40 Days To Personal Revolution: Week 5

Date: March 24, 2015 at 7:47 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 22

I’m now entering my final week in my yoga studio’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. If you’re new here, hi! My name is Ali. Good times. Here’s my introduction to the 40 Days challenge, followed by recaps from Week 1 (on “presence”), Week 2 (on “vitality”), Week 3 (all about “equanimity”), and Week 4 (where we focused on “restoration”). Now we’re up to Week 5: “centering.”

I am very sad.

I am sad that we’re into the final week of the 40 Days program. I can’t believe it’s going to be over soon.

There aren't many days left on our star chart! Will I still go to yoga when I don't get to put a star sticker next to my name for showing up?

There aren’t many days left on our star chart! Will I still go to yoga when I don’t get to put a star sticker next to my name for showing up?

And I’m sad because I have a stuffy nose. I can tolerate having Crohn’s disease, but clogged nostrils really send me into a tailspin.

Other than that, I’m quite happy. This past week in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution — where the theme was “centering” — was a really really good one. Now I will tell you why.

So basically, INTEGRITY. Which is one of my favorite words.

So basically, INTEGRITY. Which is one of my favorite words.

Daily Yoga Practice

A few weeks ago, I held my handstand for a split second during class and was so mad that Bethany (the instructor) didn’t see it. (I mean, honestly, how dare she be paying attention to anyone else during class? WTF.) As soon as I came down, I whipped around to see if she’d seen my triumphant victory, and when she hadn’t, I was visibly angry! I am the brattiest student.

This week = a revelation! I held a pretty solid handstand, and Bethany didn’t see it, and I totally didn’t care.

Look!!!

Look!!!

Why the sudden change in dramatic state?

Because I no longer worry that I’ll only get one good handstand. I am practicing it so much and while I still can’t just effortlessly kick up and not touch the wall and hold the handstand for a few seconds, I am getting closer every day, with every class and every at-home practice using Brian’s face as my “safety wall.” (Sorry, Bri, love you and your face and sorry I kick it so much!)

Nailed it. (Sweet photo, Brian. You're better than that.)

Nailed it. (Sweet photo, Brian. You’re better than that.)

There’s no longer that “OMG did she see me???” panic, because another sweet handstand is always coming right up. I have five days left to master it! (Realistically I know I probably won’t master my handstand by Saturday, but I sure am trying.)

Beyond the eager handstanding every day, my yoga practice felt so awesomely solid this week. Where I was completely run-down and exhausted last week, this past week felt so good. Every class (five 60-minute classes and one hot-as-Hawaii 90-minute class) felt strong and I’m legitimately sad about the possibility of not doing yoga six days a week after the challenge.

I asked Bethany what I should focus on in my practice going forward, and she basically said that I now have a true yoga practice (!!!) and a real vinyasa flow, and I understand the fundamentals of the poses and the alignment of my body — and now I just need to work on keeping the two connected. So flowing through the poses while maintaining integrity within them. (Whoa, yoga speak.) And when the flow gets fast — which it always does at The Den — not sacrificing my form and quality for speed.

Last one... Close, but nope.

Last one… Close, but nope.

I’ve also noticed that poses I used to really struggle with, like Dolphin and Forearm Stand, are now more comfortable and within reach. Dolphin isn’t the worst, most uncomfortable thing ever, and Forearm Stand is still really scary (“while visions of neck-snapping danced in my head…”), but I at least attempt it now instead of defaulting to Child’s Pose.

I really like yoga.

I love yoga.

NOT yoga, but similar to "Standing Leg Raise" pose, which I like on the right side and do not like on the left side. I'M NOT AN AMBI-TURNER. Name that movie. You know it.

NOT yoga, but similar to “Standing Leg Raise” pose, which I like on the right side and do not like on the left side. I’M NOT AN AMBI-TURNER. Name that movie. You know it.

Daily Meditation

Pass.

