Monday, June 28, 2010


Today is the final day of the Bindu Wiles writing-and-yoga challenge.

If I’ve learned nothing else in the past 20 days, it’s that writing 800 words can go relatively smoothly when there’s a lot going on. But on boring, ordinary days (which most days are), it can be VERY difficult.

There were so many days when I sat in front of my computer, glassy-eyed and seized with horrible writers block. I kept having flashbacks to the almost-daily writing panics I used to have in graduate school, when I was expected to regurgitate 50 pages of academic horseshit every other day.

On average, I write 383.7 words per day on this blog (that’s a real statistic!). During the past 20 days, I almost tripled that output. Somehow, by writing more words than usual, I created an expectation in my mind: If I’m going to write an ESSAY, well, it had better be a damned good one! I spent hours on some of these posts, editing them, re-reading them for clarity. And in order to write and essay, I needed compelling and interesting topics. I spent hours excavating my brain for topics that were compelling enough to write about.

Twenty days ago, it felt like my brain was full of interesting material to draw from, but that well is running dry. Stretching out ahead of me, I see a long, hot summer filled with ordinary, mundane, posts: practice reports, what-I-ate-for-lunch, testimonies of Princess Fur’s cuteness and an occasional meltdown announcement. And there will likely be backbending, lots of backbending.

I’m about to get boring again. Starting tomorrow. Just a warning...

Instead of writing anything of substance to cap off my participation in the challenge, I’m going to beg off with a lame recap of everything I’ve written over the past 20 days, with links. It’s an index of sorts:

Day 1: Gremlin report, practice report, and I had some kind of woo-woo experience in Baddha Konasana B

Day 2: A dinosaur invades my left big toe and my foot suddenly smells exactly like Italian food

Day 3: I reminisce about my first few weeks at the Shala and wonder why it took so long for my brain to join me there

Day 4: My visit to the Mysore room at Shala North and the discovery that DR has secret madskillz in calf roping

Day 5: This is the day I didn’t have a single coherent thought, so I regurgitated several incoherent thoughts instead (but there’s some good stuff on backbending)

Day 6: Reflecting on the perils of online writing, anonymity and sharing your Crazypants moments with complete strangers, online

Day 7: Exploring discomfort as part of my yoga practice

Day 8: Despite my love of discomfort, I discover that I’m not suffering enough

Day 9: Blogging suddenly gets complicated, so I muse about my first months doing the practice, plus Pingu makes a special guest appearance

Day 10: Adjusting to adjustments - learning to trust and trying not to lose my mind

Day 11: A few important lessons I’ve learned from my dog, the spectacular Princess Fur

Day 12: The Astanga community and why I think it’s essential to my practice

Day 13: In this post, I managed to build 800 words from insomnia, a boring practice report and a really excellent South Indian Thali

Day 14: I get all touch-feely and explore my relationship with tradition in context to Astanga vinyasa yoga

Day 15: I slay the dinosaur, give up SUGAR! and my gremlin moves into my left hamstring, then I lose my shit at the grocery store

Day 16: Salsa dancing with elephants and figuring out what to do with my gremlin, now that she’s really gone nuts

Day 17: My practice is ordinary, but my jumpbacks/throughs start to take off

Day 18: Second visit to Shala North, alien invasion of an Iyengar studio, indian food with April, and YogiToes gets the boot

Day 19: Riots break out in my city, my home Shala shuts down, while I sit at home and eat carob-nut clusters

Day 20: “The More I Teach, the Stupider I Get”, also: I take my practice to Shala North as a riot refugee, experience workshop awesomeness, and DR helps me stand up from a backbend

Looking back over the past 20 days, my life almost seems interesting! ;-) It goes without saying: I did yoga every single day (that was part of the challenge). Often, I did 1.5 hours or more. That’s the life of an Ashtangi! It’s not even that remarkable.

Final Writing Tally: 21,603 words over 21 days with an average of 1,028.71 words per day.

Phew! I think I’ll go write a haiku now.


Practice report:

I felt happy to be back at my home shala after a weekend of refugee status. As I did my finishing poses at Shala North on Sunday, I started feeling really ‘homesick’ for Shala Central and my teachers. It was comforting to be back in that familiar space, with familiar people, my practice routine and the cheerful sunbeams flowing through the windows. I had an unremarkable practice - the very best kind! I got a great adjustment in Urdhva Dhanurasana. I blissed out a little bit in Savasana.


sarah said...

For me it was wonderful to have an experience with an external beginning and end that in fact had no beginning and end. It was the conditional nature of my mind that changed for these 21 days - letting in an awareness of the other 500+ people exploring, suffering, surfing and dribbling through too. The yoga is continuous yet there is an openness from reading others' experiences. And the writing is a natural part of me too, sometimes focused on deeper levels and sometimes just "ordinary." I am grateful to know you here in blog-land... your practice is like a strand of music I can hear when the wind blows a certain way. So beautiful. Thank you for putting up with this strange buzzing fly on the cyber wall.

Kaivalya said...

Thanks for all of your great comments - I've enjoyed hearing from you!