Wednesday, June 29, 2011

40 Days of Yoga: Week One Recap

As the Downward Dog Days of Summer march on, we thought that we would pause and offer a brief recap of our first week. Surely you are all dying to know how that personal revolution thing is coming along, right? Here are my thoughts on Week One: Cultivating Presence.

First, a bit of a clarification. I began researching Baron Baptiste's 40 Days of yoga by reading about various yoga studio programs and blogs that explained and documented the basic program because the Kindle version of his book was not available until last Tuesday (perfect timing, though -- as if fate intervened by way of Amazon!). By reading online reports and descriptions of the program, I pieced together the basic facts but missed some critical details. Such critical details include the fact that caffeine, meat, and alcohol are not verboten in the program, just gently discouraged, especially as you progress over the course of the five weeks.

By the time we cleared up this little matter, we had already suffered through one day of caffeine withdrawal, so, figuring the worst was over, we decided to dig in our heels and continue caffeine free for the next 39 days.

This is not to say we did not waver about the caffeine. Because oh, that first day without it was bad. Very bad. I had a dull headache for much of the day, I felt incredibly lethargic, and I was in a sour mood -- perhaps the worst part of all. I started to wonder if we were crazy for trying this no caffeine thing.

But, I had given up caffeine before (for over a year, no less!), so I knew that caffeine weaning is a pretty fast, if painful, process. Sure enough, Day 2 was much better. And by Day 3, caffeine was an almost distant memory.

Instead of coffee, we are now drinking decaf iced tea (much more thirst-quenching in the summer heat and humidity anyway). We make a tea concentrate by brewing several tea bags in a small pot of water and steeping them for a long time. After letting the concentrate chill in the fridge, we fill a glass halfway with concentrate and then add seltzer water to top it off. The seltzer water was a last minute addition -- and it is amazing! Here is our iced tea creation, with fresh mint from our CSA.

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As for the yoga, it was great. In fact, it was the only thing that gave me energy on that miserable caffeine-free first day. We were only able to download one podcast -- Kinndli McCollum's -- for Week One's prescribed asana series, a short 20-minute practice. Although we could have repeated this session for six days, we chose instead to diverge a bit from the 40 Day program and alternated her podcast with some longer sessions by Terileigh and Dave Farmar (who, by the way, totally kicked our butts; we will definitely be returning to him).

We also used a short 5-minute podcast by Kinndli for our first meditation, which you are supposed to do every morning and night. Meditation -- even just for five minutes -- is perhaps the most challenging part of this program, and I struggled to imagine extending the meditation time as the weeks progress.

But, silly me -- why worry about the future when this week I should have been cultivating "presence?"

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