This was a total fail. I was supposed to meditate for 25 minutes twice a day this past week, and I did that exactly zero times. I just didn’t commit to doing it. I honestly didn’t even try. I would put “meditate” on my To-Do List some days, but I never prioritized it or got around to it or made it happen. This week we’re supposed to do two 30-minute sessions per day, and I would really like to try to make that happen at least once. Stay tuned…

Balancing Diet

I’ve been cooking more! I love cooking! While my diet certainly isn’t balanced or as healthy and nutrient-dense as I would like it to be, I’ve gotten much better about eating mindfully and enjoying my food rather than just shoveling it in my face while I keep up with those Kardashians. (J/K I don’t do that.) (Yes I do.)

Sometimes I eat fruit, but most of the time I eat chocolate.

Sometimes I eat fruit, but most of the time I eat chocolate.

Journaling

Still going pretty strong with the journaling. I try to get my thoughts in writing 3–4 times per week, and I really value that time. A few questions I enjoyed this week:

  • Where, when, and with whom do I feel most grounded? My answer surprised me! I figured I would say I feel most grounded when I’m by myself or when I’m with Brian, but as soon as I got Le Pen to paper, I started scribbling about how comfortable I am with all my new 40 Days yoga friends, and how I’ve found such comfort in them and our shared experiences. I find that I’m really authentic around them, and I never feel like I’m putting on a show or being judged. It’s pretty awesome.
  • How mindful am I of the smallest details of my day? I’m not. At all. I forget things minutes after they happen. Am I truly present enough to notice all my actions? I am surely not.
A typical morning at Lyons Den with Bethany (studio owner, duh, you basically know her) and Aneta (studio manager, she made the star chart!) and their DOGS, Josie and Murphy! Yoga + puppies.

A typical morning at Lyons Den with Bethany (studio owner, duh, you basically know her) and Aneta (studio manager, she made the star chart!) and their DOGS, Josie and Murphy! Yoga + puppies.

Weekly Reading

Yes, I read about “centering,” and um…flowers and dresses and stuff.

DID MY READING, YUP.

DID MY READING, YUP.

Empowerment

I feel the most empowered I have in a while. For sure. I feel so strong in my yoga practice, and I feel like I’ve learned about myself throughout this process. I’ve focused on being true to myself and acting with integrity. Whenever I’m in public (mostly on public transportation), I like to think, “If someone I know or respect were secretly watching me, would I be proud of my actions?” So basically, don’t throw elbows at strangers on the sidewalk and don’t roll my eyes so dramatically at the inaudible MTA delay announcements.

I’m also more chilled out in general. I’m working on my relationship with my ever-changing body (a forever work in progress, but it’s just that: in progress), and trying to focus more on what it can do and less on what it looks like and what I think are its “flaws.”

I was having the BEST time cheering at the NYC Half, and then my cool friend Chris Mosier sent me this photo and my first thought was not, "THAT WAS THE FUNNEST DAY!" but rather, "My legs and butt are huge." So...we're working on that.

I was having the BEST time cheering at the NYC Half, and then my cool friend Chris Mosier sent me this photo and my first thought was not, “THAT WAS THE FUNNEST DAY!” but rather, “My legs and butt are huge.” So…we’re working on that.

I find myself being much kinder to loved ones and strangers alike, and I’m more patient, compassionate, and understanding.

I have been saying “no” to things that don’t empower me, and “yes” to things that lift me up.

Running with new "we met on the internet" BFF Devon. THIS WAS SO FUN.

Running with new “we met on the internet” BFF Devon. THIS WAS SO FUN. IT EMPOWERED ME.

If I read this post a year, two years, three years ago, I would be rolling my eyes so hard at myself right now. But here I am, spouting out pharses like “things that don’t empower me” and “I’m more patient” and “I have a stuffy nose.”

So, empowered?

The happiest runner ever!!!

The happiest runner ever!!!

Hell yeah.

Time to finish this thing strong!

