Previously, I wrote about why I gave up cocktails, sleep, and laziness for 30 days for my Yoga Teacher Certification. Now, I share what these 30 days were really like for me, and my conclusions. In addition to giving up the juice, I spent these days…
- Waking up every day near 6:15am when I’d rather cuddle all morning.
- Practicing yoga every day for at least 20 minutes.
- Meditating every day for at least 20 minutes.
My overarching goal: renewed dedication to my health, wellness, and sanity for just 30 simple days. I actually enjoyed waking up early to practice yoga and meditate once I got used to it, the early morning summer sunrise was on my side. It is absolutely imperative to get to bed by 10pm if one wants to wake up at the butt crack of dawn. That is the secret key that those morning exercisers and parents everywhere have known all along. Once I realized that I am waking up to do something I love, it wasn’t so hard to drag myself out of bed. We wake up every day for work and doing other things that are required of us, why shouldn’t I wake up to do something that’s just for me? There is never going to be an easier moment than right now.
I dedicated myself to doing the yoga poses that I have an aversion to, that are the most painful and difficult for me, each and every day, with a bunch of blocks and props to help me survive them. They are king arthur’s pose, monkey pose, forearm balance, double pigeon, and frog. I usually do a little sun salutations to warm up, then fit those in somehow, and wowsers, they hurt so good. My body is feeling much more open to these postures now, but we are far from best friends at this point.
I did a lot of fire based yoga practices and I noticed that it often made me grumpy. A fire practice is a more energetic sequence of postures that ignite, sustain, and transform your energy. In other words, hurt-so-good kind of sweaty yoga with lots of yogi push-ups, strong standing poses, and core work. The fire absolutely demands your breathe and integrity in your body. They say that if you play with fire you’re gonna get burned, and burned I got. I was fatigued and overtired often after playing with the fire. Practicing yoga and participating in any challenging physical practice requires that we manage our energy with honesty and grace. It’s not about kicking your own ass or playing the panda bear and not challenging yourself at all, it’s about finding a middle ground.
Lack of sleep makes me crazy, no matter how healthy I am being otherwise! During my 30 days I attended a friends bachelorette party, a comical, wonderful little cultural ritual. I think I might use the excuse of being a yoga teacher in training more often. People totally accept it and want to talk about yoga when you say “Sorry, no drinks for me, I’m in a personal sadhana.” I played the roll of designated driver during a celebratory evening of dinner, watching the roller derby, and night life. I was exhausted by the time I got to bed at 2:30am and driving people all over the Bay Area of CA. After being awoken by a forgotten alarm, and having to drive 4 hours home, I was more tired than I had been in a long time. I had a sleep deprivation hangover. I went to bed by 9pm Sunday night and slept like a baby until the morning.
I didn’t mind being the only one not partaking in the cocktails throughout my 30 days, and in particular during the bachelorette party. It was a great group of women and I enjoyed conversing with them throughout the night. They weren’t overindulging too terribly, and I didn’t feel left out because I wasn’t. I was approached by a few intoxicated men towards the end of the night. I was sort of taken aback by how silly-drunk and obnoxious they were. “Did he just do the frat boy waist grab?” I wondered. It reminded me of college and how crazy the drinking and party scene was there. Hormones and freedom combined to equal chaos. Usually I have no problem telling people who are crossing my lines to leave me alone. This time I wasn’t so blunt or forthright. I just walked away instead. Interesting I thought.
Omitting alcohol from my daily life was just the right sadhana to give myself a little break. I had a few moments of feeling left out or a bit awkward in a social settings where alcohol was being consumed en masse. Sometimes you just feel a little off though, whether or not you are drinking cocktails. During those awkward moments I noticed that I wanted to have a drink with everyone a little more than usual and I realized how easy it is for alcohol to become a sort of safety net in social settings. It allows us to loosen up and feel like we belong. Instead of partaking, I just said oh well, I’m having an off day, and went home. By the next morning though, I let it go. A good nights rest is wonderful medicine sometimes.
At moments I got sick of talking about why I’m not drinking this month and I couldn’t tell if I bring it up or if others do and it seemed to be a little of both. It’s amazing how much we have to say about drinking alcohol, or lack there of. It’s such a culturally accepted habit, and it’s so much a part of our social structures. So many people have a history with it, an opinion of it, good or bad or both. I never really think about it being a big deal or conscious choice and just have a drink because that’s what we often do.
I admit I’ve had moments of being extremist on myself, thinking, “I feel so great, I’m going to keep this up forever. I’ll never drink again! Yoga every day! Yes!” And then I come back to reality and remember that I actually like beer, and I like drinking it with my family and friends sometimes. Have I really forgotten Alcoholics Notorious, bike wine tasting, and Oberon? We must be careful with the juice and it’s a good idea to take a break when needed, and maybe a permanent break if you find your bad moments start to outweigh the good, and you’re overindulging more than you mean to. This sadhana has reminded me that taking a break isn’t so hard to do, and taking care of myself feels pretty damn good, but ultimately it’s all about finding a good, honest, balance. Oh, and I’m totally in love with yoga!
If you got all the way to here, then you must really be my friend or something. I apologize for the excessively long post, but sometimes a girl just has a lot to say.