Journal entry from day 1. Original date: 1.1.10.

So today was day 1 of the challenge. DAY ONE!!! I took class at 10am. On my way to the studio the sky was bright and I felt good (read: not hung-over). And I’ll admit it; I don’t think I’ve experienced a hangover free New Year’s Day in quite some time. But I knew this year would have to be different. I originally thought the morning class would be my only option for practicing today, so I opted to host a low-key New Year’s Eve celebration with Mike and Sarah. As is turned out, the studio did hold class at 4pm today also- meaning I probably could have partied harder last night and slept it off this morning as per my usual New Year’s ritual. I’m glad I didn’t though. Starting 2010 off differently was a good way to set the tone for this challenge, as I know life is going to be very different for at least the next 100 days.

When I got to the studio there was a good energy; Jenn was teaching and everyone seemed to be bristling with New Year’s fervor, invigorated by the clean slate 2010 has to offer. (By the way, I say things like “energy” now. Nina thinks I’m going to be an incense-burning, crystal-toting, new-age hippie by the time this challenge is over. I told her to just please make sure I don’t start wearing patchouli. That’s where I draw the line.) I was there decently early, so I staked out my spot in the front of the hot room and just relaxed on my mat before class.

After a quick high-five from Charlie, a teacher and fellow challenge participant, class started… just as usual. No fanfare. No pomp. No Circumstance. And to my surprise, my mood matched. I had thought and maybe even hoped that I would experience some sort of inaugural-like swell of emotion today, but there I was doing deep breathing (Pranayama) and it seemed like just another day in class. Hmmm. It was day 1 of a 101-day Bikram challenge, but instead of feeling overwhelmed I felt… the same?

I didn’t let myself get hung up on the fact that I wasn’t feeling in class the way I expected to feel. I’ve learned this is a quick way to ruin some perfectly good yoga. (I also know it’s better to just not have any expectations. Period. Alas, I’m not there yet.) I let it go and tried to focus. Then suddenly, it hit me; I had already been all juiced up emotionally in the weeks leading up to the challenge. I cried A LOT while having inner monologues like: Can I really do this? Logistically how will I work it out? It’s a big commitment and I’m commitment-phobic. But I need to commit to something- that’s part of why I started practicing. This could change my life. I’ll have to sacrifice though. And what if I fail? I’m not good at being not good at things…

I realized all of that was the first round of emotional stuff. It came before the challenge even began. But by making the decision to do it and showing up for the first class on the first day of a new year – consciously starting off differently than in years past – I had already quelled my first surge of emotion. Therefore, what I felt in class today was different than what I expected. On day 1 I felt peace.

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