Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 45 -- Habits

Three fourths of the way through the Sixty-Day Challenge! WOW.

My brother-in-law Bruce, aka my "yoga Yoda," counseled me to start thinking about what my yoga practice would look like after the Challenge is over. I've taken his advice and pondered. I see myself going on weekdays except Tuesday, and on Saturdays. No Sundays. I think I'd be happy with going to class four to five times a week.

I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's new book, Better than Before, in which she discusses how different people go about changing their lives for the better. She talks a lot about the power of habit, for good or for bad. I'm only about a quarter of the way through it, but already I've learned that I'm what Rubin calls an "obliger." I'm really good at keeping my commitments to others (which is why the group Challenge has worked so well for me), but not so good at keeping promises I make only to myself. I'm looking forward to learning about the strategies Rubin suggests for helping someone like me make and keep better habits.

One habit I've learned the hard way to maintain is electrolyte replacement. I've noticed a strong correlation between great classes, in which I feel strong and able, and consistent, careful hydration. Plain water is not enough. If you find yourself craving Fritos or other salty stuff, you need to replace electrolytes. But you probably need to anyway, if you're doing Bikram's yoga on a regular basis.

Here's my recipe for homemade "Gatorade":

1 quart water
1/3 cup juice or frozen fruit
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons honey, or other natural sweetener to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender with a few ice cubes. Whirl it up on high until the fruit and ice are blended. I like to make lots of different flavors from day to day. The frozen fruits I like best are either mixed berries or mango. The juices I prefer are either lemon or orange, preferably fresh-squeezed.

Drink all of it a couple of hours before class, then drink another batch afterward. I'm telling you: HUGE DIFFERENCE in my perception of how hot the room is, how focused I'm able to be, etc.

Byron was back from vacation today. He's another teacher with extensive knowledge of the postures and the human body. I learn from him every time I take his class. Today, he not only changed my understanding of Locust pose, he also confirmed my instinct that Camel is an amazing releasing posture. I'm still working on them all, building the habit of mind-body connection. Onward!

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