40 Days to a Personal Revolution: Day 4

Time flies when you are having fun! Today is day 4 of our 40 days to a personal revolution.  That means 36 days to go, and for me, 29 days until I leave for level 2 teacher training.

Since I stopped eating meat a few days early, I’m at 6 days without eating meat. I think I’m at 6 days without caffeine (maybe 5), and 4 days without (or very limited) sugar intake. I’ve found that 100% eliminating sugar is nearly impossible. Sugar, or some kind of syrup is in everything. Now, corn syrup and especially HFCS are right out, not having those at all. I’m trying to prefer things sweetened with honey first. I found some locally produced bread that is sweetened with honey. When that isn’t available, I have regular bread. For teacher training, I am going to have to switch to Ultima Replinisher (instead of Gatorade), but that isn’t a big deal. So, being truthful.  I can’t realistically eliminate 100% of my sugar intake, but I’m being very conscious about what I do intake.

I was thinking about why I’m doing this (the diet portion at least). And, to me, this isn’t about sacrificing things, it isn’t about sacrifice at all. This is about living a more balanced life. I’m not “giving up” meat during these 40 days, I’m adding a whole new list of healthy, vegetarian meals to my diet. I’m not sacrificing my free time for meditation and Yoga practice. I’m using those tools to achieve more balance in my life. The (twice) daily meditation practice is a little difficult. I’m still working on that routine. The daily Yoga practice is awesome! I’m at 5 days in a row right now.  6th day tonight, day off on Friday, and then 7 days straight before my next day of rest.

Day 1 (Again)

If we are counting days, yesterday wasn’t really Day 1. It was the organizational meeting. Today is the real day 1 for our 40 days program.

So far, so good. I haven’t eaten meat since lunch on Friday. As a consequence, I’ve learned that I like Halibut. Well, I like Halibut when Ray’s Cafe cooks it.

Today, I went for the 6:15am Yoga class.  And, now I think it is time to go to bed!

Day 1

Today is day 1 of going through the 40 Days to a Personal Revolution program. I started the day with some hot water with lemon and honey (part of the diet recommendations from Journey into Power) and Cheerios. We went to the 9:30 class this morning. I wanted get started with a practice day, rather than a rest day.

At the meeting today, we were given a choice of 4 categories, CATS. Caffeine, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Sugar. Of these 4, we were to choose one (or more) to give up for 40 days. Since I don’t smoke, giving up Tobacco wasn’t a sacrifice. I have cut back my caffeine intake quite a bit, and I only drink alcohol once a week. So, neither of those would be much of a sacrifice. This leaves me with sugar. I’m giving up all 4 of the items (well, 3 + tobacco).  On top of this, I am giving up meet on my own.

After the meeting, we went grocery shopping… and it is hard to find food that doesn’t contain sugar! I was looking at granola, and pretty much all of the granola contains sugar of some kind. Then bread, almost all of the bread contains sugar. I found a loaf of bread with honey instead of sugar.

That’s where I stand halfway through day 1. The yoga 6 days a week isn’t going to be a problem, but finding enough food without sugar is going to be a problem.

Day 0

From my previous post, you know that our journey through 40 Days To a Personal Revolution begins tomorrow. I got some things in line today 🙂

I started the day with 8am Yoga. I admit it, I love practicing first thing on a Saturday morning. It is a great way to let go of the previous week and transition to the weekend. At 9:45, I assist the level 1.5 class. Today was the first day that I got to teach during this class. It was great! My opportunity in teaching is to “stop trying and start doing.” this has been a progression for me. At this point, I am ou. Of my own head enough that when I am teaching, things are just flowing. This is a recent development, but it is kind of awesome.

During the 40 days program, I have decided to eat vegetarian. Not necessarily giving up meat, but rather bringing in some more healthy choices into my diet. I started that today!

Tomorrow, things start off with a meeting at Shakti west. I’m going to practice before the meeting, knowing that I will be setting myself up for 8 consecutive days of practice.

I know there are going to be challenges along the way. Specifically, I am worried about 4 full days of flying that I’m doing in the next 40 days. We are going to Cincinnati and back, and I’m going to Mexico and back during the program. The Yoga and diet items will be taken care of during teacher training.  For Cincinnati and back, the Yoga schedule is going to be difficult. But no excuses. I’m committed to the program, I will make it work.

