What would happen if I did yoga for 10 days in a row?
I don’t mean just a home practice. But if I went to a yoga class every day for 10 days?
Improved health? A clearer mind? A more settled heart? A bigger smile? A deeper sense of loving kindness? An enhanced sense of intentionality?
To true yogis, ten days of class must sound far from revolutionary, I would imagine. But since it took me six months after my daughter was born to even get to one yoga class, it’s a big deal.
(And no, I never made it to a Mommy and Me class with this baby #2.
I schlep the poor girl around so much to deal with her brother’s preschool commute, it always seemed like a waste of free time to drag her out again when I could get a better practice in at home. If only I actually stopped to do that.)
There’s always a rationalization for not getting to class — childcare, fatigue, distance, traffic, cost, childcare, last night’s sleep, conflicting needs to cook or just plain enjoy being with my kids.
I’m trying to live free of rationalizations — otherwise known as excuses — if only for just 10 days. If Julie can cook like Julia for a year, I can do down dogs for a week and a half.
The immediate impetus is Centered Yoga Studio. This studio in the Palisades area of NW DC offers an unbeatable 10 unlimited days of yoga for $10 for first-time clients. Wow. My first class was a lovely “Gentle Yoga” class that was more active than restorative but slow and, well, gentle. It’s probably just the right speed for me.
But I was drawn to the studio because they offer an Anusara-inspired class three mornings a week. My sister-in-law is a certified Anusara instructor, and she’s teaching at Wanderlust, a huge yoga conferences coming up in June in Vermont. We are meeting her, my husband’s brother, and their two kids there. Grandma is even coming to help out!
I thought I might splurge on a ticket to join them in attending the Anusara Grand Circle, three days of yoga right before Wanderlust (which goes two days past when we need to leave).
As my brother-in-law pointed out, though, I’m in no shape to do a ton of intense yoga — literally because I’m out of shape and also because I have a 10-month-old who is still exclusively breastfed (and I do mean breast, not bottle). The days until the event are dwindling, and I am still weighing my options for how much cash to plunk down for how much of the experience of one or both of these events. I wish I could split the bill with my husband or get a pro-rated breastfeeding mom (and blogger!) rate!
But whatever I decide to do, the time to be in nature and do yoga with my husband and mother-in-law around to be with the kids is an amazing opportunity. So is this Ten Days.
And so, I get serious.
What this commitment means is that my physical body as a whole is as important as any other volunteer commitment I have or writing I want to do, and is as important as my crazy-high-maintenance diet to my overall health and wellbeing.
It means I believe in possibility. It means I see myself as an agent, not a victim at the mercy of babysitters. I will make it happen, even if I have to fight traffic to get to an evening class and even if my husband kind of balked at the commitment when I proposed it.
I need to see who I am when I’ve spent 60-90 minutes each day breathing. Seriously, mindfully, breathing. When I’ve awakened awareness of muscles I forgot I had and allowed my organs to shine. When I’ve felt the connection to the energy of the universe.
A few weeks ago I bought a Groupon for Unity Woods, the Iyengar studio where I studied for three years before I got pregnant in 2005. Getting back even to two classes there (with Vermont in mind) was profoundly enjoyable and inspiring. It was like coming home to myself.
It is so clear to me that yoga is medicinal. Yes, it may be hard to get to class with a baby who doesn’t want to separate and a husband who gets home after his son needs to have had dinner. And yes, when these cheap classes have run out, it will be another financial commitment if I decide to keep going — a higher cost for one class than for a whole month’s membership at the gym I never go to.
But for 10 days, I am hoping we can make this work.
Because if it does, I think I’ll be both healthier physically and also open to believing in a whole lot of good.
I did manage to take the kids to one family class over spring break, which I wrote about here, and another recent class. I’ll write more in detail about each one soon, and I’m hoping to launch a series of profiles of family-friendly and otherwise interesting yoga opportunities in the D.C. area. Stay tuned!
Read on in this series: