I’m starting to get into a rhythm.

The beginning: all mental. The battle begins and ends before I even walk into the room. “An hour and a half? You have to practice for ninety minutes? You can really do that? You’re going to do that? Today? Every day? In the future? When will you stop? That’s a lot!”

Walk in. Samasthiti. Three Aums. Inhale, arms overhead, gaze to the thumbs. Exhale swan dive.

I used to worry about Surya Namaskara B the entirety I was practicing A. “Oh man, that Warrior pose is difficult! Don’t you always feel so tired? And sweaty? And that’s just the start!”

Now I thoroughly and fully enjoy Surya Namaskara B. I love that deep stretch I feel in my groin and quad. The first beads of sweat that inform me shit’s about to get real. The strength of mind and body the Warrior pose instills in me.

I am gaining tremendous confidence in my body. I am realizing my body, not just my mind, has a memory of its own! It’s got my back! This is its coming out party!

“Adam, why so serious? We got this! Let us large muscle groups take over.”

All I have to do is light the match, so to speak. Inhale, arms overhead. Gaze to the thumbs. Exhale swan dive.

You only do two days: the day you get in, and the day you get out! – Avon Barksdale

It’s a lot like that. You only do two poses: Samasthiti (Mountain) and Savasana (Corpse).

There is a brilliant rhyme and reason to the practice that I am still exploring. The Standing Sequence has become that obnoxiously funny best friend. He pulls and tugs on you to explore the world, and you always end up bloody, dirty, and running away from trouble, tears streaming down your eyes from a mixture of terror and laughter.

The Primary Series? I’m not sure what that is yet. I’m still in my infancy of exploring it. But man, I’ve done Standing Sequence so many damn times… Still kicks my ass, but in a good way. Utthita Hasta Padangustasana? Oooooh, man!

Standing Sequence ends like a boss, though: Utkatasana (Fierce), Warrior 1 & Warrior 2. Self-explanatory, no?

Primary Series is big on endurance and focus. Physically it’s not challenging the big muscle groups so much. It’s pushing and pulling on both your mind and body. Hip openers. Hamstring. And Vinyasa after Vinyasa… Don’t forget to engage those bandhas! Yes, it requires tremendous focus and technique.

Finishing Sequence? That’s your rock-a-bye-baby. It starts out with a tremendous pain in the ass (Urdvha Dhanurasana might be both my favorite and least favorite posture; along with Utthita Hasta Padangustasana, it challenges me the most physically, but it opens up your back and shoulders like you wouldn’t believe!), but then it’s all about lengthening your inhales and exhales, preparing for the death of your practice.

And let’s not forget Sirsasana. I still get a little giddy every time I get into that one!

Tuesday, September 3:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B & C

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x2; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (7 breaths)

I was mentally, and a bit physically, out of wack here. Definitely taxed my ass! Traditionally you do 100 (lol) breaths in Tolasana; I normally do 10. Today I couldn’t go longer than 7 without straining.

Wednesday, September 4:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Much more sore today than yesterday. Ugh. Goddamn weights, fucking with my practice.

Well, I said I’d give it 12 weeks. I’ll deal with it for these 12 weeks. Small sample size. Don’t panic yet. Next week you’ll probably have minimal to no soreness. And, after that, no soreness.

Right?

Physically, though, the soreness isn’t a big deal. Not once you get warmed up. It’s mental. I realized today that I am more capable physically than mentally, as far as exercise goes. My body will do it, no problem. It’s my mindset that I have to get right.

I’m working on that. My self-talk is a lot more positive. Even today I was telling myself positive things, disciplined things. In the recent past? I would talk down throughout the entire practice, wondering how I could do it. Things have changed.

I forgot to mention yesterday that on Monday I did not practice at all. That was the first time in, oh, 26 days that I straight up missed/skipped a day. So 25 out of 26 days (the one missing day was the Full Moon, a scheduled day off) I was on point.

