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My 40 Days Diary: Week 3

Week 3 marks the 40 days program in full swing for me. The theme of week 3 was equanimity. Merriam-Webster defines equanimity as, “evenness of the mind especially under stress” and “balance”. At our weekly in person group meeting we defined equanimity as, “calm in the storm”, “sitting with discomfort”, “balance of strength and ease” and “wholeness”. Hearing the perspectives of my group members about what equanimity means to them allowed me to create a deeper understanding of the word and how it applies to my practice, nutrition and meditation. 

Week 3 has been one of my favorite weeks for learning how to incorporate new knowledge into my practice. In our workshop, we learned how to correctly twist to the right and to the left while in chair pose. Our group leader, Juleann, added some anatomy to this which really intrigued me. She said that we should be twisting 15 degrees from the lumbar (low back), 50 degrees from the thoracic spine (rib cage and shoulders) and 80 degrees from the cervical spine (neck). This was groundbreaking for me because I learned that what I was currently doing while twisting in chair, was not as healthy for my back. I was twisting way over what I was supposed to be doing. Many people mentioned that they were also doing this. Juleann put this in perspective for us by explaining that elbow to knee doesn’t have to be quite so literal and that, “When you think your pose is Instagram perfect, you may be losing the integrity of the pose.” During our daily practice, we focused on the area of the sequence from crescent lunge to the end. During our meeting, we also learned how to correctly do extended side angle, which is one of the most difficult poses to get right. This one has proven to be a challenge for me. Overall, I had a lot of fun with this area of the program during Week 3. It felt like a creative flow for me. 

During Week 3, we also made some nutrition changes. We completely eliminated dairy. This wasn’t super difficult for me, as I already eat little to no dairy. However, to be completely honest, I accidently ate sour cream. What’s interesting though is after 5 or more days of eating no dairy, the dairy tasted different to me. It did not taste very good. It tasted almost as if it had gone bad, even though it had not. A vegan friend mentioned this to me once. She said that once you stop eating dairy and go back to it, it tastes bad. Juleann said that dairy has an addictive ingredient called casein, which when ingested releases opiates called casomorphins. I think that after eliminating dairy for a little while, perhaps my body was not conditioned to the casein anymore causing me to dislike the taste. I am not a nutritionist by any means but this is just intuitive feeling based on my experience. This experience was a eureka moment for me! 

Meditation for Week 3 went up to 15 minutes in the morning and again at night. During our meetings, we talked about what worked and what didn’t work for us in meditation. Many of us mentioned that we preferred guided meditations and that we liked the Insight Timer app. Claire let us know that Evolution holds a guided meditation every Sunday at 8:30 am before the 9:15 am class. I am super excited to try this out and I will report back when I do. In this week’s readings, Baron urges readers to bring equanimity to their meditation practice. He states, “When you notice these restless behaviors arise, rather then just acting on them and your need to escape, see if you can just notice their pull on you. Stay present, stay conscious, and most of all, just stay. This is the practice of developing equanimity.” (Baptiste, 2004, p. 153). This advice ties back to the meanings our group created around the word equanimity and offers a tangible application of equanimity. During our group meditation, Juleann asked us to reflect on what distracted us during our practice. This prompted me to identify what things were pulling on me and that I wanted to escape from. I would sit with these things during my daily meditations. 

Week 3 has been one of the most fulfilling weeks for me thus far. I was able to learn so many tips and tricks at the weekly in-person meeting to help me get past the week’s challenges. I found that the changes I made to my practice, nutrition, and meditation moved me to discover new things about myself, my life and the world around me. Stay tuned for Week 4!

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