Yoga, Gratitude and the Lottery

lotto

One of my heroes (and former colleague last summer) Seth Godin once told a story about the importance of being grateful. The story reminded me a lot of the Yama, Aparigraha, which is being grateful for what we have. The story went something like this.

There are more than 5 Billion people in the world. Now, imagine each one of them participates in a mandatory lottery. Imagine that printed on each ticket were the circumstances that would dictate the rest of each person’s life. And imagine these were the numbers on the ticket:

• Race
• Sex
• Birthplace
• Government
• Parent names, income and jobs
• IQ (normal distribution)
• Weight, height, hair color, etc.
• Personality traits
• Health risks

First, if you are reading this blog post online right now, it’s likely that you had a pretty good ticket.

Further, if you practice yoga at a studio here in the US, the same thing is probably true.

But if you think about the entire world, the probability of you drawing a “good” ticket would seem improbable. The chance of you being born in a city US, with an average IQ, normal income, good health, good parents is 1 in a billion. Let alone having internet, attending college and belonging to a yoga studio.

When you look at it this way, practicing gratitude becomes way more obvious. And while it isn’t something I’m always good at, it has proven me to be one of the most extraordinary ways of living a better life. Helping me to not just be content but also to be more generous to everyone around me.

So I am going to dedicate the next part of the 100 days to being grateful. And I hope a few others will join me. Let us spread gratitude for the generous ticket we’ve been offered. Let us be grateful for the time and space to practice yoga. And let our light shine so others can do the same.

Namaste!

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Three weeks in …

Namaste Yogi Warriors.

Yes, warriors. For three weeks you have battled and endured Chicago’s coldest weather in 20 years and come out victorious. And you’ve have probably enjoyed Warrior poses in 100 degree studios more than ever.  Actually see below for proof of some of those poses over last ten or so days. Keep up the epic work!

Namaskar!

 

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Linnea defying gravity!

!Linnea

Nolan doing Ninja Yoga

Nolan doing flips

Yasemin posted about her love for yoga!

Photo from Yasemin

Lilly posting a photo of Dancer’s pose

Lilly

Ashley J with friends

Ashley J with friends

Danielle and Bobby on a vacation in the sun

Danielle and Bobby

Hector on Day 8 or 9.

Hector

Dominika doing art!

Dominika

Lauren doing what she does best (having fun with Yogis!)

lauren singer making magic

Andrea in another pose

Andrea

An empty yoga studio at 6AM.  Hmmmmm

Studio

Someone creeping on Jeremy (and his cool dragon yoga pants) while doing a armstand

JCW

 

Practice everyday. Shun the non-believers

Isn’t CrossFit a better workout? Why do you like that Teacher X? Why would you do yoga for 100 days straight?

skeptics

Since starting the 100 Day Challenge, I’ve run into people who asked me those questions, including just yesterday which prompted this post.  People skeptical about the idea of 100 days … as though I only do yoga for the physical workout.  And little did they know that Teacher X happens to be one of my favorites (and a Yogi 1oo participant).

At first thought, I almost became a little defensive forgetting that patience has been one important lesson I’ve continued to learn my practice.  But since starting, it’s become more obvious than ever that a regular practice is critical.

Every time I get on my mat, the results of how I treated my body the previous day are right there for me to witness.  I get immediate feedback on how hard I practiced last week, how much food I ate the night before, and how present I am at the onset of class. The more I practice these things, the easier the asanas are, the stronger I get, the more I start to see change right in front of me, and the less surprised I am when I flow into poses that once seemed impossible.  (Just yesterday I floated into two new awesome handstand poses! … and forearm stands have never been easier)

In short, the repetition and commitment to the practice makes you feel better, become stronger and shine brighter.

Shun the non-believers.

The two ways I go to yoga classes

Studio

A few days ago, I took a 6:30 A.M. class and arrived about 30 minutes early.  Not only did I get to warm up and meditate before class but I also had one of my best classes in a while.  The whole process got me thinking that this probably wasn’t a coincidence.

