This week was all about “Restoration” and it was beautiful. I discovered restorative Yoga classes at Yoga Loft Newcastle, made it through the 3 day fruit cleanse, stacked it to the amusement of the class whilst trying to pull off something new, and had my suspicions on how to obtain real power confirmed….
Week 4 commenced with the 3 day fruit fast or “feast” as we were encouraged to call it! I loaded up on fruit, buying a vast array of different seasonal fruits and some of the prescribed vegetables. I ate fruit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 days punctuated with freshly made juices. We were also allowed avocado so these topped with Chia Seeds and diced tomato became a regular snack.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t enjoy the 3 day fruit fast. I’m used to eating a carefully considered balanced diet that’s designed to fuel my life and the energy requirements of daily Yoga practice and running. Over the course of the 3 days I craved whole foods and my meditation was distracted with thoughts of steak, pasta, and coffee! I also use supplements including protein and I definitely noticed the absence of these in my diet. The 3 day fruit fast definitely gave me a fresh appreciation for freshly made juices and I have since integrated these into my daily diet experimenting with all sorts of fruit, vegetable, nut, and seed combinations.
During the 3 day fruit fast I found the Yoga classes more difficult. At one stage I retreated to the Asana of Childs pose due to dizziness…. I felt that my body didn’t react well to the fast, my muscles felt like they had little power and physically I certainly didn’t feel as strong as usual. As a result of this I used my rest day for the week on the 3rd day of the fast telling myself this was allowing me to seek “restoration”! In all honesty I doubted my ability to get through the 90 minute evening hot power Vinyasa flow yoga class after a morning run, busy day and only fruit.
Interestingly upon resuming my normal diet I noticed a renewed sense of vitality and energy. My body seemed to be working better and more efficiently – or was this just because I was no longer starving myself!? I’m not sure… I wouldn’t go out of my way to do a 3 day fruit fast again instead advocating a balanced diet with fruit as a major component. If your diet is rubbish and contains a large amount of processed foods, salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine this will probably be beneficial for you.
“Slowing down to speed up”
Towards the end of the week I took a few restorative Yoga classes instead of the usual hot power Vinyasa flow classes. These are focused on restoration and aimed at improving flexibility whilst promoting a sense of relaxation. The Asana’s are held for much longer and there is the opportunity to push the body a little further promoting expansion. This was an enjoyable and surprisingly challenging experience – it highlighted for me the areas of my body where I carry tension and compression allowing me to work on them in the future thus improving my regular practice. These classes are great for those new to Yoga, runners, and athletes looking to restore after an event or game.
“This is how you become powerful.” J Henderson
In a previous post on ParallelLiving.net I’ve explored the benefits of meditation and it’s my belief that when practiced daily in addition to exercise and good nutrition that we become powerful and capable of achieving anything we desire. This is the required trinity for power living which cultivates vitality, equanimity, awareness and mental discipline. It’s my belief that mental discipline is one of the essential traits of successful individuals.
The 40 days to personal revolution program has highlighted this again for me because as a result of showing up to Yoga class each day, working hard, meditating, and eating well I’m not only strengthening my body but also my mind resulting in greater focus, clarity, and better results in life.
To me this is how one becomes truly powerful. True power is internal power. The ability to focus, choose what to think, decide what meaning to assign to life’s experiences, and the ability to ensure that our actions are aligned with our intentions.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no less of enthusiasm.” W. Churchill
At class tonight when trying something new – a tripod headstand from some radical upside down Asana I don’t even know the name of I went up and then came crashing down landing straight on top of the girl next to me! As a result we ended up in a sweaty Twister like pile of arms, legs, and laughs. Thankfully the only thing that was bruised was my ego, there were a few chuckles and I was delighted to have brought a smile to several people’s faces in the class as a result of my uncoordinated display.
A short time later I watched one of my class mates try something similar for the first time and they pulled it off successfully resulting in a sense of achievement, increased Yoga esteem, and a smile! We always talk about getting out of our comfort zone in class – well that’s how it happens. Do something next class that you have never done before and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Gandhi
At tonight’s meeting resentment was raised again. I touched on this in last week’s blog post and didn’t expand on my feelings here as I wanted to consider it over the course of the week. Resentment is poisonous. If allowed in it will pollute your thoughts, words, and as a result can influence your actions. I personally strive to ensure this toxic sensation isn’t allowed to take up any of my mental resources however this takes work and is where I find meditation helps, strengthening my ability to me to choose what to think and feel as opposed to simply reacting.
In my opinion resentment is not resourceful and its presence indicates a lack of individual mental fortitude. It’s for those who do not have the courage to look internally or who would rather exist in the destructive cycle of blame, anger and resentment. Resentment distracts you from the present and prevents you from moving forward.
Instead of resentment I choose to create space – this doesn’t mean you need to invest time or mental energy into the situation or person that seemed (because it wasn’t them it was in fact you!) to result in the sensation of resentment instead you simply move on and have the courage to resist the mental urge to pursue these destructive sensations and most importantly refrain from negative words and talk to others as this further propagates the sensation! This takes real courage and discipline however it’s the sign of an enlightened warrior and a powerful individual!
What others think of you is none of your business…
Interestingly at the weekly meeting tonight at Yoga Loft Newcastle our wonderful instructor asked what the reaction had been from colleagues, family, and friends as result of our commitment and participation in Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. The overwhelming majority of people were praised by family and friends who had encouraged and supported the transformation and transition to a more powerful version of themselves. (High five to my class mates!)
For the men the issue of the usual jokes being made about Yoga being for girls and their masculinity being questioned as a result of their Yoga practice was mentioned. As one of my fellow male Yogi’s pointed out the majority of those criticizing or making fun wouldn’t last 15 minutes in a 90 minute hot power Vinyasa flow Yoga class let alone have the mental discipline or courage required to complete the 40 days to personal revolution program!
Now we commence Week 5 and it’s all about “Centering”…
I look forward to sharing my experience with you at the conclusion of week 5.
See you on the mat!