Almost 40 Days

Starting April 11th, we will be participating in the 40 Days to a Personal Revolution program at Shakti. I’ve found excuses last year not to participate, but this year, I’m all in! The program is based on Baron Baptiste’s book of the same title, 40 Days to a Personal Revolution.

This means that we will be practicing Yoga six days a week, meditating morning and night, and attending weekly meetings with the whole group.  I have no idea how many people are participating, but I guess we will find out on Sunday.

I’m also a bit excited about the last week of the program, because starting on May 14th, I will be in Tulum, Mexico for level 2 teacher training with Baron Baptiste. I think it will be a great way to end the 40 days program.

Yoga Assistant

Well – in December, I completed the Baptiste Level 1 Teacher Training in Mexico. It was an awesome experience, made even more awesome by attending as a couple. There is so much more I could say about this training, but I’m not going to. If anyone out there ever goes through this program, it is best if you enter with a completely open mind and have no expectations.

Last month, starting on Jan 12th, I started in the Teacher Mentorship Program at Shakti Vinyasa Yoga (where we practice). This is a pretty unique program in the Yoga world (from what I can tell anyway). As part of this program, I assist two nights a week in our 8 class intro series. Assisting takes multiple forms in this environment. We organize the room, teach some Yoga philosophy, demonstrate poses, and physically assist the class. Our studio is very hands on, with the teachers and assistants actually helping students with safe alignment and the deepening of poses.

My first month was a lot of fun. I was able to see a class from a different perspective. Literally. Viewing a class from the front of the room feels very different than being in the middle of the room, as part of the class.  It took 2 or 3 classes, but now I feel at home in the studio as one of the teachers. In the last week of my first intro series, I was able to teach 2 sections of the class (1 each on different days). Over the next few months, the amount of teaching that I get to do will increase. It is a lot of work to become a Yoga teacher this way, but it is the right way for me. Lots of training time, lots of hard work.

Getting Ready for Mexico

Our Baptiste teacher training bootcamp is approaching pretty quickly (less than 2 months now).   We have been putting in the physical preparation (4 to 5 practices a week).   I start every week wanting to go 6 times, but that is a huge time commitment, and just is not always a possibility.

16 changes of Yoga clothes

Shortly after signing up for the bootcamp, I went through a rough spot in my Yoga practice.  This was, as one might imagine, mostly related to rough spots in my other obligations.  Work has been (and continues to be) extremely stressful and mentally draining.   I let this carry over way too much, into my non-work life and into my Yoga.  This resulted in lots of mental distractions, physical missteps, and a generally bad quality of life.  Kind of depressing, I know.

So, I’m happier now than I was two weeks ago.  I’m more focused than I was two weeks ago.   Quantifying how this happened is a little difficult.   Of course, Cortny has been a big help, because she is probably the most supportative wife out there.  Thanks 🙂  Getting back to the Yoga, she even supports my crazy Yoga schedule.   She joins me most of the time, but she does like to skip Saturday at 8am… I don’t really blame her.   This support extends all he way to Mexico, as Cortny is also going to the teacher training (even though she doesn’t want to teach Yoga right now).

Over the last two weeks or so, I’ve been trying to change things.   I can’t get rid of the stressful work environment (unless you need an assistant professor of computer science).   What can I do?  Let it go.   Don’t react.   Those are the tools that I have at my disposal.   This is one reason I find Yogic philosophy so appealing, helpful tools for everyday life.   I’m not leaving things up to someone else, I am in control.   I don’t have to wait, I can make changes now.   This is just a sampling of what we’re learning and what we will be learning.    What really helps me, is that the asana practice (the physical part, what most people say then they mean Yoga) really ties it all together.

When we first started Yoga (intro series a year and a half ago), one of our teachers said that your Yoga mat is like a mirror.   The mat is like a mirror in that how you are on your mat reflects how you are in the real world.   Do you quickly react to adverse conditions, can you work through a difficult spot, can you keep your mind clear and focused?  These are tough issues.   What happens each time I come to the mat changes.  Sometimes I can hold a tough pose for a long period of time and not notice, sometimes 3 or 4 seconds in and we can’t move on fast enough.   The point is, I’m trying to make changes to get towards the non-reactive side, both in my Yoga and in my life.

