Spring is finally here after a long winter, and our IPY Challenge is going strong! We are all so proud of our students’ hard work, thank you for your dedication and commitment.
I also would like to welcome Jean Marie Hackett to our teaching community, she is teaching our 6 pm classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, please come by and take her wonderful and challenging classes.
Please read Jean Marie’s thoughts on her own yoga challenge and journey:
“I’ll buy a monthly unlimited,” I said to the tattooed creature behind the front desk of a yoga studio on the Lower East Side. I was already sweating. I was already thinking of my psychologist.
Just a few days before my purchase of thirty days of sweating myself into oblivion, I sat on his cliched couch as he asked:
“What could you bring into your life, that would bring you joy?” (I should mention that he was into positive psychology– the study of what makes happy people happy, and at that time, I needed that desperately.)
Miserable, stressed, anxiety-ridden, with a daily does of an SSRI keeping my obsessive compulsive disorder at bay (sometimes), I really had not given happiness much thought.
“Well, the last time I felt real joy was when I used to dance. But I grew up dancing ballet, and I have a lot of baggage associated with dance. I don’t think I can handle taking dance classes. But I did do some yoga, only sporadically, because I never had the time, so, maybe I could do that?”
And so there I was signing up for my own thirty day yoga challenge. Up until that point to say I dabbled in yoga would be an understatement. I’d done a little with a video starring Ali McGraw (don’t ask), I’d slept my way through a class at a local gym, and I’d fallen in love with a Baptiste class in downtown Boston that turned my mat into a slip n’slide. I’d given a scant nod to Jivamukti, and I’d spent a halfhearted few weeks in a hard-core Mysore room in the East Village before quitting. What I’d never done was practice any kind of yoga regularly.
One month — less actually — was all it took. I quit my gym rat antics after my body changed exponentially in a mere two weeks. I started to eat a little bit differently. I slept better. A few months later I weaned myself off medication. And slowly, the exterior layers of New Yorker tunnel-vision toughness began to give way (here and there) to glimpses of who and what I really am, perhaps — someone who stopped and saw herself and other people with a bit more kindness.
It was not my last monthly challenge. Years later I found myself dabbling again, albeit more seriously, in ashtanga vinyasa yoga. What would happen if I practiced ashtanga for thirty days, six days a week, the way it was intended to be practiced? I made the commitment (in reality I got to about five days a week of practice) and the yoga paid me back tenfold. I wrote the following to my teacher, David Garrigues:
The regularity and forming a consistent schedule also clear my mind. I don’t have to wonder or worry about where what and how I will practice. I just do, as soon as I can in the morning, and then all is clear for the rest of the day. It frees mental energy, to not have to wonder how I am going to get my physical motion needs met.
Maybe there is something to all this harping about “practice.”
In my limited experience, giving yourself thirty days to dig into a yoga practice — regardless of style — has been nothing short of life changing. But for my psychologist, I probably would have taken a single drop-in yoga class and never gone back. Because I committed to those first thirty days instead, I gave myself a chance to see what was there. One thing led to another, and three years later, that month of unlimited yoga led to quitting my job as an attorney and taking up a six-month vinyasa yoga teacher training.
A smart teacher you may know, Ursula, once told me that you can go around digging a bunch of shallow wells looking for water and come up with nothing, or you can try digging one well — staying in one spot and giving it time — and that’s where one day you’ll hit it.
So get on your mat and find some water.”
Thank you for sharing, Jean Marie!