It was a couple of weeks ago, after another disastrous class. I was in the room cleaning mats when my friend 'A' walks in. A is an extremely dedicated yogi. He routinely takes 300 classes every year. Last month he competed in the Texas USA Yoga Regionals for the first time and placed 10th.
Anyway, 'A' comes in the room and asks how I'm doing. He knows I haven't practiced much. He knows I've been bailing on classes.
"Mark, where have you been? We miss you. You ARE 6:30 class."
I tell him I've been busy and ill and haven't felt well. He nods and says nothing for moments. Then he smiles and looks me in the eye:
"We need to do a challenge. You and me."
In my mind I'm thinking, "What? You already take 300 classes a year. You don't have an ounce of fat on you. You can practically bend yourself in knots. Why are you asking me?"
I cough and catch my breath. I'm trying to find a reason to say no. "I don't know..."
"It will be good, my friend. Thirty days."
My brain was saying, "We need to think about this. Just say you'll think about it." But I actually heard myself say:
"OK. Sixty days."
"OK, we start March 1st!". He smiles and leaves.
My brain is pissed: "What in the HELL were you thinking??!!??"
For the next few days, I go back and forth. Yes I will. No I won't. I can't do this right now. Sure I can. Finally, this past Wednesday, he comes in to set up his mat for class. I walk over and say, "Monday?"
So here we go. Again.
For those new to this blog, I completed a 100-day challenge last year. My longest challenge ever. Learned a lot. Worked very hard. At the end I could get into almost every posture. Then I slacked off big time. Took fewer and fewer classes each week. Got caught up in the holidays, ate very poorly, got depressed and stressed, and regressed in my practice. So, I'm starting yet again. It seems that the only way I can improve and maintain is to keep going to class. Every. Single. Day. The idea of going 4-6 days a week just never seems to work.
Of course, the other important advantage to a challenge is that I will lose my appetite for processed food, junk food, and soda. Today's menu would make most of my fellow yogis ill: fast food breakfast sandwich, coffee, soda, fried fish, canned prepared tuna salad, more soda, and caramel sundae. (There was a salad in there, drowned in Ranch dressing.) The first order of business? Hydrate. Two liters of water tonight. Three tomorrow. Four on Sunday. Gotta wait for the next paycheck to get all the groceries I need but I'll do the best I can in the interim. There will definitely be more vegetation and no McDonalds in the diet. (My Lenten vows to eliminate fast food and caffeine failed miserably.) The wild card? I now own a juicer! I've been experimenting with it and I LOVE IT!!! So I'm hoping to incorporate fresh juice into my diet as much as possible during this challenge. It will definitely help with the first goal: reducing my gut. It's really difficult to bend forward these days because there is so much belly fat. That will change. Soon.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: If you have never attempted a challenge before, try one! Try 30 days. Try 15 days. Even seven straight days will be very beneficial for you. Just try. It doesn't have to be a yoga challenge. Ride your bike. Walk a mile. Find something you can do every day. If you don't make the goal it's ok. Good on you just for making the effort! Rest, recoup, and try again.
So, it's déjà vu all over again.
Sixty days in the chamber.
Or maybe just thirty.