What is the workout? A six-week class in a small-group setting that incorporates yoga postures, meditation and personal inquiry. My group met weekly for 90 minutes and also had a Facebook group.

The class is organized into six themes with 12 laws, so each week you work with two laws and a theme, and they sequentially build. The ultimate goal is that students learn to practice all eight limbs of yoga at the same time -- such as concentration, sensory transcendence, breath control -- not just the postures that many Americans solely identify as yoga.

What does it cost? $250.

When: Next series: classes meet 6:15-7:45 p.m. Mondays, April 1-May 6.

Where: Vida Yoga, 2749 Iris Ave., Boulder

Info: 303-562-5963, embodiedtruth.com

Hey boss, I can't believe I'm saying these words but on Thursday I'm starting a new project: 40 days of yoga. Ack. I really don't want to do it (I hate yoga!) but I get so much slack from Boulderites for not "understanding" yoga. So I am going to give it a shot.

Madison Whittemore, left, works in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution yoga class at Vida Yoga. For a video of the workout, go to www.dailycamera.com.
Madison Whittemore, left, works in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution yoga class at Vida Yoga. For a video of the workout, go to www.dailycamera.com. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

Begrudgingly,

Aimee

I'm not a yogi. That's been my story for 10 years, since I tried my first yoga class.

I'll do a class here and there; it's impossible not to trip and fall into a yoga class in this town. But I've always felt a little disconnected from the scene.

Honestly, it's the classes that teach unity but feel so competitive and judgmental; that use words like and "spirit" and "dig deep," but seem to have an expensive dress code; that teach inclusion, yet talk in a mysterious language that reminds me: I am an outsider.

It's that same feeling you get when you hear another priest has ripped off his church. The feeling of "I don't want anything to do with this hypocritical mess."

And I know, saying "I don't like yoga" as the fitness reporter in a town like Boulder is worse than showing up to AA drunk, or showering before hanging out on the Pearl Street Mall. It's inappropriate, unacceptable and pure karmic hell.

Yes, this fear, this tension, this confusion I feel about yoga is all based in lack of knowledge.

I get that.

So I'm going to do yoga for 40 days -- straight. And meditate.

Seriously. Stop laughing.

Law 1: Seek the truth

I sit in the Vida Yoga studio on my yoga mat. I'm warm after 20 minutes of "power yoga," but I decide to leave my sweatshirt on; I don't want the participants to see my tattoos.

Your mat is a mirror, says Taylor White, the instructor, who is also a psychotherapist.

She's been teaching this six-week workshop, "40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul," for two years. The program was created by famous yoga teacher Baron Baptiste and includes a daily yoga practice, principles to cleanse your diet, meditation instructions and readings and questions.

My class has nine other women of different ages and yoga abilities.

How you respond to pressure and discomfort on your mat is a reflection of how you respond to those things off the mat, White says.

Does that mean I'm afraid of judgment? No doubt, I try too hard; I pushed my left hamstring so hard during one stretch I felt my knee pop. But I wanted to do my best, I justified, and that means trying my hardest.

"What is your edge on your mat? That's where transformation is," White says.

I wonder about the concept of edge. To me, being still -- relaxing instead of fighting -- is counterintuitive and terrifying. Is my edge knowing when to back off? But I thought this was "power" yoga?

"Yoga is not the moves you're doing in class," White says.

Now I'm really confused.

On Jan. 18, I post on the Facebook group: "Meditating before coffee is basically pressing snooze for five more minutes. I'll try it caffeinated tomorrow."

I fell asleep sitting up.

On the plus side, I was relaxed.

We meet with our group once a week for 90 minutes. The rest of the days, we are supposed to do yoga and meditate at home. This removes that pressure I associate with yoga. I happily designate a space in my bedroom.

The problem: I don't have time to do this. I quickly learn the impossible contradiction: When I take the time to do yoga and meditate, I actually end up with more time.

White says that's because I'm living more mindfully.

I think I've discovered a time-traveling wormhole.

