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Completed the 40-day Yoga Challenge

Hello Yogi and Yogini and other non-practicing folks.

A few weeks ago ( 6, to be precise ) I informed you all about my plan to undertake a 40-day commitment to daily practice of yoga at Austin’s own YogaYoga. Along the way I updated you with blog posts using the Polish Notation syntax familiar to programmers of LISP.

Well, 40 days are up and I am glad to report that I completed this challenge on the 29th of July.

Furthermore, I have brought my beautiful girlfriend in on the practice and we are both enjoying the benefits of regular practice. Yoga is good, yoga with a buddy is better, and yoga with your girl is even better.

When I started this challenge, I definitely had some goals in mind:

Having completed the time goal, I wonder if it is even worth mentioning whether or not I succeded in these bulleted points. I don’t think so.

One of my teachers said something very profound the other day about the practice. She said that the desire to “do yoga” and “do a pose” was rather wrong-headed. It is not the goal of yoga to accomplish a particular asana or pose ( what then, the student might well ask! ), it’s to experience that moment of difficulty, to respect that moment of difficulty, and to let it pass without judgment. The goal is to learn to appreciate all moments, to live in the present. To submit your will to that of the most high, to yoke the two together.

It’s so often the case that we get tied up in ‘production’ - regardless the activity - even when the activity is to stop production.

I want some inner peace here! I’m gonna do me some yoga, master them krinkly poses and then I’ll be done, dammit.

or…

I’m gonna meditate myself some patience. C'mon….c'mon….

It’s this sort of thinking that, quite contrary to the function of yoga, actually winds up enforcing the presence of the ego. How can one commune with the will of the divine if one is asserting the mastery of his body? The gritting control that says ‘shut up you wussy muscles’ and disrespects the body certainly would fare quite poorly in hearing the little, quiet voice of The Lord inside.

This makes good segueway into the next obvious question which would be “What are the results from your practice?”. Again, to speak of results here is a bit misguided, but to inspire others ( I hope? ) I will note that I certainly have lost fat in my stomach ( so that I didn’t confuse action with result I forebade myself to step upon a scale ), my back is much more taut, and I feel much more healthy. It’s only 75 minutes a day and it provides such wonderful benefit.

A final benefit is that during this time, when Lauren and I have had discussions about subjects that are difficult for all relationships (money, goals, savings, will Steven please do the laundry), we stop, take time to go to class, and then our discussion always seems much more fruitful. Perhaps because yoga is such a focused killer of the ego, and ego is such a focused assassin of relationships, after yoga, our discussions seem to operate from what we agree on and what’s most important to both of us in the future. We seem to be better understanding of one another. These opportunities for genuine understanding would make the class fee worth twice its cost.

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