I'm starting a 30-day juice fast today. The juices are being expertly prepared by Mary Jarvis at my favorite yoga studio, Global Yoga. Each day I pick up 5 juices - 3 of which are the green drinks, which just emanate 'livingness', 1 orange drink, and 1 watermelon-based drink. Depending on the day, the mix of juices may include more than 3 green drinks.
So... taking stock. It's been a long three years... almost four years, now, since Bikram Teacher Training. I've moved to San Francisco from New Zealand (though I miss NZ more every day). I do feel like I have a baseline of health in my life that I didn't have before I found Bikram Yoga - a sort of enforced minimum. I don't (usually) feel wretched or hopeless in an ambient way, which I did feel before all this. Plus... I got to have that feeling of knowing that at least once, at least for a day at the end of training, I achieved a body that was, for a fleeting moment, magnificently healthy.
But... the yoga has slipped away from me, little by little. I am still going weekly (sometimes less), and I love our studio. I even love class, though the old "can't breathe, can't breathe" panic is back. My septum is severely deviated, and I have less than 10% airflow through one nostril, and sometimes as low as 20% normal airflow through the other. There are times, particularly in a humid room, when I just have no air flow through my nose at all, and the panic just sets in immediately. But... that's always been there, and long gone are the days of yoga every day for three months. Part of this is just time - our work has long hours which are very draining, and if the day also includes yoga, there isn't much time for much other than going home, eating a quick bite of something, and falling asleep. That's hard to maintain every single day, it makes me feel like life has become a race away from something.
Ultimately, then, it's just a search for balance - how much yoga is enough so that I feel my body staying healthy and getting healthier, without feeling like my life has evaporated? I don't know the answer.
I do know that as of this morning, I weigh more than 260 pounds, which is a new personal record. I know that I can feel my heartbeat in a way that I have not used to. I know that my diet has started containing more and more alcohol, more and more pizza and grease, and that my cravings for junk food are strong. By way of illustration: today I'm starting a 30-day juice fast, and today is also 'free donuts' day at work. I ate the donut. (But before the first of my first box of juices, so technically it wasn't breaking the fast...). Old injuries seem to be reappearing. New injuries seem to appear for no reason, and both are getting inexplicably worse.
Why a juice fast? First, I trust our studio, and I trust that the complement of juices that I'm drinking daily are providing me with enough nutrients to live healthily. Seeing the International Yoga Asana Champions (dig it) train in Mary's studio, some of whom were only consuming the juice (Emily!), convinced me that I don't need protein powder or supplements or anything like that. Secondly, the juices taste really alive and delicious. I still struggle with the orange ones, but the greens are just wonderful. I've had an 8-day juice fast before, and it was very doable. Lastly... I feel like I need a big, measurable change to help me kick the bad habits that I've picked up, and I feel like I'll have support and encouragement on this path.
So, wish me luck!
5 juices x 30 days = 150 juices.
1 down, 149 to go.
I'll be gradually weaning myself off coffee, rather than going cold turkey, and I'm going to continue to have a bowl of fruit in the morning. Steamed spinach with salt and Olive Oil is also allowed. I'm intent on not making a huge deal about having food here and there with visiting friends or special occasions, though I won't use this as a loophole.
Mary is taking a 'big chubby before picture' at Yoga tonight, which I'll post here.