It has been a long journey, and at times I feel like I’m still at the beginning. But here we are.

I can say that I’m ready to go to teacher training now.   Not only because I have enough clothes for 16 practices (I get very sweaty…), but because I am mentally ready.   I know that I am ready to let the experience happen and now to have expectations about what will happen, not because I can do every yoga pose with perfect alignment.

In 3 weeks, I start the teacher assisting program at our studio here.  24 hours of training over 2 weekends.   I’m very excited about this for 2 reasons: it will give me 2 weekends to just let go and be present in the Yoga studio, and it should be a great preview to our week long teacher training experience.

Wow – longer entry than I intended, and it went a totally different direction.  But I think I’m happy with the way it turned out!  I’m sure that some people have wondered why I’m always going to Yoga, maybe this sheds some light on that.

New Yoga Gear

My current mat, a Prana Eko Mat is showing some wear.  It is a good mat, but it is almost a year old and is showing some wear.   I’m pretty rough on a mat, using it 4 to 6 times a week with some serious sweating.   I do use Yogi toes (anti-skid towel), because I have never been able to use just a mat.

So I was looking for something a little stronger.    I decided to go with a set of Manduka products.

I ordered

I went with the Black Mat, because it is supposed to be the most long lasting, heavy duty, non-slipping or bunching up-est mat out there.    The bag for… transport?   I’m going to be carrying my mat onto a plane twice in the near future, so I needed a bag.    The towels, because you can never have enough towels for hot Yoga.   This will be the second mat towel in my collection, and my first real hand towel (that isn’t a bathroom hand towel).    Now, I won’t have to do laundry every night!   With my current yogi-toes and new mat towel, I can do the laundry every other night.   I already have enough Yoga clothes for 4 days without washing, with quite ranging outfits, but 4 days none-the-less.

I will update with how everything works out.

Golden Gardens

Today we went to the beach – Golden Gardens on Puget Sound.   This is extra cool because Golden Gardens is in Ballard, and pretty close to our house.   It is nice to have a beach close by, even if we don’t make it there too often.   And, on a day like to day – it was way crowded.

I also hard Cortny take some pictures of me doing some of my favorite Yoga poses on the beach.   I’ve really gotten into arm balancing, because it brings together all the elements – mental and physical strength and concentration, breath, and core support.

So, here is me doing the forearm balance and crow pose.

Forearm Balance

Forearm Balance

Crow Pose

Crow Pose

Teacher Training

I am always full of crazy ideas. My latest might not be so crazy.

My first year with Yoga was good. I learned a lot, followed the journey without expectation, and had plenty of breakthroughs. Lots of physical breakthroughs. I’m stronger than I have ever been, have improved my balance many times over, and can move in ways I never thought possible. (Exhibit A).   There is mental growth too, although this has come slower for me.   I view this area as how we choose to meet challenges.   Change how you meet challenges on the mat, and this changes how you meet challenges in the world.

I had always thought that teaching Yoga might be something that I want to do some day.   And I thought that when I am able to return to academics, teaching Yoga would be a nice parallel activity.   Two different outlets for teaching.

So, a few weeks ago, I went through the weekend teacher training at our studio here in Seattle.   This was a great experience, but it was too short.   This class mostly left me wanting more.   More time to practice, more time to learn.    This was also a good way to re-up my commitment to the Yoga practice, I’ve made it to class 10 out of the last 12 days (assuming I don’t forget to go at 4:30 today).

Follow this path a little further, and I’ve sent in my application for the Baptiste level 1 teacher training in Mexico.   Details on what exactly goes on there are not readily available, this is a good thing.   Everyone that I know who has been says that it is an amazing experience.

What is even more exciting?  Cortny has decided to apply for the teacher training as well.   Hopefully, we will both get accepted and go through this together.    She isn’t sure about teaching, but this is the first step both in teaching and deciding if you want to teach.

We found out about acceptance within two weeks.   Will keep you updated.