“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
This American proverb was frequently quoted by my late father.
A few years ago, I found a coffee mug in Booth Bay Harbor, Maine with those words printed on the side. I bought it, and whenever I choose it from the dozen hanging on hooks in our kitchen, I know it’s one of those days when I’ll need the reminder to be attentive to my temporary existence or motivated to make a change.
Truth be told, I usually choose it when I’ve eaten too much cake and want to resolve to avoid it. I read the proverb in my head and then add on “without cake” in the same way people add “in bed” to the end of fortunes they find inside fortune cookies.
This morning—unlike every other morning in my adult life, in which the first thing I have to drink is either coffee or tea—I had hot water with lemon.
It was not tasty. Just sour and hot. (And not in the delicious way a well-prepared Asian soup can be both hot and sour.)
Why would I wake up and think that’s what I want to taste right now?
For two reasons—I’ve heard it’s healthful, and my routine is significantly changing today, thanks to the new opportunity I have to practice my Ashtanga yoga “Mysore style.”
Today marks a realization of a decade-long dream for my dear yoga instructor. She is opening her studio Monday through Friday to allow us Ashtangi yogis a place to practice in silence, first thing in the morning.
Because Ashtanga is the same series of poses every time, and if we practice it enough, we’ll eventually learn the order of the postures in the practice. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga two to three times a week for close to five years. I know the Ashtanga routine.
And in two hours, I’ll walk into the studio to begin a new chapter in my life—a chapter which will require a 4 a.m. wake-up call, hot lemon water and silence until my practice concludes around 8:30.
Although I have been eagerly anticipating this day, I’m a bit reluctant to make the change. While many would label me a “dedicated practitioner,” in my opinion, I’ve been little more than a hack for the last half-decade.
The people I’ll see shortly—and every day, from now until the day comes when the studio no longer exists—are serious about yoga.
My mere presence there among them, indicates that I too must be “serious about yoga.”
And I think I maybe—finally—I am.
In practical terms, I won’t be going to the studio any more frequently, but when I do, I’ll be among people who are there less so for exercise and much more so for the chance to find integration within themselves.
And perhaps that’s what’s most unsettling to me—I’m not sure what I’m going to discover.
And as of today, there’s no looking back.
Author: Jenna Brownson
Apprentice Editor: Ellie Cleary; Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/J. H.
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