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My 40 Days Diary: Week 2

As we approach the beginning of Week 3 of the 40 Days Program at Evolution, I’ve taken the time to reflect on my Week 2 journey. Week 2 focused on vitality. Merriam-Webster defines vitality as the power of enduring and the capacity to live and develop. I think of vitality as synonymous with life energy. This theme is what shaped our practice, weekly nutrition goals, meditation and self inquiry in the program this week.  

At full disclosure: I did take this Week 2 journey, somewhat alone, as I had to work during last week’s in-person meeting. I had the support of my group members via our group message. They gave me thorough recaps of their takeaways from the meeting, as well as their reflections. I am so grateful for their accountability, willingness to share and vitality lifeline. However, there is something unique about the power of in-person contact. In the absence of the in person contact, I realized that it is truly the core strength of the program at Evolution. I felt so much more immersed during Week 1. Social media and constant virtual communication try to emulate this, but it is impossible. Vitality simply cannot come from something that does not have life. This is why experienced yogi’s come to the studio to practice even though they have memorized the sequence. They build off the energy of others in the room. Together we create vitality. 

I tried to piece together what I would experience in the in-person meeting by combining the content of the book, information, and photos from Raeya Swope, York Studio and Digital Media Manager, and the texts from my group members. This week’s practice brought us into our vitality by waking us up. It reminded me of the part of yoga class when I begin to build heat and I start to break a sweat. Raeya mentioned that during the meeting, they did pose work to enhance the practice, focusing on integrating shoulders from upward facing dog to downward facing dog.

This week we also focused on balancing our diet. I learned the importance of fresh and whole foods. While reading the text I learned that in the Western world, food marketing relies heavily on shelf life. This means that we are constantly marketed processed foods containing preservatives and many ingredients that we cannot pronounce and that our bodies cannot process. Learning this made me think of the advice, “If it [the food] has a commercial, don’t get it”. Barron explains that processed food is not only unhealthy for these reasons, but also because it disconnects us with what we eat. He encourages readers to find joy in preparing food and to devise creative ways of preparing food quickly. When preparing food, he advises us to think about where it is coming from, what it took for that food to end up in your hands and to be grateful for it. Connecting with our food in this way gives us vitality by quite literally adding minutes to our lives. I took the time to do this over the course of the week and I found that I felt more nourished by the food I was eating. I also found it to be a creative outlet for the pent up energy I’ve been feeling during one of the coldest times of the year. 

Meditation during Week 2 doubled in time! It was a struggle to complete ten minutes of meditation in the morning and again at night. On the one day that I missed a meditation, I did feel much more chaotic and out of alignment. This was because I was focusing my vitality on tapes that were running through my head, as our reading mentioned. Meditation interrupted these thoughts and in its absence they would start playing again. This brought awareness to which tapes that I run in my head and how they were draining my energy. Thinking about meditation in this powerful way reminded me of the power of setting a mantra. Mantras are short sayings like, “I am enough” and “I am loved” that you may have heard echoed during class at Evolution. They are tools used to disrupt disengaging or self deprecating thoughts. For example, you may remember the phrase, “I am enough” when you are feeling jealous of another person at some point throughout the day. I used mantras throughout the week as well and found that they complimented the meditations nicely. I really found myself at peace using these tools for my self care.  

I am looking forward to the next group meeting, as well as my journey through Week 3. I can’t believe that we are almost halfway through the program. Stay tuned for My 40 Days Diary: Week 3. 

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