Standing Bow Pose
Today is January 1st, 2015 and I’m seriously considering starting the Bikram 30 day challenge that’s about to begin at my local Bikram studio. It sounds crazy to me, committing to 90 minutes of hot yoga, seven days a week for 4 straight weeks. That’s a lot of yoga! The time commitment alone is going to be very challenging considering I have a full time career, a wife and three kids, not to mention the physical and mental challenge to my 48 year old body, bum shoulder and bad back BB (Before Bikram). It’s going to mean taking a mix of classes, some dreaded 6am classes during the week before work (something I’ve never done before), evening class after work some days and weekend classes. I’ll have to carefully plan and watch my diet (not a bad thing) as on yoga days you have to always make sure to eat light and hydrate with plenty of water 2 hours before class. So why the heck am I even considering doing this? Good question, I’m not even sure I have an answer.
I started practicing Bikram hot yoga a little over 2 years ago and have been a steady 3-4 day a week guy ever since. I can honestly say Bikram has not only saved my back but has changed my life. When I started Bikram I had chronic lower back pain. It had gotten so bad that I would literally moan and groan every morning when I bent over to tie my shoes. I have my Wife to thank for getting me into Bikram, she dragged me kicking and screaming to my first class. The idea of spending 90 minutes in a 104 degree room scared the heck out of me, not to mention performing a series of 26 postures with a bunch of sweaty strangers. My first class went pretty much as I expected, kind of like working out in Hell must be like.. I went through various stages of dizziness, nauseousness and pure pain. I had never sweated so much in my life and I grew up in FLA. During the ride home after that first class it felt like the worst hangover in my life. But a funny thing happened after I took a nap to recover. My body felt just a tiny bit better, just enough to make me want to go back the next day and try it again. The more I went to the “torture chamber” the more I wanted and the better my back began to feel. Soon I began experiencing a yoga “buzz” after class. I was hooked. My first year of Bikram was incredible; I lost 15 pounds, my body and back felt better than they had since my early 30’s. Mentally I felt calmer, clearer and less stressed.
So here I am, two years in and contemplating doing the 30 day challenge. My studio does the challenge once or twice a year. You have to commit by signing your name on a big poster board at the front of the studio. In the past I’ve never considered taking the challenge primarily because of the time commitment but also because deep down inside I don’t want to overload on yoga and get burned out, or injured, or commit to something I can’t finish. So, I guess while writing this I’ve figured out why I want to take the challenge now. I think I’ve reached a point in my practice that I’m ready for a new challenge, I’m ready to take my practice to a whole new level and see where this journey takes me, physically and mentally. I’m going to track my progress over the next 30 days right here, I may even post some before and after photos at the end, we’ll see what happens!