Week One: Presence
40 Days is off to a good start! Over the past week, I've practiced yoga on a nearly daily basis, I've meditated more than ever before, I've kept track of the foods I eat, and I've done a lot of thinking and self-reflecting. So far, the program is just one small component of my day-to-day life; this week's commitment entails only 20 minutes of yoga practice a day, and 10 total minutes of meditation a day. So far, it's been easy to fit the two in, but it's only going to get harder as the weeks go on and we are asked to devote longer periods of time to yoga and meditation.
For a more detailed breakdown of what I've been up to, keep reading.
WEEK ONE COMMITMENT: 20 MINUTES ONCE A DAY, 6X/WEEK
Practicing yoga on a daily basis has already been transformative for me. I'm more flexible, classes are getting easier, and I'm starting to feel more confident in my practice. I didn't end up practicing on day, but thankfully there's a one rest day/week cushion!
BEST PRACTICE EVER
Easter fell smack dab in the middle of Week 1, but luckily Up Yoga kept its regular class schedule. I wasn't sure I'd make it to a class, because I spent the day relaxing and enjoying time with my family, but I made it back to Minneapolis in time to attend Ease Up and it was one of the best practices I've ever had. I felt completely in control of my body, and for the first time, I really understood flow.
RESTORATIVE HALF PIGEON
I've always enjoyed half pigeon, but struggled a bit trying to figure out what to do with my arms and shoulders in order to keep my chest open. I worked with both Lindsay and Colin at Up to figure out how I can modify the pose and use props to my advantage. Sure enough, their tips were extremely helpful and now I feel like I'm actually getting what I'm supposed to out of this hip opener.
FIRST WHEEL (!!!)
In all my time doing yoga, I've never tried to do a wheel. I just assumed I couldn't, because it can be a tough pose. On Monday, I attended a Power Up class where we were asked to do wheel a number of times. I was just doing bridge, until the teacher, Colin, said something along the lines of, "How many are we gonna do? I don't know, maybe that depends on whether everyone tries wheel." Obviously, I had to try.
And then I did it. And then I did three more. And I'm still proud of myself.
WEEK ONE COMMITMENT: 5 MINUTES TWICE A DAY
DAY ONE | Right off the bat, my mind was racing. It was difficult for me to relax amidst the thoughts I was having about all the things I "needed" to get done that day. Luckily, the little voice on my Headspace app told me this is perfectly normal.
DAY TWO | It's getting easier. I'm recognizing how calm I feel after just a few minutes of meditation, which makes me want to keep it up.
DAY THREE | I take it back—it got hard again. At this point, I've been meditating for three days, and my thoughts continue to wander aimlessly. I'm looking forward to meditating for longer periods of time so I can practice the power of staying put and powering through.
DAY SIX | I didn't meditate on day six and I immediately came down on myself, beating myself up for not being able to stick to the program for even one week. In reality, it's OK I missed a day. It's life. It happens.
WEEK ONE COMMITMENT: keep track of what YOU CONSUME
The food portion of this program is not about dieting and restricting; rather, we are simply asked to keep track of what we consume, so we can pay attention to how certain foods affect our body, mind, and yoga practice. This is the part I was most nervous about before signing up for 40 Days, because my eating habits are not always the healthiest, and sharing what I eat with others in my small group sounded terrifying.
Throughout the first half of the week, I found myself eating less than usual throughout the day, and opting for snacks higher in protein to keep me full longer. Post-Easter, however, my sweet tooth kicked back in and I found myself indulging in Reese's egg after Reese's egg. I have quickly picked up on how my food intake affects my yoga practice, which makes me want to continue eating healthy, well-rounded foods so I can stay in peak performance mode during a power up practice (I had to throw that alliteration in there.)
JUST KEEP GOING
Sometimes when I go to the studio and look around at the yogis practicing along with me, I begin to feel self-conscious. I think, "I'm never going to be that thin/fit/strong/good at yoga." But recently, I've been working to remind myself I can be thin/fit/strong/good at yoga/whatever the hell else I want to be—I just have to do the work. It's easy to look at others and be envious of their practice, but I remind myself everyone starts somewhere. And already, after practicing for such a short amount of time, I see my body changing, I feel more powerful, and I feel more at peace. Now I can't help but think, "If I'm already seeing progress like this early on, imagine what I'm capable of if I JUST KEEP GOING."
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF UP YOGA