There are two ways I tend to go to a yoga class.

The first (probably the most common) is to leave my place right on time, do my best to take the shortest route possible, repeatedly look at the clock, and then start moving faster and faster to be sure I make. By the time I get to the front door, I realize that I am breathing hard and barely going to make it.

The second way is to leave for the studio 20 minutes earlier. Create buffer time for the walk over and get 20 minutes of time to relax, warm up and meditate in class.

When I travel the first way, I’m sure to get stressed out. Sure, I maximize my time but I also maximize chances of missing class, sweating by the time I get to my mat and not having enough space or focused energy to start practice well.

On the other hand, when I travel the second way, there’s no chance of missing class. I also have time to meditate, stretch and relax before class.  When I travel this way, the class goes better every single time.

In most cases, option #1 is more tempting but option #2 is always far better. And that change only costs 20 minutes.

Perhaps an idea worth considering outside of yoga as well.

Namaste!

Happenings from Week 1

Namaste Yogis and Yoginis! Great seeing so much energy this week.  From those making use of home practice, to others drudging through the snow, to one of our Yogis practicing in Canada and another practicing on the road at the airporpt!

Here are some photos from the week, most of which are posted because they didn’t make the blog!

Lisa (and her puppy) practicing in the light!

Lisa in the Light

Liz doing Acroyoga at home

Liz Home Practice

Dominika (our most prolific blogger so far) showing that the snow cannot stop her!

Dpminika in the Snow

Christine’s Home Space Away from Home

Christine Home Practice

Darrah practicing with a few friends

Darrah

Andrea excited to get started on Day 1.

Andrea on Day 1

Michelle practicing at DFW. Very nice!

Michelle from DFW

Leigh, Hector and Vivian having some acro-fun on Day 7

Leigh on Day 7

Carla practicing on Day 1.  We found you!

Carla on Day 1

Maggie defying gravity

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Kim doing yoga … or flying.

Kim Maybe Doing Yoga

Mariel showing us what is possible on day 101. Well maybe for you.

Mariel

More to come later! Namaste friends!

Yoga 100

The power of once a day. Drip by drip.

Once a day is easier said than done of course. There are over 360 days and more than 200 working days a year. No matter how you slice it, it’s a lot and it’s way more than the 21 days they say it take to create a habit. Basically in our 100 days of yoga, we’re creating a habit 5 times over.

I think about some of my other attempts to do things that may not have gone so well. The failed attempt to floss every day. Check Facebook less. Or call friends more often. The reason they don’t work is that I didn’t change habits.

But committing to doing things up front does wonders. I recently did my first 100 days of yoga at the end of 2013.  Within a week of starting, I knew I wouldn’t be giving it up anytime soon and committed to it. The first 75 days were really hard. I scrambled to the studio most days, barely made it into class and still forgot my towel half the time. But by day 76 everything was exactly the opposite. It was a lot harder to not go to class. To miss how good I felt. To mess up my routine. And after taking just a single day off, I went 50 more days in a row leading up to this challenge. All because I committed up front.

In the end, I learned that you don’t all of a sudden get new habits, you build them. One day at a time. One asana at a time. One drip of sweat at a time.

The yoga isn’t the hard part (especially for the amazing Yogi’s participating here), it’s the commitment. Making time. Going once a day.

Drip, drip, drip.

sweat

Inspirational video on never giving up

Yo Yo Yogis!

This is a must see video.  I love stories like this, ones that help us understand what we could we accomplish in our lives if we didn’t give up.

Another reason I love this video is because it shows yoga can create change.  This is great inspiration as we head into the 100-day yoga challenge starting in 5 days on 2/1.

More people need to see this! But be warned it’s a tear jerker.

Blog emails to come out tonight

6 days left

Six more days until the 100 day challenge begins.  Please CLICK HERE and send me your email address if you haven’t yet.  The blog email message will be going out tonight.

