Lessons I’ve Learned (part deux) Last week I completed week two of the Moksha Yoga Thornhill Morning Challenge, and believe me when I tell you no one is more surprised than me. I’ve learned so many lessons on this journey of pushing myself further than I ever thought I could go, so I thought I would share some of them with you. Lesson #1: Sometimes, you have to go backwards before you can move forwards. If you read my post from week one, you’ll know that I ended the week feeling unstoppable. I was on a yoga high, baby, and I couldn’t wait to see what amazing things I would accomplish come week two. Fast-forward to Monday’s class. There I am standing on my mat about to do my favourite Tree pose and my legs are jiggling like a congealed bowl of congee soup. For the life of me I could not find my balance. Not even a little bit. I was like one of those Weebles that wobbled but they won’t fall down toys, only I wasn’t 100% sure I wouldn’t fall down. I tried to breathe through it, I tried to relax, I tried to find some ease in the pose. None of it worked. In fact, as I move through my asanas, I realized my jiggly legs were getting more jiggly. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Shouldn’t I be stronger after rocking last week? I was so frustrated until I remembered one of my teachers saying, “Honour your body where it is right now and not where you want it to be. That’s how you become stronger in your practice.” I realized my body needed me to honour where it was this week, even if that meant taking a couple of steps back. After all, I plan on practicing yoga for life, not just for the duration of this challenge. Lesson #2: Maybe you CAN teach yourself to be a morning person. Don’t get me wrong. I am still a fully ensconced member of the night owl’s club. The dark hours are when I come alive and when my creative juices begin to stir. But something happened week two. Although I was still dragging my butt around, I wasn’t quite as catatonic. In fact, I started to feel some of that energy that I was told I should be experiencing from doing yoga in the wee hours of the morning. There was no emergency napping required the minute I shut down my laptop at work. I lasted until 9:30pm pretty much every night. Quite an improvement from week one when I could barely remember my own name at the end of each day. Lesson #3: A clean house or a full life. Sometimes, you just have to decide. I am not a neat freak per se, but I do like a clean house. I’ve recently moved into my own place for the first time in 44 years, and I want to maintain a certain standard that I haven’t always had the option of maintaining in my previous lives. Dishes are done and put away after every meal, clutter is abolished, even my bed is made every morning even though I am the only one currently using it. But not in week two. In week two, dishes were left until the morning after and even then, the only reason they were washed was because I needed my coffee pot. Clutter abounded and I don’t think I ever got around to making my bed the entire week. After my job, yoga, writing class, blogging, working on my website, and FaceTiming with my boyfriend, there was just no time for things like dirty dishes. And I was not only okay with that, I was too damn busy living my life to care. Lesson #4: Hot yoga ain’t pretty. When deciding to do hot yoga, you kind of have to check your ego at the door. I mean you can go into the studio looking cute with your Spiritual Gangster yoga top and your Lelo yoga pants, but no matter how cute your outfit is, there is no escaping the hot sweaty mess you’re going to be at the end of the class. For me, that usually entails walking out of class beet red, hair frizzed, sweat drenched, with my soaked clothes clinging to all my not so pretty bits. When deciding to do hot yoga at 6:30 in the morning, it’s even worse. I don’t even bother to put on real clothes! I just jam myself into the outfit I’m going to wear while practicing, but on my clunky winter boots, throw on my long winter coat, slap on a hat which hopefully will flatten out my bed head and off I go. One morning I even had a line still running across my cheek from the book I accidentally fell asleep with. I didn’t care. My only thought was, “Gotta get to the studio.” Lesson #5: Even grown-ups can be enticed to do something if there are sparkly stickers involved. By Wednesday, my body was bone tired. When my alarm went off at 5am, my only thought was “I don’t wanna.” The minute the words left my mouth, I envisioned the Morning Challenge tracker hung up by the water fountain. I saw my name and all the sparkly stickers proving that I had completed my morning practice ever day, EXCEPT for Wednesday Feb 12. That day was blank. No little pink heart. No “YOU ROCK!” No skating penguin. And definitely no sparkly gold star. The mere thought of that little blank box sent me straight to class. As soon as I entered the studio, I marched straight over to that chart with the pile of stickers, unpeeled the biggest heart I could find, and stuck it right in that little square that signified Wednesday Feb 12. It was the best feeling ever. Next week is the last week of my three week challenge. Unlike Wednesday Feb 12, there is no question of whether I will go or not. Somehow, not going is not even an option. I couldn’t be prouder!