Nine Year Yoga-versary!

I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga for a while now. I say “for a while now” a lot because until yesterday, I couldn’t remember exactly when I started. I had a vague idea, but it was driving me crazy not to know. Finally, I decided to e-mail the studio where I first started taking class to see if they still had me in the system. I asked if they could tell me the date of my first class.

I got an e-mail back from them yesterday, and yes! They did still have me in the system, and yes! They had the date of my first class!

It was…*drumroll please*…May 22nd, 2002!

That means yesterday was my NINE YEAR anniversary of practicing Bikram yoga!

I felt like I should do something to celebrate. I went to class yesterday, and I informed them of my exciting discovery. But it feels like that’s not enough. I feel like this entire year should be one big celebration, as it is the beginning of my tenth year of practice. So I’m thinking of making posts over the course of the year talking about each posture and what I’ve learned from them, as well as general reflections like I’ve been doing from time to time.

I also feel like I should set a goal. I want to be a Bikram teacher. I know that, I’ve known that since I started doing the yoga, but in one more year I’ll have been practicing for a decade, and I feel like I should be a teacher by then. My goal is to get to teacher training by this time next year.

It’s kind of a big deal for me, knowing for certain now that I’ve been involved with yoga for nine years. Knowing the date is intriguing, too. I graduated from high school on May 19th, 2002, which means that three days after I walked the stage, I decided to give in to my mother’s request for me to walk into the hot room. I honestly couldn’t remember if I’d started going before or after high school ended. It’s oddly meaningful to me to learn that it was just after the end. The beginning of a new era. I know when I first went to class, I expected to hate it. I literally had the expectation that it would be awful beyond all reason and I would walk out in a huff. I was pretty surprised when it was not as terrible as I thought it would be, when the heat was bearable, when I could do more than I thought I’d be able to.

And now here I am, nine years later, Bikram yoga still a major part of my life. I know this is something that will be a part of my life forever, because every time I’m away from it, my mind is working out a way to get back. Every time I need it, it’s there. I’ve learned so much about myself in that room, and I’m not anywhere near done. Here’s to an incredible upcoming tenth year, and another life-changing ten years after that!

Sometimes You’ll Have Off Days…That’s Okay.

It’s a new year, and everyone’s making (or possibly already breaking) resolutions to improve their lives, become better people, really make a lasting change this time. The full-speed-ahead attitude that comes with a new year’s resolution is great, but we all know that feeling wears off and you are soon left to face the music: Making a change, especially a lasting change, is really hard.

I never bothered with New Year’s resolutions, even as a kid (I think even then they felt sort of phony), but I have made several attempts at sweeping life change. Sometimes they take, sometimes they don’t. But here are a couple of things to keep in mind while you work through your goals, no matter what they may be; to lose weight, to quit smoking, to travel more, to get a new job, anything.

1) Change takes time.
Real, lasting change does not happen over night. You’re breaking through years of bad habits and ingrained thought patterns, so creating new ones will take persistence. Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect rock solid abs by January 7th. Allow yourself the time to let the change happen.

2) Off days happen. It’s okay.
Some days you’ll get up and start in on your exercise routine or sit down at your keyboard to write your daily word goal and you just won’t feel it. You’ll plod through your routine thinking things like, “This will never work,” “I’m a hack,” “I don’t know why I decided to do this in the first place,” “I want to go back to bed,” etc. Give yourself permission to have days like this. Not every day is going to be fantastic, but bumping up against this sort of thing is what causes a lot of people to fail. They convince themselves during those off days that they really ARE a hack, or this really WILL never work.

It’s not true. When you’re working toward a positive change, the brain will try all sorts of tricky tactics to keep control over the sameness and comfort it is used to. Work through it. Get up tomorrow and try again. Whatever you do, don’t dwell on your off day. Accept it for what it was (a natural part of the process), and move on. Besides, the off days are what make the really GOOD days seem even sweeter!

Happy 2011!