"21 days, 5 days of yoga a week, 800 words of writing per day." I saw the badge for this challenge/project on a blog posting at The Reluctant Ashtangi site. The basic gist of this project is pretty self-explanatory: for a period of 21 days, members will practice yoga 5 days a week and then write 800 words about something--anything. I read that around 10:30 on the night it began (Tuesday, June 8) and immediately decided it was something I wanted and needed to do--though it would take me over an hour to figure out what to call my blog!
At the project's website, Bindu Wiles said that "the point is to get writing again daily..." and this struck a chord for me. Writing had always been one of my strongest skills--from the very first penmanship award I won in the second grade through the 5-20 page term papers I wrote throughout college. One of my English teachers in college used to tell us that if we couldn't figure out exactly what we wanted to write about, then to simply start writing. It didn't even have to be complete sentences or be grammatically correct. But through the simple act of putting pen to paper, a common theme would eventually emerge. That advice stuck and writing eventually became a way for me to literally see my thoughts in a very tangible way and be able to look back and see how things in my life evolved, or stayed constant.
However, my college writing skills aren't really necessary in my current job. And after many months of being unable to find a way out of the seemingly endless state of post-college limbo, I became very frustrated, un-motivated and un-inspired. Gradually, I wrote less and less. So this project is, in part, an effort to wake up my mind and keep my writing skills alive. Another thing on the project's site that caught my eye was the idea of this becoming a "container" for all the thoughts roaming around in my head. I found that incredibly ironic because my new roommate and I were discussing this very idea Monday night. She had used a huge 10-foot long piece of butcher-type paper to literally draw out and connect her ideas; and I used to write. So, again, the writing portion is an effort to re-build that "container." I had also been tossing around the idea of starting a blog for a while but had been reluctant to jump in. Part of me thought: "what's the difference between journal writing and blogging? In both places, you're just writing about what's going on in your head." True, but when you know that there is a possibility that someone might read it, your writing tends to change. For me, it becomes a little more cohesive and I tend to see myself with a little more humor and focus a little less on how frustrating my life seems. So, this project just might help repair my positive outlook :-)
The last thought that finally gave me that last nudge is something I often hear my yoga teachers say: "send it out there to the universe." I've seen the input and support that can come from the blogging community--occasionally I've even contributed input to someone else's blog, someone I don't even personally know! It's just someone who shares a common interest and passion. I tend to have a lot questions, musings and thoughts buzzing around my head but how am I supposed to get an answer or response if it just stays in my head--or in my notebook? "Put it out there for the universe." I have no idea what will come from making the spontaneous decision to join this project (literally at the last minute), or if I will continue blogging after 21 days is over, but it'll be an interesting experience either way :-)
Oh, I also practice yoga--a lot :-) Ashtanga, Forrest, Vinyasa, Yin, Kripalu, Restorative, AcroYoga...I even jumped into my very first Kundalini class last week. I find just about every style I've tried to be completely fascinating with a unique point of view to offer to the growing world of yoga. In the beginning, my practice had a very strong Forrest yoga influence--including an unforgettable week of intensives with Ana Forrest in October of 2009. But I felt like I was missing a foundation in my practice. I had never really settled on just one style or one teacher. So I added more Ashtanga classes and developed a very dedicated, 6-day a week Mysore practice for about 3-4 months...until persistent knee pains grew worse and encouraged another shift in my practice around yet again. As of now, I still go to Mysore a 2-3 days a week and am working on the Kurmasana sequence while having fun mixing the blood around in my head while doing drop-backs :-) But I also include some basic Vinyasa classes with some of my favorite teachers, the occasional Forrest class and an awesome class that's full of inversions and arm balances :-) Though yoga is a fairly new addition to my life (it'll be a full year in a couple of weeks) it has quickly become something I treasure, even if it has a tendency to occasionally be very confusing. Yoga is effecting me in ways that is often hard to understand myself let alone to be able to explain to or discuss with other people. So, I'm really looking forward to being able to discuss this part of my life with people who probably understand it better than I do.
So, that's what I've got for now. Until the next time, happy writing and blissful and rejuvenating yoga practice to everyone!