Today is January 21st. It also happens to be the 20th day in Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Day yoga journey for 2020, called HOME. As we are ever so slightly over halfway through the journey, quest, challenge, I’ve been reflecting on the experience so far.
For those who don’t know, Adriene Mischler is an online yoga teacher, guru, and all around amazing creator who has been bringing free yoga to YouTube for years. She’s got a massive following and is truly a celebrity in her own right. She also happens to my first teacher of yoga, and still my favorite.
This is my fifth year dedicating the month of January to a daily practice with Adriene. Since 2015, Adriene has created a 30-day yoga series, one new video released for every day of the month of January. And since then, I have been one of those people following along day by day. I haven’t managed to stick to it every day for every year but nevertheless each year on Thanksgiving I start looking forward to a new 30 days of yoga the way some people start looking forward to Christmas.
It is my most favorite and most personal–yet global–annual tradition. Since its inception, I’ve watched the community grow each year as new folks join and seasoned pros return to the mat for 30 incredible days of yoga.
Each year has a different theme and a different flow, so it isn’t terribly surprising to say that HOME feels very different to me. But it’s more than that. This is the first year that the practice is finding me coming from a stronger place, a prepared place.
In previous years, January finds me out of shape from the holidays, resetting the foundations of my yoga practice for another year. This year, however, I had been training for a half marathon for months before January came around. I had continued my yoga practice with more consistency and gusto than years before, due in part to the fact that yoga was the only thing that helped me cope with and move with the pain of occipital neuralgia (I wrote about this at length here).
So while January always brings a feeling of renewal, my body and I are not starting over on the mat this year, not really. We are finding ourselves able to hold a boat pose for the first time ever, screaming “YES!!” as we flow into the first side plank of this 30 days.
It’s also the first year of doing the 30 day yoga challenge with the memory of practicing with Adriene in person fresh in my mind. As the opening sequence guides us into practice, I recall crying on my mat at the Omega institute, grateful and amazed and disbelieving that even after the past few months of pain and stillness, I could flow in person with Adriene and so many other members of the community. In that moment, truly, my body became HOME once again.
HOME is a different kind of journey for me. It is not beginning again entirely from scratch, rolling out a mat dusty with disuse. It is returning HOME, remembering and continuing to build on the foundation I built over those months of relearning my body after so many tests, and symptoms, and medications, and wondering what was going on within it.
I started 2020 in my second long-term pain flare of this chronic pain condition. For several weeks, I’d been so pain free I thought I was “cured,” and then… it returned. In a way, perfect timing to find myself committed to movement on the mat every day of January. I flowed with the pain as I had at Omega, and once again found that I could work with my body, not against it, in spite of the pain and its unpredictability.
Now, somehow already, we are halfway there. I have never felt so connected to this practice, this journey, this community. I know yoga isn’t for everyone, but it is so very much for me. It guides me through the difficult times, and this year is proving itself already to be somehow, implausibly, another year of great change. A year of transition, of relearning what I thought I already knew about myself. My work. My place in this vast universe.
I look forward to the next 10 days of yoga and where they will take me. I’m closing this blog post like we close out of yoga. The light in me honors the light in each one of you. Namaste.