So I’m nine days (almost halfway through) into Sadie Nardini’s 21-day Yoga Body book. What a ride! This project has been more all-encompassing than I expected. But then again, I came into it with no expectations (really, I didn’t! I had an objective and an idea, but I didn’t expect to love or hate it).
I started this project as a way to get to know Sadie’s work and unpack the cultural idea of the “yoga body.” Sadie and I have different definitions of what a yoga body is (and here is another, via Urban Dictionary: “the kind of body one develops with years of yoga practice: taller, thin, with legs and buttocks that look like ropes and a bony back and neck”).
I’m also admittedly doing this project to get a little more fit, fierce and fabulous, as I wrote in my intro post. I need to kickstart my practice.
Eating Up the 21-Day Yoga Body Plan
Overall, I’ve been having a lot of fun. It’s great to have the support of the IAYB community, who have been following along on the IAYB Facebook page and Twitter. The likes and comments on this project keep me going.
In my introduction, I said that I was excited about the asana practice and daily actions, but would probably be least diligent about the meal plan. However, the meal plan has been the most eye-opening and revelatory.
I’m generally a healthy eater (no processed foods, lots of whole/organic foods), but I have trouble making time to cook. I also have a tendency to eat the same things all the time (eg, oatmeal for breakfast) and not stick to a proper meal schedule. It’s not unusual for me to look up from my work at 4pm and realize that I missed lunch, so I make a grilled cheese sandwich or go out and grab something a sandwich or burrito.
But good meals happen because of preparation. It’s a relief to have a menu that I look at and say, “Oh, this is what i’ll be eating today.” I’m doing the bulk of my weekly shopping at one shot on Sunday morning, making sure that I have most of the menu ingredients in my fridge. It’s expensive (I spent $170 on food, for my partner and I, during the first week), but good food costs money. I’m also eating out less, so I’m saving money there.
At the same time, I’m not being overly restrictive or obsessive about the meals. I’m using them as a guideline. I ate dinner at friends’ houses twice last week (both yummy healthy winter soup meals) and went for Chinese food on Sunday (ate mostly greens, but greasy!).
Similarly, on Day 4 the menu included mango lassis, quinoa salad and cucumber water, but it was a cold and grey November day in Montreal – I wanted soup and root vegetables. I believe that a diet should respond to the seasons and for individual constitutions, not be a general prescription for everyone.
When I told IAYB friend Tiina Veer about the project, she asked about Sadie’s nutritional qualifications. I’m actually not sure if Sadie Nardini is qualified to be doling out nutritional advice, and it appears that she didn’t work with a nutritionist on the book. Although she does mention her own nutritionists here and there, as well as an Ayurvedic chef friend, etc. It’s one thing to be a self-styled “wellness and lifestyle expert,” but I’m not sure if that entitles one to give out nutritional recommendations.
The asana practices are my favourite part of the program. My yoga body is responding well to Sadie’s trademarked Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga system. She works a lot with what she calls the Core Strength Muscle Meridian. I’m familiar with this meridian – aka the deep front line – from my study of Tom Myers work. DFL is one of my favourite things, and working with it has helped me deal with my chronic lower back pain (caused by degenerative discs in my lumbar spine).
Sadie has some creative ways to access the DFL, and each asana practice is connected to the theme of the day. After the hour-long sequence, my body feels strong, pain-free and ready for the day. I’m standing more upright and stable, and I’m more conscious of the power centre in my lower belly.
Despite her abundant use of “weight loss” and “yoga body” in her marketing, Sadie’s teaching style is fairly body positive. She gives options for most poses, invited child’s pose in lieu of vinyasa transitions, and doesn’t pepper her instructions with what your body could become (although “detox!” and “transform!” are ubiquitous).
Moving from the Inner Body to the Outer Body
This weekend, I saw Matthew Remski talk about “embodying community,” and he explained the etymology of the word “body.” Apparently it comes from Old German, meaning “vat, tub, or place to store beer.” If the body is a sort of container, what does it hold? This etymology allows for an outer form, one which holds an inner mass, or body.
The thing is, with all this deep core stuff in my asana practice, I do actually feel an inner body transformation happening. I don’t think my external yoga body looks much different (although, I might be glowing a little more than usual). However, I feel better on the inside than I did nine days ago.
Still, doing a practice called “21-day yoga body,” with structure and routine, is more goal-oriented than my usual practice. I find myself assessing my body, looking for more tone and muscle, anticipating what my body can become. Is this a good thing?
Nevertheless, most of the effects of this project are positive. And here’s an unexpected pleasant by-product: I’m practically Twitter BFFs with Sadie Nardini, who responds whenever I tag her and encourages my efforts. She even called me cool and fun, which I can’t help but be flattered by.
On Day 7, an IAYB fan noted, “The tone of your posts is much more positive than on day 1… are you converting?” It’s true, I’m not as snarky as when I started. Even i’m surprised at how sincerely I’ve grabbed on to this program. Maybe I am converted! To what, I’m not sure.
Anyway, nine days down, 12 more to go! Follow my #21dayyogabody updates on Facebook and Twitter.