Wondering why you should blog? Well …

The great philosopher Krishnamurti was once asked, “Do we learn from experience?” His answer was, “No! We don’t learn from experience. We learn what we choose to learn from experience. The time we carve out to meditate, reflect and write gives us the chance to truly learn from what we experience.

As such, the blog will be our primary platform for stories. The more we blog the more we’ll remember about our journey on day 101.

Namaste!

Quotes 100daysofyoga

11 days until we begin: next steps

Quotes.100daysofyoga(Challenge)

Yogi’s!

Only 11 days left until we start the 100 day yoga challenge.  Here are a few next steps to help us create a more communal and fun experience.

1.  Sign up to contribute to the blog.  You can do that by contacting us, messaging Jeremy on Facebook, or commenting on the blog post below and we can get your email address there.

2.  Sign up for the Facebook Event Group that one of our favorite members created!  This is a space we will use for updates. Thanks Lauren!

3. Let us know if you want to be added to the list of participants or know anyone else that should be.

4.  Send us any ideas you have for group class meet-ups.  We have lots of teachers participating, and we should support them by attending their class when possible!

Namasté

Blog about your 100 days

photo

Many people taking part in the challenge will be blogging about their 100 days.  Just like many of you kept a journal in your yoga teacher trainings to really learn from the experience, keeping a journal during these 100 days will be a powerful tool and help us to learn, know and teach better.

Learn from your fellow Yogis by reading about what they are thinking and doing in their practice.

Know and understand your experiences better by writing down your lessons you learned.

Teach others about your experience by sharing your insights about yoga and about yourself.

The great philosopher Krishnamurti was once asked, “Do we learn from experience?” His answer was, “No! We don’t learn from experience. We learn what we choose to learn from experience. The time we carve out to meditate, reflect and write gives us the chance to truly learn from what we experience.

We hope our yogi participants will do the same.

To sign up to blog, comment here, send us your email or send me a message on Facebook, and we’ll add you as a user.

Our current roster for the 100 day yoga challenge

challenge and change

Hi everyone.  Just a quick update.  Today, we’re up to over 45 participants.  The number isn’t perfect, people are still coming and going.  But check out the list below to see the people who have expressed interest in taking the 100 day yoga challenge.  Please let me know if we should add or delete your name.

Jeremy C. Wilson
Leigh Cohen
Yasemin Zeytinoglu
Christina Corso
Meltem Zeytinoglu
Ashley Kohler
Lauren Singer
Dominika Malinowska Hertsberg
Rebecca Manderschied
Mariel Victoria
Juan Sanchez
Andi Klostermann
Robyn Rabicke
Sarah Grimmer Finch
Rebecca Manderschied
Angela Ireland Elder
Alicia Wilson
Stefanie Lester Coslow
Nolan Lee
Kari Fitzgerald
Alycia Messenger
Lisa Jeanne
Monica Bright
Ellie Tonev
Shawn Wolfe
Amy O’Connell
abeth Staab
Tanya LoPresti
Courtney Yocum
Brooke Gardner
Vivian Yvone Nguyen
Maggie Nelson
Orin York
Edgar Flores
Jennifer Stevens
Elizabeth Hinker
Halle Miroglotta
Lisa Jeanne
Maggie Nelson
Alexandra Sadie Hochhauser
Howard D.
Deena Schencker
Hector Rangel
Valerie Painter
Sindhura Daggubati
Melinda Holland Costello
Ruby Banipal
Tory Vachula

Welcome to Yogi 100

cropped-yoga-stretch.jpeg

Welcome to Yogi 100.

This is a group in Chicago that is committed to practicing 100 days of yoga in a row.  And this is our blog where we are going to be sharing our experiences about our journey through the 100 days.  The ups and down.  When we are tired and when we feel energized.  We hope to have many contributors.  Stay tuned for more updates.