I am a writer

This week, to bolster my chances of keeping the goals/resolutions I set for myself, I attended two yoga intention setting workshops.

The first workshop was held at Capitol Hill Yoga on New Year’s Day. I had no idea what to expect. I went in thinking, “drink less bottled water, be more outwardly and innerly graceful, finish writing my novel.” I came out with my higher purpose.

CHY owner Stacey DeGrasse initially threw me off-guard by explaining we weren’t there to set resolutions but to determine our sankalpa. What the hell is a sankalpa, I thought. Now that I know, let me explain. While a resolution is a determination to do something, a sankalpa is a vow we make to support our higher purpose. Your sankalpa has to be heartfelt, authentic, easily stated in a simple phrase, and able to be stated in the present as if it is already fulfilled. Stacey recommended to the group, a mix of people who had never made a resolution to those who set numerous ones each year, that we focus on only one sankalpa. But definitely no more than two or three. (I mean, really, one? This is DC after all.)

It didn’t take but a millisecond for me to realize my sankalpa. While the action required to achieve it is the goal I went into the session with (to finish writing my novel) my sankalpa is: I am a writer. Once it was clear, I felt energized. I did an hour of hot yoga to seal the deal and came out eager to get to my computer. I’ve barely left its side since then, clocking about 6,000 words (and hours of editing) over the last few days. Not that they’re all quality words, but in the moment I’m all about quantitative progress.

I almost canceled workshop number two, held at Flow Yoga Center. When you know your higher purpose, you know your higher purpose, right? However, teacher¬†April Puciata’s workshop was also valuable in helping me root my sankalpa. Her session actually felt like a continuation of the first workshop. She walked us through a deep meditation from which I emerged with my sankalpa firmly planted in my core. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer.

And I got a little nap in too.

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mirror, mirror on the yogic wall

Since having a life-balance-happiness epiphany in a yoga class in New York my friend Margaret brought me to in August, I’ve been trying to incorporate more of the practice into my life.

My first thought was to test a few different studios, taking advantage of the “one month unlimited” deals that many offer for new students. While studio hopping made me feel a bit of a yoga slut, it did expose me to some different places for relatively cheap. (They suck you in, make you like them, then triple the price, but it’s all in the name of inner harmony, right?)

My first stop was a small studio-not-to-be-named in Columbia Heights. The commute was awful. Parking was worse. And many who practice there eschew leg shaving. And some, deodorant. I know it sounds shallow, but I like my yoga pretty.

Next I tried Flow in Logan Circle. I like it there. A lot. Except its fiscally challenging location: next to Whole Foods and across the street from Lululemon. Though in a private deal I made with myself when I splurged on a regularly priced full month of unlimited classes, I can only go into Whole Foods if feeding my children is dependent upon it. And no more Lulu visits unless I forget to pack yoga pants. Unintentionally forget, that is.

Capitol Hill Yoga offers a pleasant setting and challenging classes that aren’t over-crowded, but the schedule rarely seems to work with mine. (Though for those who have workplace flexibility, I highly recommend the 4:00 class on Mondays taught by Joan.)

Last week, Nancy and her neighbor Riikka invited me to join them for hot yoga at Mind the Mat. And when I say invited, I mean I crashed on their plans to do yoga and then cook a fabulous holiday dinner. (But I made up for inserting myself by contributing my new favorite dish, Leek, Shiitake and Truffle Risotto.)

And this is where the mirror comes in.

I’d never done yoga in front of a mirror. After four relatively short months of yoga practice, I was feeling pretty good. In my heart, my “Warrior Two” is solid. I gracefully move from “Reverse the Warrior” to “Triangle Pose” with ease. I look strong and determined and lean. But the mirror told a different story… I was like who is this clumsy, uneven person trying to do yoga in front of me? Yeah. Right. That’s me.

But it’s not how you look, it’s how you feel. And I felt great after class. The ultimate and universal beauty advice applies across the board. Did you put on a few extra pounds over the holidays? But enjoy yourself doing it? It’s all good. Maybe you aren’t any closer to becoming a yoga instructor than you are into fitting into the jeans formerly known as your favorite pair. But if you are living honestly and happily, you’ll glow on the outside.

Just remind me never to bring a love interest to yoga class.