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The day after...

This year saw another 60 day challenge at BYSJ and I did finish it. There was a time when odds of finishing the challenge looked bleak. There was an international business trip for a week, then San went to India and was gone for 10 days and there were days with meetings in the morning, noon and night that made it very difficult to wake up before 5AM and go to class. 

There were a lot of doubles over weekends that enabled the count. A nerd has to do his nerduty! So here is a typical 60 day challenge in our house.. (you have to click to see the comment clouds)

It almost always has the same highlights as far as our reactions. This year started with me picking an "angel card" at BYSJ. It said ..

Harmony gave me some thought. The idea is to remember this word and try to think of this word when you are in tricky situations, before walking into the yoga room, and keep it in your mind for the entire year and see if it makes a difference in your life. 

A few days after picking the card, made it a minute before class started. I always make sure that people behind me can see at least a sliver of themselves in the mirror. This time given I was going in front of folks, looked back at the lady in the last row and she gave me a thumbs up. A yoga mat is still 2 feet wide and one can move within the mat to accomodate and I was constantly making an effort to be on mat's edge. At the end of the class another woman comes up to me and says "you should not do that. even if she says she is okay with it, you need to give her more room".. or something to that effect. For a second, I was going to tell her all about my mat edge exercise and how the woman got a lot more than a sliver etc. etc. Then I remembered "Harmony"! So I said "thank you" and came out with a win-win feeling. The harmony thing works at home in a lot more situations with the wife, but not with the kids and it definitely does wonders at work. I have significantly curbed my urge to do bad things to some of my colleagues. 

There are many things I learned during this challenge, thanks to my teachers and friends who pushed me and taught me things that go beyond the poses. During my "I am not sure if I can keep going through with this phase", one of my teachers comes up to me while I am breathing and touched the place where my stomach starts and says "tuck your tummy in". After class I tried to correct him by saying "this... is my tummy!" and he laughed. He said "no my friend. you need to tuck here!".  

A picture is worth a 1000 words.. this one is worth a 1000 classes.

Yes. After making it into that hot room for more than a 1000 classes, I was working hard and sucking up my gut.. but not in the right place! The next 10 days was a real struggle to "undo things in Live mode" in every class. It is incredibly hard to breathe when you pull that part in, once you figure out how to do it in the first place!

My best poses became non-existant and some other poses became a revelation. A lot of my teachers were wondering "what is up with this guy. He is in the first row and struggling". I wanted to move back to the last row just like in my beginner days and slowly move back up to the front, but my teacher said "No. That would be a bad move. Stay in front of the mirror and do your best!". So stay I did and watched in agony as I failed and failed for almost two weeks. Then I got it!  Maybe I did not have certain muscles to do it earlier and they developed in two weeks.. who knows! That was the big revelation over this challenge.

There were many things that kept me going during that phase in the hot room. A 74 year old wheel chair bound grandma with Parkinsons, started coming to class. At first she was outside the room, then she was wheeled inside the room for the first half of class, soon she made it 90 minutes in the chair, then she started bending her hands down while in the chair, and after 30 days she was able to stand up and hold the wall and try poses.. now she walks! The support she got from her son, family and teachers was incredible. There were so many times the entire class clapped and cheered when she did what we all thought was impossible!

Yet another miracle, right in front of our eyes. Every day I see that grandma, I wish my grandma or my mom could have come to the hot room instead of undergoing surgery after surgery for replacing joints! If DNA that I have inherited is any indication, chances are my knees and hips are going to give out a lot earlier than the average person and I might get the shakes like my dad. My sincere hope is that doing yoga will postpone the inevitable.. 

The last thing about any challenge is to go do Yoga outside the room. When I packed my mat on day 61, my wife and kids were saying "What?! we just let you go 60 days and accomodated you a lot and cheered you. Can you take a break now. Why do you want to go today?"

My response was "do you see the guy who runs the 5000 meter race in the Olympics? after he wins and crosses the finish line, someone hands him a flag and he keeps running another two laps with the flag, all happy and smiling! he is not going as fast, but he is still going strong and keeps running! Today is my victory lap. I can go in without worrying about finishing the challenge and smile through the class, have a great time!"

They actually understood that. I also had a great 61st class.. and 62nd and 63rd class, and will keep going till travel catches up again. 

They always tell you "the real yoga begins when you walk out of that door". Both our girls went on one week trips as part of science camp on different weeks. 

Jr. went to Yosemite and the litte one went to Santa Cruz. We were really worried and thinking about the kid that was away a lot.. They both came back exhausted but happy and it was wonderful listening to them talk about their trips. The little one picked up knitting and is now making everyone scarves and beanies. 

Here is the arabian beanie meanie.. 

and yes.. I tried growing a beard over 20 days during the challenge, in an attempt to get the girls to get grades in return for shaving it off. The blackmail exercise did not work as they showed me that they are better at blackmailing me! It was three girls against the beard and they won!

The yoga does begin after we step out. Harmony is all about wearing your kids pink blankie and the beanie she just made for you and feeling on top of the world that there is so much love in your life!

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