Law 2: Be willing to come apart

My husband went to rub my back and couldn't find the ubiquitous knots I hide under my shoulder blades. He thinks I yoga-ed them away. I confess, my body does feel freer and more flexible. But what about the knots below the surface?

Things go bad quickly.

On Facebook, I post:

"OK, so I opened myself up to be 'willing to come apart.' Then today I lost my day timer. Lost. Like it vanished into thin air. My entire life is in that stupid thing. I can't help but be afraid that this losing of my agenda thing is just God or the universe or whatever hearing my desire to 'be willing to come apart' and testing to see how far I will let go. The thing is -- it's a mean prank and I get the message, and it has broken my weekend apart, so can I please have my agenda back now? If this is what I have to do to come apart, I am going to lose my job -- and mind. I cannot think of anything more terrifying for me than this."

Forget it, I'm quitting this class. The group immediately responds. I want to tantrum but instead try to meditate. Ten minutes later, I am breathing again.

I'm too embarrassed to tell the group that I find my agenda almost immediately after. Lesson learned.

White responds to my rant: "Maybe the question is to let go of figuring out, let go if there is even a 'lesson' and just watch all that happens for you around it."

OK, lesson unlearned.

Law 3: Step out of your comfort zone:

I invite my 2-year-old daughter to do yoga with me before bed. It is like lying at the bottom of the slide at the park.

She sits on my lap and meditates silently for five straight minutes. I can feel her baby heart beating through our clasped hands in time with mine. She tells me she can hear my heart, too.

"What's it saying?" I ask her.

"Aafgbgdeysskot," she responds, laughing. It's a pretty accurate translation.

Unfortunately, this isn't what the book says to do. I'm kind of sucking at this class.

Law 4: Commit to growth

"Let go of the 'right way' and see if you can commit to doing it your way. See what happens," White writes.

In class, she guides us through a meditation where we imagine ourselves sinking slowly below the ocean. At first, I feel anxious and think about drowning. After a few minutes, I settle into a new place of relaxed stillness. I don't want to come back up.

I think I shut off my brain for a minute. Didn't know I could do that.

"Just be curious," White tells us.

She asks us to pay attention to our thoughts and decipher the facts from interpretation.

Law 5: Shift your vision

I post on Facebook:

"I am shocked by how many of my thoughts are not based on facts/reality. I find myself stressing out over things that are not really happening. Like a few nights ago, I woke up and my husband was not in bed next to me. I knew he had been watching TV downstairs, and my brain immediately went to, 'He had a brain aneurysm and he died,' instead of, 'He fell asleep in the chair' (which was what really happened)."

Have I been living my life freaking out about things that aren't even real?

I'm starting to notice my thoughts. I'm starting to not follow them. As the saying goes, no one drowns by falling in the river; they drown by staying emerged in it.

It makes me think back on my initial opinions about yoga. How much of that was based on facts verses interpretation?

Law 6: Drop what you know

Different signs hang in White's studio every week. This one haunts me: "No matter how far you are down the wrong road, turn around."

I know I was wrong about yoga; I didn't know anything.

I know I still don't. That's the best part of it.

I post on Facebook:

"Last night I was meditating on my bed, and my old, fat little poodle jumped up on the bed next to me. Then she started snorting like the little furry piggy that she is and rolling around on the bed. I yelled at her to stop it and she did for about 15 seconds. Then she started joyfully wiggling around again, and again, I scolded her to stop, that she was distracting me. It wasn't until this morning that I realized I think she was trying to help me -- that she had been telling me, 'Stop being so serious, mom! Just relax, let your brain go, roll around, wiggle and snort, be free, have some fun. You are trying way too hard. You stop!' I think I owe my poodle an apology."

Can you reach enlightenment from a fat, rather stinky poodle?

I think this is as close as I've ever been.

Law 7: Relax with what is

This week, the sign on the wall reads: "Things don't change. We change." We talk about things that trigger our reactivity, what restores us, how we can respond differently.

