Yoga has become a powerful tool in my life, in just 40 days of practicing. I've followed the studio Instagram for years and I'm always struck with how your posts about yoga sound eerily similar to things I learn in therapy. So part of my motivation to do the 40 days was that I thought doing your brand of yoga would help me start integrating the lessons I'm learning in therapy into my body, and let me practice them every day. And I was right! I am particularly struck by the ways you taught me (and everyone) to acknowledge the discomfort, the pain, the grief - but then to move anyways, breathe anyways, thrive anyways. I love the 30 minute class where you encourage us, over and over, to acknowledge what we are feeling and what is going on, and then also move into what we want to feel. I'm also loving the way you give us tools for moving through discomfort - accepting that parts of life are inevitably painful, and that by connecting to breath, and really focusing on a certain spot, you can find ways to survive the pain, and even make space around it and through it. I had not done power yoga before 40 Days. At first it was confusing, and I didn’t understand why it moved so quickly. But now my body has gotten used to it, and I appreciate the level of heat and challenge that I feel every time I practice. And yet, when I finish, it doesn’t feel the same as finishing a workout. It feels more relaxing and connected and stretched out. I find now that if I haven’t done yoga in 3 or 4 days, my body misses it. This definitely was not the case before doing 40 Days.
Meditation is something I’m learning to lean into. It is not my favorite way to spend time. It is difficult to be still, as I am someone who has always defined success and value in how much I am getting done. During the 40 Days, it really helped to have the guided meditations to listen to. That made meditation much easier, instead of me trying to figure out what to do with all of my thoughts, by myself. I really appreciate the comments you made about the benefits to the brain when you meditate. Knowing the benefits helps motivate me to do it. And I am continuing to choose to meditate a couple of times a week since the program has ended.
Self inquiry was... enjoyable. Self-Inquiry is within my comfort zone, as I’ve always been an avid journaler, and I enjoy therapy. Reading Baron’s book was useful. I felt he brought up a lot of things I have never thought of before, and his questions allowed me to unlock some of the limitations and rules I had accepted. I would have enjoyed having time to discuss the readings with members of the group.
Mindful eating was... not the most meaningful part of the experience for me. I joined Weight Watchers the week before starting 40 days. So my focus was more on understanding and committing to their system. For the fast I stopped eating sugar for 3 days, and it was during that time that I finally realized that I may have an actual sugar addiction. That information has been really useful to me as I am now addressing that, and looking for a nutritionist or therapist that can help me change my eating habits.
Three concrete examples of how 40 Days with CCYOGA has impacted my life are:
1. I am not as afraid of my migraines. I typically have 9-12 per month. Most can be managed with medication, but some can’t and are debilitatingly painful for about 24 hours. 40 Days has taught me new tools to use in managing pain. I can move into my breath, find something to focus on and really see it, and I can also honestly acknowledge the pain while also seeing that I’m okay in the moment and trusting my body to move forward. While the 40 Days program hasn’t gotten rid of my migraines, I see a definite reduction in the day to day anxiety I have worrying about getting one. I love practicing facing pain and discomfort in yoga and then continuing to move and breathe.
2. While I didn’t lose weight from yoga, the practice did tighten and tone my muscles in a number of areas – so much so that others noticed towards the end of the 40 days program and asked if I lost weight.
3. I started getting up 30 minutes before my kids wake up so that I can do yoga, meditate, or workout.
Now that the 40 Days with CCYOGA is finished I am open to the possibility of…
No longer making decisions purely based on avoiding pain and discomfort.
Before the 40 Days with CCYOGA my experience with:
Yoga was doing youtube yoga sessions that were either too easy or too hard. I never understood if yoga was supposed to be a way to exercise or a way to relax. I tried it from time to time but never really connected with it.
Meditation was virtually nonexistent in my life. I have been introduced to meditation before, but always feel it is a bit of a waste of time. I have always believed that I get plenty of time with my thoughts without meditation, and I never paid attention to the benefits of meditation to the brain and body before doing 40 Days.
Self inquiry was something I do often through therapy and journaling. I have always enjoyed reading books that challenge me or push me to try something new. I have also always enjoyed journaling, whether by myself or in a workshop setting.
Mindful eating was something I’ve never paid attention to. I either eat everything I want or am consciously on a diet program.