I could’ve done Sun Salutations that Monday. That was the plan. But I procrastinated. Allowed mental fatigue to talk myself out of it.

Just like today I could’ve done the entire practice. That was the plan. Then I thought about just doing Standing Sequence. Then I said, hey, Standing is the toughest; if you’re finishing that, do the whole practice! Then I got to the end of Standing and went into Finishing.

I talked myself into it. You see, it’s very hard for me to give an inch. It’s hard for me to listen to my body and give it a break. It’s hard for me to heed the emotional signs of incoming burnout.

I don’t know if that’s the case here. All I know is that, for the past 3-4 days, the loss of sleep — seriously, waking up every damn night (last night was no different) for two weeks straight results in deleterious effects, and they are seriously accumulating — has compromised my focus, hampered my body’s ability to recover, and dampened my optimism, resulting in me pushing through everything on pure will and fumes.

Tomorrow is a much-needed off day. Praise the Lord! My original strategy was to give everything I had heading into the off day, and then use the off day to recover completely. But now I don’t think that’s so wise. The soreness from lifting has shown me that it is unlikely I will be able to recover completely in just one day. I need to pace myself sometimes, too, even though I really don’t want to.

Take your lumps, consolidate your gains, look yourself in the eye, and be proud of what you are accomplishing, Adam. Missing a day and eschewing 1/3 of your practice doesn’t make you less of a man or a perfect, God-energy human being. Use tomorrow to recover. And you know you’ll attack the following two weeks with the same verve you’ve been bringing to your practice every morning.

September 5, Thursday:

New Moon

September 6, Friday:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Oh my God! Please help me! This was the hardest practice ever! No joke.

Why?! Mentally I was not into it. At all. I never got into it. Awful.

Physically I was tight. It felt like I hadn’t practiced for a week, not just a day.

I never got that warm either. My breath wasn’t on-point. I didn’t put my all into every Vinyasa. I did do the full Urdhva Dhanurasana three times, which was nice. And my Sirsasana felt great for those 15 breaths.

Ugh. I can’t even think or reflect on this. Just keep chuggin’ along. Still feel like I’m running on fumes. But I know this is the most important time of my life. One of the things I kept thinking was: What else are you doing? The day is long. I’m going to be awake for what,16 hours? What’s 90 minutes of taxing myself? Not much.

Just do it.

September 7, Saturday:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Muuuuch better. Whew!

Getting enough sleep helped a ton. Starting two degrees warmer helped. Getting the kinks out of my body yesterday helped set the table for a strong practice today!

Strong does not mean easy, however. The Primary Series is heavy on flexibility and vinyasas. My shoulders (the left is still recovering from the accident nearly 3 weeks ago) get soooo fatigued after so many take-it-up vinyasas, chaturangas, and Marichyasanas. And the flexibility in the groin, hips, hamstrings, lower back and obliques still need a lot of work.

The good news is that I like most of those poses, though. Seated ardha baddha is awesome! Janu Sirsasana A. My Janu Sirsasana B and C have improved leaps and bounds. Ditto Trianga. Paschimottanasa has always been one of my favorites.

Marichyasanas are still a pain in the ass, though.

The endurance catches up with you. Seated pose, vinyasa, seated pose (other side), repeat with variations, repeat, repeat, repeat… It’s a very different challenge from Standing Sequence.

September 8, Sunday:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (8 breaths)

Hard. Least I got through it.

Not even thinking about adding more poses. I need to stabilize.

Monday, September 9:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Challenging. But more doable than yesterday. Good practice.

Tuesday, September 10:

None

In hindsight I s’pose today’s practice was buried when I didn’t get up at 5. I could’ve. I even turned on the lights and prepared to write down my dreams. But I went back to sleep and didn’t get up ’til 7. From then, procrastination set in. And now it’s noon and all I’ve been thinking about are ways rationalizing not to do it.

Well, there is no rationalization. I’m still not at my goal of 13 consecutive days of >90 minute practice, but whatever. It’s a marathon, not a race.

