Today I feel like stale wine left on the floor after a good party. I feel like a cotton tongue. I feel a million beginnings. I fear and love the mountain ahead of me. I feel like I’m finally dipping my toe into water that’s long been cold, and that it’s time to warm it up again.
Today marks the first day of my second thirty day challenge at my yoga studio.
Not that I ever stopped from the first one - in April of this year, I completed my first thirty days of in-studio yoga ever, and have continued to do yoga every damn day since then.
That puts me seven days shy of a nice, round 180 days of showing up to my mat and loving myself just a little bit each day. It sounds simple, but that self-love has been seriously lacking for years and I feel all warm and fuzzy when I think about the gift that yoga has given to me - that I’ve chosen, for six months, to give to myself every day.
If by this point, you’re wondering why can everyone else seem to do this, but I can’t? Then I invite you to take a peek at me before leaving for yoga class: I loll around on social media, about as engaged as a cardboard cutout of myself.
I toy around with the idea of cancelling my class and just practicing for fifteen minutes at home, and sometimes I even try to convince myself that I’m injured and can’t practice, even though I totally know better.
I often whine, grasping at anything that suits me as an excuse. I whine about how much work I have to do, about how dirty the apartment is, about how I just wish everything was nice and easy and tidy.
And then, I walk out the door. And I do it.
Because I know that I will never regret taking a class. I’ve literally never been upset that I took a couple hours out of my day to walk to yoga, take class, and come home and bathe my sweaty self.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m not some superwoman who flies from one thing to the next with ease. I’m more like a jacked-up paper airplane that sometimes flies okay but sometimes flies straight into a wall or sometimes into someone’s eye.
But it still always manages to crash land on a yoga mat.
Five lessons from thirty days, because we all love a good list.
So I wanted to briefly share a few lessons I’ve come up with as I’ve pursued this daily habit - and lessons from my first thirty days specifically.
It’s not as terrifying as it seems. You probably check Instagram every day - does that habit seem like an insurmountable mountain? If you can do something mindlessly each day, you can do something mindfully, I promise.
If it’s important, or if you have accountability, or if you have something to prove to yourself once and for all godammit, you will make the time. You’ll start from a place of “yes” - knowing that you will, undoubtedly, do something today means that you’ll plan the rest of your day around it.
Time slows way down, and you find yourself swimming in it. And it’s nice. I would go to a yoga class, realize that it had been 24 hours since I was in that studio last, and reflect on all I had accomplished during that time. I lived a whole life outside of the studio, and I didn’t realize it until I was there on the reg. Also, thirty days has never seemed so long in your life, I guarantee it.
It gets you comfortable with being uncomfortable. And surprisingly, it wasn't just the yoga for me. I had to interact with people every day, and that was a new thing for me. I smiled and laughed and joked with people who were, and would become my friends. I haven’t made new friends in a hot minute, so that was, and still is, terrifying.
You don’t have to be the best, you just have to show up. I took a lot of relaxing yin classes (deep stretches and long holds of poses) and it still counted. I layed in a hot room with a bunch of my fellow sweaty humans and still earned my daily sticker! I didn’t have to do handstands or nutso-backbends. I just had to make it to the mat.
After the challenge, I learned another huge lesson: that yoga at home isn’t the same thing as yoga at a studio where people know you. June gloom was more than just the weather for me here in LA - I was depressed, so I wouldn’t go to class, so I got more depressed, so I didn’t go to class and so on.
I know some people thrive with a home practice, but I realized how much this challenge became about the routine of leaving my apartment and seeing people who make me feel seen, safe, and happy.
And now, I'm kicking it up TWO WHOLE NOTCHES for my second thirty day challenge.
I’m participating in Modo’s Speak Your Peace challenge, which is a combo of thrity days of yoga + 10 minutes of savasana every day, starting today.
On top of that, I’ve decided to do something else that I have never done in my life: I’m going to write daily. I figured that if my schedule opened up for yoga, it will open up for writing as well.
Today, for example, I ended up having to write after a work event that ran late. There was even wine you guys, and I only had one glass. Why? I knew I had to write. And I wanted to write. And too much wine makes me a screen zombie with corpsey sausage fingers.
So each day, I will practice at my yoga studio, take a ten minute savasana, and write for an hour.
Can I just tell you how terrified I am? If this was a year ago, I would say no way, rosé, because I had never created a habit successfully and the crash-and-burn failure hurts like hell. But after the initial, indescribably supportive thirty day challenge was a smash hit for me, I have more confidence in myself than ever before.
I know that I have never regretted going to yoga, and that I will never regret taking time to write. I know how much the yoga challenge has changed my life, and I’m ready to explore what a writing challenge can do for my life.
Also, as a final note in case you still doubt yourself: on the first day of my first thirty day challenge, I was so hungover from celebrating the kickoff of the challenge that I almost didn’t make it to the last class of the day.
Picture this: me shuffling the whole eight minute walk to the studio, 5:00PM, eyes down because I couldn’t look up without vomiting, tears in my eyes from shame and maybe still wine was leaking out of me, irreparable cotton mouth.
I spent most of the class in savasana, but I managed to keep my cookies the whole fucking time.