Lessons I’ve Learned (part one) Last week I told you that I signed up for a 3 week challenge at Moksha Yoga Thornhill. Well, week one is done and there were plenty of lessons to be learned. Lesson #1: I am NOT a morning person. I know what you’re going to say. Anyone can learn to become a morning person but I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. Some of us are simply wired to be night-dwellers and I am one of them. Yes, I do love knowing that my yoga is done before some people are even drinking their first cup of joe. Yes, it is peaceful driving to the studio at 6am. Yes, I do feel a difference in the way my body and spirit feels after practicing first thing in the morning. The problem is not getting up, or getting to. The problem is the rest of the day. Like most of us, I work for a living and I have to be coherent. I have pretty much been in a catatonic state for an entire week. All I can think of is eating and sleeping and not necessarily in that order. After my work day, there is no brain power for anything else. Lesson #2: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything about my yoga studio. I realized this week that no matter what is happening around me, the minute I walk into my yoga studio it all fades away and all I feel is peace. Okay, on Thursday when I did the PowerFlow class for the first time, there was also fear. But mostly there is peace and a lot of really amazing and encouraging people. Oh, and great tea! Where else can you go to get that? Lesson #3: Yoga can still make me cry. I joined Moksha in August of 2011 because I was going through what for me was a really heart-breaking and nasty divorce. I had all this anxiety that I didn’t know what to do with and I just felt like I needed to do SOMETHING. Anything really. For the first year of my practice, I cried at the end of every yoga class while lying in Savasana. I think it started because my teacher Amanda closed the class by saying, “The light in me honours and bows to the light in you.” Truthfully, in the midst of all the mud-slinging and threats that my life had been reduced to, it was the kindest and most heartfelt thing anyone had said to me in a long, long time. Another time, my teacher Stephanie supported me while I was doing a pose called Toppling Tree. It was something I struggled with because I was always fearful of, well … toppling, and so I was holding back. Stephanie held my hands, allowing me to let go and for 5 amazing, earth-shattering seconds, I felt like I was flying. Seriously. So, I cried while I was in Savasana. Partly because I was so grateful to feel that kind of freedom in the midst of so desperately trying to release myself from the very small box I forced myself into. Partly because I thought, “What if I never feel that again?” If you’ve read my previous posts you know all about what Chaturanga does to me … let’s just leave it at that. Well, by mid-week I was pretty tired and this particular class was one I had never tried before. It had the word Yin in it, so for some reason I convinced myself it would be a gentle class. Wrong. It was anything but for the first 3 quarters of the class. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t keep up and that I was, well … frustrated, that I started to cry. This time I didn’t have Savasana to turn to, so I got down into Child’s Pose and wept. Let’s just say it was not a good day. Thursday’s 6:30am class was a PowerFlow. Now I knew that was advanced and I also knew that I had purposely avoided participating in anything tagged as advanced since I joined Moksha. To say I was not happy about having to do this class would be an understatement. I believe my exact words to my love were “Listen, stop trying to make it into something I’m going to enjoy. I’m not going to like it. Let me just do it and get it over with.” To my utter astonishment, I enjoyed the hell out of that class. I felt like a little kid for the first time in a long time. I had no idea what the heck I was doing half the time and I loved it! Don’t get me wrong — it was one of the hardest classes I’ve ever done. In the last 10 minutes, my body pretty much said “Yeah, we’re done, so you better sit down now.” So I did. I laid in Savasana and I cried. I was so happy and I couldn’t help it. Lesson #4: I have to eat before yoga even if that means waking up at 5am. I know they say not to eat before your morning practice, but I tried that and I almost died. Okay I’m exaggerating a tad, but my body literally gave up in the first 15 minutes of class. So all week I experimented with food. Monday, I made toast with an egg and I had enough energy to last the entire class. Tuesday, I tried yogurt with granola and fruit. Huge fail. I felt sick the entire morning. Wednesday, I went back to a slice of toast and an egg and I ate that consistently at 5am every day after that. The difference for me is phenomenal and I’ll never try practicing with an empty stomach again. Lesson #5: I am a hella stronger than I think! The running joke with my boyfriend is that I am actually a Muppet, foam arms and all. I have never been athletic, and I never pretended to be. My practice at Moksha Yoga is the first athletic endeavor in 44 years that I have not quit after a few tries. In fact, I’ve been practicing for 2.5 years now. Some months I’ve practiced more than others, but I have never done more than 3 classes a week. Last week, I did 5 classes in a row. ME! THE MUPPET! Yes, I’m sore. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’m oldish. Yes, I’m a Muppet. But this Muppet did 5 classes in a row, baby, and not all of them easy (see Lesson #3.) I never thought I would be able to practice yoga daily. Now I feel like the possibilities are endless and not just for yoga. This is not just a physical challenge after all, friends. It takes some mental strength to force yourself out of bed at 5am, drive through the sleet and snow, so you can have the pleasure of sweating your ass off! But I did it for 5 days in a row, even when I was scared. All that in one week! I can’t wait to see what lessons (and adventures) week two of the morning challenge is going to bring my way. I’ll be sure to let you know.