewhat unknown side to yoga. Quite often someone will tell me, "I like yoga, it made me feel relaxed, but I can't see myself doing it everyday, I would get bored. I need a work out where I sweat"... I would like to say, if you haven't sweat in a yoga class (and I don't mean one singular sweat drop rolling down your face, I mean sweat that is falling down your arms so you can barely hold yourself up in an inversion) you're doing it wrong.
Or, you haven't found the right yoga instructor who is willing to push you outside of your comfort zone. To create that balance of hot and cold, yin and yang. The one reason you aren't willing to give up yet, despite every corner of your body telling you to quit. That one person who gets you out of your own head, to take you to a level you never thought you could reach.
I hope one day to be that person for others, like my yoga teachers before me.
Today was by far the most influential yoga "sessions" I have ever had (so far).
There are 9 of us yoga students all together. A unique mix of young and old, new to the practice and some veterans. I can already tell, the vibe between us all is going to be great. Throughout the first 5 hours of the program we have already had in depth logical discussions from how the yogi term "Shree" is equivalent to the term "swagger", to the processes of obtaining transcendence (because both are obviously very similar). And, I might add, we've already held our sweaty hands together so we wouldn't fall over from pure exhaustion (this was during hour two of our work out...in a 100+ degree heated room). Good times!
Our instructors Patience and Cody tell us that some days, we will need to have a buddy who will drag us into yoga class (I can only assume this thought of not wanting to show up will occur on Sundays, during our 5 hour lecture & 3+ hour yoga work out session days). Besides days when we have class, we are encouraged to practice Ashtanga Yoga 6 days out of the week, taking rest on Saturdays. I am intimidated by this thought, but also very excited to reap the benefits of such devoted practice (hellloooo swimsuit season!).
Some of the first material we covered were the 6 ways to reach Nirvana (enlightenment).
1. Mantra - This consists of sounds, chanting & prayer. A way to create a unique vibration in your body.
2. Raja - Meditation. Otherwise known as "the royal path".
3. Karma - The action of selfless service and good vibrations, in hopes that one day that positive ripple effect will find its way back to us or better yet, change the world.
4. Hatha - Breath, posture and the physical category to reach enlightenment.
5. Jnana - Knowledge and study (A+ to me on the studying end! Helllllo Nirvana ;) ).
6. Bhakti - Devotion. This one is a bit tricky to explain. But, as Patience says, this devotion is connected to something bigger then yourself, to breath and body, to another person...it can be that quality, love, or appreciation that you see in someone else; that makes you want to change yourself for the better.
Lastly, our first daily homework assignment for the 87 days are to follow these guidelines while eating at least once a day (all meals are encouraged, but I'll let you be the judge of how easy these will be to follow):
1. Pause before eating. Be aware, close your eyes, give thanks (this is the easy one).
2. Remain seated.
3. Two fistfuls of food or less on your plate at any one time. Finish eating your two handfuls of food, then wait 3-5 minutes before putting more food onto your plate.
4. No distractions (this is the killer for me personally). No music, no TV, no computer...basically no anything. Sit and observe yourself (no you can't even read signs on the wall).
5. No talking with food in your mouth (if you have to talk).
6. Chew mindfully, completely.
7. The fork, set it down between bites.
9. Leave 1/3rd of "the tank" empty, refrain from over stuffing yourself with food (good thing the holidays are over). Wait 2-6 hours between meals, to feel the sensation of hunger (this is my other downfall, I tend to just eat if I am bored).
All in all, I'd say day 1 was quite the success! Between the lovely new faces, comraderie, intense work out sessions, positive mantras, reading assignments and beneficial home work, I think I am on the right path to my own Nirvana :D
Goodnight world, for now I take my final Shavasana of the day (I am one tired Yogi).