Fitness: Bikram 30 Day Challenge – Day 30 Update

happy

I completed my 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge on Saturday, March 14. I started this journey because I wanted to add fitness as a daily habit and thought yoga would be a good place to start. And, that 30 days of Bikram yoga would be challenging as well as attainable. Now, here I am, happy to have accomplished my goal, but even happier to have gone through my journey. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.

As I’ve said before, Bikram yoga is a 2.5 – 3 hour daily commitment. I started when I did because I knew that I could make the time for it. Sad to say, but it is not something I can keep up every day now. This is the only negative thing I’ve found with it.

When I started the journey, I was way out of shape. I had not worked out in a really long time and desperately wanted to make it a daily habit. But the thought of it was just too daunting (I hit a major wall after I completed my one and only marathon a few years ago). However, I committed and I made it. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along my journey.

It’s mind over matter – During class and during a particular pose, you will often hear a teacher say “Make up your mind and just do it.” This is so true. When I decided to commit to 30 days, I made up my mind that I was going to do it. I also posted daily on Instagram. During class, if I started to think too long about a pose, I would go back to this mantra of mind over matter and just do it. I think this could apply to life as well.

You will find time for the things that you make a priority – You know that saying, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse?” Well, this is so true. Before Bikram, I would tell myself I had no time for exercise (not even 30 minutes), yet I managed to find 2.5 hours a day every day for 30 days for Bikram. Why? Because I made it a priority. I had to juggle some days, but I always made it to class. I even made it to class when I was feeling so ill that I had to spend almost the entire day in bed, except for when I went to class.

I am a happier person when I exercise – There is scientific evidence that endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. I have always felt better after every class. On days that I was feeling lazy, this is one of the things I would remember to tell myself to get to class and it usually worked.

Small steps can lead to big things – I started my yoga journey on a mission to accomplish doing it for 30 days straight. Now I am on a mission to do it for 90 days straight. And, it has given me the confidence to start my running again as well as try other forms of exercise. Like they say, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Since I’ve completed my 30 days of Bikram, I’ve started to practice at another studio. While I really did love hot yoga, I wanted to learn other forms as well. My new yoga studio has classes ranging from Vinyasa to Ashtanga to Forrest, as well as other forms. So far, I’ve tried Vinyasa and Yin yoga and have enjoyed both. I want to keep a daily practice so I am seeing what works best for me. This journey to health is a lifelong one in which I will continue to challenge myself. It may not always be easy, but I will make sure to always make it worthy.

Do you practice yoga? Do you workout regularly? What keeps you motivated?

Fitness: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge – Week 4 Update

download (2)

Today marks the 28th day of my 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge. It seems just like yesterday that I started, yet I can see just how far I’ve come in 4 weeks. My body is still adjusting and I still have some poses I cannot do, but it has done the one thing I’d hoped to get out of it — it has motivated me to continue working out. I will write more about my yoga journey once I’ve completed my 30 days, but today I wanted to touch on motivation and habit in relation to my goal.

Studies have shown that it takes anywhere from 20 – 254 days to form a habit, with the average being 66 days depending on the goal (i.e. the easier the goal, the shorter time it took to make it a habit). With my yoga challenge (that sounds like an oxymoron, huh?) coming to a close in 2 days, it’s hard to say if I’ve formed a habit. I can say that I’m motivated to keep going. My ultimate goal is to exercise at least one hour daily.

As I’ve mentioned before, Bikram is a huge daily time commitment (about 2.5 – 3 hours a day). I know that I cannot keep that up because I have too much else going on. Let’s face it, how many of us can devote 3 hours a day to exercise?  I do want to keep a daily yoga practice though, so I’m considering my options. I am thinking of continuing my yoga challenge, but going to a different studio, where they have classes that are 45 minutes or an hour long. This way, in the future, I can try to do a mix of Bikram and other forms of yoga throughout the week. Until then, I want to just be as present as possible and work as hard as possible on my last two classes. Namaste.

P.S. Bikram Challenge week 1 update

P.P.S. Bikram Challenge week 2 update

P.P.P.S. Bikram challenge week 3 update

Fitness: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge – Week 3

photo 3

{Little yogi in training — though it looks like she could teach me a thing or two}

Today is the third week of my Bikram challenge. You can read about week 1 here and week 2 here. I would like to tell you that it gets easier, but it hasn’t so far. Sure, I can do some poses that I could not do in week 1, but I find that each class is different because there are so many factors to consider.

Such as, what was I doing right before class? How did I feel? Was I rushing from work to get to class? Did I have to do something right after class? What was going on with me that particular day? What did I have to get done soon?

But, that is all part of the challenge of yoga. It is not just about getting my postures right, but also getting my mind right. And, I find the latter is the more difficult of the two. The positive benefits of my practice have been better sleep and more confidence. Going into it, I was not sure what to expect of myself. Physically, I did not feel ready, but are we ever fully ready for anything? I am definitely glad I’ve taken it on, despite the often times challenging time constraints. Namaste.

Fitness: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge – Week 2

56e9c4bdea278b687d3f195ff382d5e6

Today marks  14 days since I began my journey to complete 30 days of Bikram Yoga. I have to admit, it has not always been easy because Bikram is a real time commitment.

The class is 90 minutes long and I need to factor in time to walk to class (thank goodness it’s only a 5 minute walk), be sure I arrive at least 20 minutes before class starts so I have time to put my things away and secure a place that I am comfortable with (safe to say it’s not in front of the class right now), and allow 15 minutes after class to relax, pack up my things and walk home.  Then I have to shower when I am home and do laundry (my sweaty clothes and I bring my own towel). All in all, it is about a 2.5 hour daily commitment. Is it worth it?

Yes. I feel better and I sleep better. I have some aches and pains in certain areas, which I’m sure my body will adjust to in time. And, there are still poses I struggle with (one leg down with knee straight and other leg up extended with knee straight and forehead to the knee) and times where I struggle to “quiet” my mind or focus in the moment, but I am trying and I am committed. And, I am glad I am doing this. Namaste.

Fitness: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge – Week 1 Update

d84b15bae591ceacf046167e8007c78c

I don’t need Ryan Gosling to motivate me to go to yoga. Today was the first week I’ve completed of my 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. It was excruciatingly difficult for me because I was very ill. I spent the entire day at home in bed with an unbearable headache and runny nose. For some unexplainable reason, I managed to get dressed and go to class (of course, it helps that the studio is so close to me). And for other unexplainable reasons, I managed to get through the entire class.

If I’m being honest, it was probably my most difficult class. While I try to focus on myself and my postures during class, my mind was all over the place today. I started thinking about dreams I’ve had, dug way deep into my past and was thinking of some future projects. It was total insanity. Of course, each time that kept happening, I kept trying to pull myself into the present moment. And, before I knew it, it was time for the final breathing exercises before class was dismissed. Namaste.