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This is how we do it. sometimes.

In 2020, the New York Times suggests that to channel our best selves, we be more like Jonathan Van Ness. He likes to end unwanted conversations with a thoughtful Namaste.

I was hard-pressed on Jan. 1 to channel my best self… interestingly enough at a yoga studio. I like the instructor’s style and have taken several classes with her. But in general, I am not a fan of the practice by some yoga teachers to crank up the music during power vinyasa and other classes. This class I attended was a standard vinyasa flow class and about halfway through, the instructor cranked up the music.

I have tinnitus or ringing in the ears from going to too many loud concerts when I was younger, which is another reason why I find loud music at yoga classes particularly frustrating. When the music is cranked up in class, I find it hard to hear the instructor and it bothers my ears.

When this took place in class, I turned to the instructor, who was right behind me and asked her to please turn down the music a bit (this was about the second or third time she had progressively turned the music up). She nodded and then walked in front of me, turned and gave me side eye and practically sneered: This is how we do it, sometimes. She then turned down the music for a few seconds and then cranked it back up.

It was all that I could do to not walk out of class. I decided to tough it out… this was yet another challenge presented in class… not unlike hearing loud noises outside and still needing to stay present and mindful in class.

“This is how we do it, sometimes,” as if I was not part of the class and was an outsider that day. I bet if she asked the class, I would not be the only one bothered by the loud music, but I was the only one willing to speak up.

My 2020 is off to a good start, despite that odd interaction in the Jan. 1 yoga class. I’m doing Dry January again this year, and I feel really good about it and starting the year off healthy. In December, I had some blood work done, overdue from last summer. Amazingly, my numbers came back very good. I also had my first mammogram in four years, with nothing abnormal.

I will likely not take another class with that instructor, given that I have the power to choose. And when I do see her, I’ll be sure to relay an extra special Namaste a la JVN.

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Days 10 & 11 of 40: Pranayama

Man practicing pranayama

One-quarter of the way through, and it’s working (or I’m working; smile). 90 minutes of yoga on Monday night and last night, a 45-minute walk home from work. The latter was not planned, but the cool air on my face, with a little fall of rain at first, felt so nice after being inside nearly all day.

On Monday night, Steve started out class by talking about pranayama. As he explained and as you’ll see on Wikipedia, the word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Pran, meaning life force (particularly, the breath, which we need more than food and water) and yama, to extend or draw out.

We did some kapalabhati, or breath of fire, which is basically short, explosive exhales through the nose. I’ve realized recently that it really gives your abs a workout, too.

Steve talked about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and getting used to suffering as part of finding ever-present peace in whatever happens in life. I’m probably running lots of his thoughts together. But it makes sense for me and the things that I’ve gone through recently in life, and continue to struggle with. And it’s probably true for the things that we all go through in life on a regular basis. Just saying. We sat for 15 minutes at the start of class, and Steve said that if we could do this every day, it’s a great start of a meditation practice. (Highlight of the class: A local music celeb was in class. I felt like a 12-year-old girl for most of the night, and all of next day. Constant. smirk.)  

Tuesday night, I walked to REI after work to get new swim goggles (no more raccoon eyes). The cool-ish air and almost rain felt nice on my skin. The walk to REI was around 10 minutes or so, and I knew the total walk home was 45 minutes. So after REI, I walked it all the way home, and it felt pretty great. I’m slightly obsessed right now with a song from Glee (“This is the New Year”) and I kept hitting repeat while walking it (and me) home.