Today marks 28 days into my personal 40 Days of Yoga challenge and things are going well. Most days I try to get anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes of practice in at home, either as self guided practice (that means making it up as I go) or a class from yogadownload.com. I’ve been getting to the studio once or twice a week for a 75 minute class, and then other days, like last Friday, it was a couple downward dogs and forward bends in my pajamas right before bed because the entire day slipped away before I had a chance to roll out my mat.
(This is another painting from Rochester Wall Therapy. Bare feet felt applicable in a post about yoga.)
Making 40 Days of Yoga Happen
I’ve written about my love for yogadownload before, but I’m really loving this site right now because it’s coming in quite handy with the time constraints of taking care of three kids, homeschooling and running a household. I bought a three month membership so I could have unlimited access to their huge library of classes and love that I can pick a class based on time, area of the body or level of intensity – it works out well when I don’t have the time to get out for a real class but don’t want to just guide myself through a practice either. If you’ve never checked out yogadownload, I highly recommend it for both the new and seasoned yogis. They have tons of free 20 minute classes for you to try without ever having to buy or commit to anything. Additionally, the classes from yogadownload gave me a chance to see what a real yoga class was like before I ever stepped foot into a real life yoga class, so I had a general idea of what to expect and didn’t feel like a complete noob when I walked through the door for the first time.
(Being a complete noob is totally fine though! But if you’d like to try a yoga class and your inexperience is leaving you feeling intimidated and therefore keeping you from moving forward, try the free classes from yogadownload to find your groove in the privacy of your own home first! Or any online yoga class, I’m sure there are lots of other sites that offer a service like this too.)
28 Days In
After four weeks of doing yoga every single day, I am absolutely noticing an incredible difference in my practice. I feel looser and stronger, there’s less “backsliding” between classes even with just 5 minutes a day if that’s all I have time for. In class last night I went deeper into a seated forward bend than I ever have before and it left me thinking Are these really MY hamstrings? I think I picked up someone else’s loose hamstrings by mistake!
My motivation to behind doing yoga for 40 days straight is simple at the surface: I want to get better at it. And like Malcolm Gladwell demonstrates in the book Outliers, it takes a lot of time (like 10,000 hours) to get really good at something. Given there are only 168 hours in a week and I need time to eat, sleep and shop for groceries, there’s no time like the present to continue chipping away at my 10,000 hours.
The Path to Yoga Teacher Training
What lies beneath though is that I don’t just want to get better at yoga, I’m feeling a strong urge to further deepen my practice. One way that I’m satisfying that urge is with yoga teacher training that began last weekend. It took me a long time to feel like I was ready for immersion and teacher training (it’s 9 months of intense yoga study and practice!) but I’ve come to see that this is the right path for me. Sometimes I have a hard time imagining teaching a class, especially to advanced or even intermediate yogis – and then other times I can easily see myself teaching to newcomers or perhaps even prenatal yoga because I believe my own prenatal yoga practice played an important role with my successful VBAC with Kaz. Honestly though, my primary motivation is not to take on some new career, but to learn more about myself, more about yoga and to feel my way around the spiritual and philosophical framework that yoga provides.
So for the next 9 months, I’ll be immersing myself in yoga with training, reading and practice, practice and more practice. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I never felt “ready”. When the opportunity presented itself, it felt very serendipitous – the timing was perfect, the tuition fit our budget and class schedule is very workable with our schedule. (It gets a little intense toward the end, but we’ll make it work!)
And so that’s that! I’m doing my best to play it cool, but really I’m embarrassingly excited and exceedingly grateful about the whole thing.
What’s Jealousy Got to Do With It?
Whenever you notice a feeling of jealousy, look at it like a road sign that is pointing you toward something that you want. How many times have you asked yourself or been asked by someone else, “what do you want?” and your answer has been a frustrated or annoyed “I don’t know!?” If that’s you, stay on the look out for feelings of jealousy. Recognize jealousy as a road sign that is directing you somewhere. Notice and then take action as you’re ready and able!
A recent example from my own life came this spring, sitting in the waiting area of a local gymnastics academy, talking with a good friend while our kids were in class. As a part of our conversation she mentioned she was working on setting up some yoga classes as a part of her yoga teacher training, and my mouth fell open. I immediately felt jealous – I want to do yoga teacher training! How many times had I found myself in a yoga class wanting to know more? What are the teachers thinking when cueing this sequence of poses? What’s happening in this pose? Why are we doing it this way? Teacher training always felt like something that was beyond what I had the time for, and beyond that, I didn’t even know where to start. It felt like something I might do “some day”. Some day when I was a better yogi. Some day when I had more time. Some day when we had the money for it. Some magical, mystical day down the road when I felt “ready”.
In the days that followed that conversation with my friend, I realized that my twinge of jealousy meant that this was something I really wanted to do and was important to me. And then, just as I was starting to look into what “yoga teacher training” meant, my local yoga studio announced that they would be running their first ever teacher training this fall, and my mouth fell open again! That settled it. This is what I want, the timing is right (or close enough, at least!) I’m going for it.
Notice Jealousy But Reserve Judgement
If you catch yourself feeling jealous, don’t judge yourself or your feelings – jealousy is a perfectly normal human emotion. Notice your feelings and then try to figure out what those feelings are leading you toward. And know too that sometimes jealousy masquerades as something else. Resentment, anger, thinking mean thoughts, guilt – notice these emotions as well and realize that jealousy is what might be what is behind those feelings. Let them guide you toward what you really want and some changes you might need to make – even if that change is sloooooowwwwww or could mean a bunch of other changes that have to happen first before you get to the heart of what you really want and what you’re really after.
So go forth and feel jealous! Or something. I hope it leads you to the very best version of yourself.