Baptiste explains in his book: "Intense physical challenge allows students to see in the moment how much more effective relaxing is than struggling." You get deeper into the pose by relaxing, not fighting or quitting. And the postures are like moving meditation, because you can't balance, breathe and think about bills all at the same time, or you'll fall. From experience.

Ding, ding, ding. Something else clicks.

Off the mat, I've been worrying about my husband less. I don't want to connect unrelated dots, but this has been his most successful month at work ever. Have I been holding him back by holding on so tight? I think I'll do yoga 24/7.

And then: the horrible fruit cleanse.

Law 8: Remove the rocks

I write on Facebook: "Hi. Fruit cleanse. Panic. Help? I have no clue how to do this. I am making excuses already. This is my wall. Ouch. I am smashing against it. Any help is appreciated. This scares me."

This part of the workshop freaks out a lot of people. Half the class doesn't do it. I do it angrily. I've never thought I have food issues. Well, I don't, as long as I can control my food. White insists this isn't about losing weight or cleansing your body; it's a practice in awareness.

"We start to recognize that the feelings we have actually have us. They have us dictating what we can and can't do, what we should and shouldn't do," she says.

She writes on Facebook: "In so many ways, we use food as a drug: to numb, comfort, distract, or take the edge off in moments of emotional distress. Healing comes in those moments when you look into your mind, observe your cravings, your excuses about eating in that moment, and are willing to let the real cause surface."

At our weekly family dinner, I eat a stupid bowl of fruit while the family has steak and cake (oh, the luck, it was a birthday). Somehow, I don't die.

I learn that I'm a social eater. I don't want to feel excluded by eating something different. I panic over giving up coffee because it is a ritual with my husband every morning, and I am emotionally attached to it. It's not the caffeine, it is the connection.

OK, well, maybe it is both.

Law 9: Don't rush the process

When I signed up for this class, I didn't realize that it would overlap with the anniversary of my daughter's birth -- and the traumatic delivery that nearly took my life three years ago. All of my sadness, anger, resentment and unspeakable pain regarding this event are barfing out all over my yoga mat this week. This is only yoga; why I am crying?

White likens these kinds of thoughts to a beach ball. If you try to push them under the water, they'll keep popping back up. I'm looking for a knife to pop it. Then -- talk about more uncanny timing -- I have my annual doctor's exam. As I'm lying on the exam table, I try to practice everything we've learned in class. Blank mind. Breathe. Relax into the discomfort. You gave up coffee for three days; you can do anything.

Instead, I break down and sob all over the paper sheets and backless gown.

I write on Facebook: "I am scared to meditate tonight. I don't know what to do, actually. Are there some things we just never heal from? Is that OK?"

White's response surprises me: "You actually have already healed. Feeling feelings is the opposite of having them hook and control us -- it is our way of letting our body show us we are bigger than our story."

Law 10: Be true to yourself

Today is my daughter's birthday. This year, I didn't cry.

The other day, I taught her about "priorities," the things that are the most important to people.

"What's your priority?" I asked her.

"Playing." Of course.

"What's mine?" I asked.

"Yoga."

I had to laugh. How could she think the most important thing in my life was yoga? But I'm not a yogi. That's been my story for 10 years.

Maybe I need to write a new book.

Law 11: Be still and know

My husband asked if he could come with me to a yoga class. My husband, the tattoo artist, whose idea of exercise is drinking beer while playing softball.

Maybe we need a whole new library.

Law 12: Understand that the whole is the goal

Class ended yesterday, but I still meditated this morning. I don't know if I'll keep it up forever, but right now, it feels right.

My husband joined a yoga studio. On his own.

Over tea, White finally talks to me about "power yoga," what exactly it is.

"We're teaching people that being powerful in your life is being mindful of how you land on people. Being powerful is being awake. Being powerful is making choices and responding rather than reacting," she says. "That's where power comes from, and you can get that from child's pose or savasana. You don't have to do warrior I to chaturanga to standing splits to get that."

That's good news. Because I am a yogi, but I don't even know what that means.