22 Responses to "40 Days To Personal Revolution: Week 5"

I’m sad the 40 days are almost over too! I have so enjoyed reading your updates. 🙂 You truly seem so happy!

Kristine says: March 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

Hi Ali,

I love reading your weekly reports, and they always help me feel grounded or more accepting of my body as it is. Do you have any recommended readings to build off of those themes (articles, additional blogs, etc)? I’m bummed your reports are only once a week (though I totally understand how busy you are). Thanks!

Check out Baron Baptiste’s books! They’re all on Amazon, so I’d definitely recommend starting there. The book we’re following in the program is “40 Days to Personal Revolution.”

Love this, love you, love that happy dorky smile you have every time you kick up into a handstand!

I really like this post. I know I could stand to be a little nicer to myself and my body. =)

Isn’t it funny how we view our bodies differently than other people. For instance, without sounding like a creeper, I have thought before that if I had muscular legs like yours that they would be able to carry me further on runs. I have never once thought that yours are huge!

Thanks for sharing your journey. I am definitely interested in knowing any tips for keeping up the same “thought process” after the 40 days!

TOTALLY. We’re way harsher on ourselves than anyone else. I would NEVER talk to someone the way I talk to myself. Go figure…

I’ve enjoyed reading about your progress with your practice. I struggle to get to a consistent place with yoga so am very impressed! and look at that handstand!

I’m also sad your fourth days are almost over! I love reading your weekly updates. You have encouraged me to meditate and journal! I love the sticker chart, they totally work-we are all 5 year olds at heart!

Ugh I meant *fourty*

zoolander! clearly im rocking the pop culture references.

also i’ve enjoyed reading about your experience! i will be sad when it is over 🙁

BOOM. Correct!

Love love love the empowerment part. Definitely something I’ve struggled with and look up to you and many others on. I love the support we have for one another at NP and the support so many athletes have for their bodies, even if they aren’t 100% what we imagine them to be.

This has gone really great for you – and I’ve enjoyed reading it. With such a busy time in your life (wedding planning), it’s great to find balance so it’s not so stressful. The yoga is definitely agreeing with you!

Am so gonna miss your weekly recaps when this Challenge ends. It’s been so much fun and motivating following along with you. You did really well notwithstanding the meditation bit.

I’ve love this series, and your always-introspective posts. Your commitment to yoga is so inspiring! The train ride alone would stop me.

Also your posts really make me miss Central Park/Prospect Park running. Say “hi” to Engineer’s Gate for me!

I’m loving your posts on this challenge. I feel like I’m in such a similar place with yoga. I’m loving it SO MUCH. I used to just treat it like a workout but now it means so much more to me. I honestly think it’s making me a better person. Finding a studio/instructors you love is so key!

I’m really interested to see your overall thoughts once the 40 days are over! Another blogger I follow recently finished this program and didn’t really enjoy it. It seems like you’re putting a lot more into it and getting a lot out of it, so I’m looking forward to a recap! 🙂

This yoga challenge sounds amazing. I love the idea of the sticker chart. Things like that seem so silly, but so satisfyingly motivating! 🙂

I am definitely finding your 40 days incredibly interesting. I love yoga, long to find more time for it and completely get the whole “no meditation” thing. Thanks for sharing this with us.

As usual I love the weekly recaps of how things are going, and I’m delighted to hear they are going well. It’s hard to remind yourself to say positive things about your changing body instead of negative ones (preaching to the choir on this one!) but I’m glad you’re working on it 🙂

One thing you said really hit me and made me think…why the heck haven’t I thought of it like that before. When you said you try to think – “If someone I know or respect were secretly watching me, would I be proud of my actions?” when in public it was like a lightbulb moment for me?! DUH this is how I need to think!

Thanks for taking the time to write such detailed updates and also for that ever so wise piece of advice! This girl will now be trying to think that way in public.

Thank you so much for writing this series. I love your blog, but I’ve never commented. I really appreciated everything you wrote about the past five weeks, especially your struggles with meditation. You’re the best!