Natalie Garro, 129 TCCS
PCVs, RPCVs, PC Trainees, PC Staff, Friends, Family, whoever stumbled across this magazine… I am pleased (and very stoked) to invite you to join us for this year’s Sticky Rice Yoga Challenge!
Welcome! If you are reading this, I assume you are either considering or have decided to participate in this year’s Sticky Rice Yoga Challenge. Excellent! The challenge will run throughout the month of February, starting on the 1st and our theme will be Open Mind, Open Body, Open Heart.
Throughout our yoga series, we will practice individual poses every day. Each pose is designed to directly follow the previous day’s pose. At the end of the month, we will have a full yoga flow or asana. We will be working towards Full Wheel pose: one of the biggest heart opening poses. A heart-opener is any posture that opens – or stretches – the chest and back.
We will practice our heart-opening series for a few reasons – the most obvious being that February is the month of looooove *cough* – but also because, as PCVs, we have a lot on our shoulders – often literally.
Whether you’re in PST biking to and from all of your sessions (and carrying everything on your back) each day, then spending hours slumped in a chair learning about Dengue; in the middle or at the end of your service and feeling the hours spent on your feet in the classroom, hunched over your desk writing lessons plans, or maybe indulging in a few too many Netflix marathons *ahem*; or you’re any person anywhere – because really, we all need a little yoga in our lives to help us open up – this month’s yoga challenge will get you moving, get some good juice flowing to some of the neglected parts of your body, and hopefully get your heart pumping a little faster.
Finally, I can’t tell you how many yoga teachers have told me that we “carry our emotions in our bodies.” I have yet to do personal research into the truth of this matter, but I do know that exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy (to quote Legally Blonde). Yoga is exercise, and therefore, doing yoga will bring at least a little bit of happiness into your life; and if we start our day with a little bit of movement – a little dose of happiness – it significantly increases the likelihood that we’re going to enter the remainder of our day with a much more open heart.
This brings me to my final point in this introduction:
- I recommend practicing first thing in the morning, right after you wake up; however your practice is your practice, and you should practice whenever you darn well please!
- To incorporate the entire flow into your morning routine, I also recommend performing the entire series of postures each day – so on Day 2, do both poses for Days 1 and 2 in sequence; on Day 3, do all poses for Days 1, 2, and 3 in this sequence, and so on.
Be gentle with yourself: body, mind, and spirit. There’s no shame in modifying a pose to accommodate whatever is most comfortable for you. The practice that leaves you feeling energized and satisfied is the most beneficial practice, even if it isn’t your deepest or most challenging practice. If you miss a day, get right back into in the next day! This applies to the rest of life, as well. And remember…
Please also remember to snap a picture of yourself in the daily pose and post it to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #StickyRiceYogaChallenge2018. Hope to see you on the mat!