Right now I’m too tired too care. I’m tired of being tired. Every fucking day I’m tired to varying degrees. And tomorrow I’ll probably be tired too. Now I have to get up at 5 AM and just deal with it every day until my body adjusts. There will be no more breaks until next Thursday.

Today I’m just going to eat eat eat eat eat.

Okay, I can’t just do nothing. I CAN’T LIVE WITH MYSELF IF I DO NOTHING! Just the Sun Salutations.

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Wednesday, September 11:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Hitting a wall. No inner fire today. No verve. No spunk. Just doing it.

Thursday, September 12:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D;  Parsvottanasana.

Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D; Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Utkatasana; Virabhadrasana A & B

Primary Series:

Dandasana; Paschimottananasa A, B, C; Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana; Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A, B & C

Marichyasana A, B, C & D

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana x3; Paschimottanasana

Sarvangasana (15 breaths)

Halasana; Karnapindasana

Urdhva Padmasana; Pindasana

Matsyasana; Uttana Padasana

Sirsasana A (15 breaths); Sirsasana B (5 breaths)

Baddha Padmasana; Padmasana; Tolasana (10 breaths)

Back on schedule! 5:30 AM son!

Mentally tired. Did it anyway. Today was very important to me in getting back on track. Good work.

Physically I could definitely add a couple of postures. But I am erring on the side of caution for now.

Friday, September 13:

Surya Namsakara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D

Yeesh. This is a first: I quit out in the middle!

Of course I fucking woke up at 2 AM. Of course I couldn’t get back to sleep until 4, 4:30, 5. I slept in ’til 8:30 overall. Just tired of my sleep fucking me over.

I had full intentions of doing the entire practice, but damn, I was just in a horrible mood. Nothing was loosening up. I go by the mindset of giving it your best shot for 15 minutes, and if I still feel like it’s the last place in the world I want to be, I quit out.

I’ve never actually had to quit using that strategy until this morning.

Right now I’m feeling regrets. Part of me wants to go start all over again and do the whole thing. But a much bigger part of me is wise enough to realize that I’m getting trapped in a perfectionist cycle where I’m only of value when I’m all, and of zero value when I’m nothing. Part of me feels more valuable if I do nothing 100% than if I do something at an incomplete percent.

This is illogical, self-destructive thinking grounded in unconscious, unhealthy emotional patterns. I don’t really know what to do about it.

I’m just going to take it one day at a time. Being careful. Okay, this is just today’s practice. It doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on tomorrow. Don’t bring yesterday’s practice into today’s, or today’s into tomorrow’s.

So I am not going to “fall off” anything else just because practice didn’t work as I would prefer. I planned on biking and running; I will. I planned on continuing my quality food intake; I will. I planned on going to sleep at 8 PM again, and waking up at 5 AM; God willing, I will.

And this is just a bump in the road that offers a valuable lesson to potentially be unearthed.

Saturday, September 14:

None

Decided to take the day off. Was talking with a friend and I will end up taking his indirect advice to chill out. I’m getting tunnel vision, becoming way too hard on myself, self-destructive perfectionist tendencies, etc.

Chill the fuck out. I’ve made significant progress. My loyalty to the practice is not a doubt. Consistency is not the same as perfection.

Sunday, September 15:

This is really hard for me to do and admit to, but I’m going to operate on intuition/faith here and take a break.

I’m not going to slank off in my other pursuits. But I’m also not going to kill myself to live up to this external image of perfection that’s just an amorphous of propaganda, inadequacy, upbringing, and insecurity.

Why am I trying to impress “someone” anyway? That someone doesn’t exist in reality but only in my mind.

It’s much more important to make consistently tiny progress over the long-term than dramatic progress only to fall flat on my face and send myself hurtling into depression. That’s what has happened again and again in the past, but by golly, I am determined to break that pattern! And to break that pattern means to enter new and uncharted waters.

I don’t know when I’ll do my routine again. Maybe tomorrow. At the latest it will be next Friday, the day after the New Moon.

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