Here are some of the benefits I enjoyed from my Bikram 30 day challenge: Weight loss of 7 pounds, I wanted to lose 10 but the challenge definitely gave me the jump-start I needed and now I know I will be able to keep going and loose those last few pesky pounds of belly fat. I feel better and have more energy. My digestive system is working better and I’m sure that’s a combination of all the yoga and cutting out junk food as well. I definitely advanced my practice; I’m going deeper in many postures and I’m often able to hold the balancing postures for the entire posture. This is the most progress I’ve made since my first year. During my first year of Bikram I learned a lot and progress came in leaps and bounds but during my second year I feel like my practice plateaued and that’s part of why I wanted to do this challenge. Well, I wasn’t disappointed; the challenge has propelled my practice through any imaginary ceiling! Here are some random things that I discovered during my Bikram 30 day challenge: I enjoy starting my day with yoga at 6am because I feel great all day! I can sleep like a kid again. I can control my sweet tooth. I am finally able to do Pranayama breathing without sounding like an old man snoring (that only took two years!). Doing a double is enjoyable and can lead to a breakthrough. Bikram yoga really is amazing and whatever you put into it you get back 100 fold. If you’re considering doing the Bikram 30 day challenge I highly recommend it, you will definitely advance your practice, gain a sense of achievement and learn a thing or two about yourself along the journey. It truly is a journey, filled with ups and downs and challenges along the way but worth every minute (and every drop of sweat)!! So what’s next for me? My biggest fear about doing the challenge was that I would get burned out on yoga. Well that definitely didn’t happen. If anything the opposite happened, I think I’m more addicted to yoga than ever and that’s a good thing. Going forward I’m going to aim for 5 classes per week instead of my old average of 3 classes per week. I think that’s the sweet spot. I also want to thank all of you for your support, advice and encouragement over the last 30 days, it really means a lot to me and I feel like I’ve made some new friends along the way! I’m going to keep my blog going and continue giving updates on my yoga journey. ~Yoga Dad
Wednesday, 6:30pm class
What a difference a day off makes! With the mandatory day off yesterday courtesy of Mother Nature and her blizzard, I returned to the hot room tonight feeling rested. Despite the fact that I shoveled over 2 feet of snow this morning, my back feels wonderful all throughout class. No stiffness, no soreness, ahhhhh. I almost forgot what it felt like to have a strong back.
I was shoveling snow yesterday and this morning. There was a time a couple of years ago, before Bikram, when shoveling that much snow for that long (2 hours) would have resulted in my back being so sore and painful that I would have been hobbled for at least a few days. Not anymore, this yoga is truly amazing!
Tomorrow will be my toughest day of the challenge, double day! I’ll be back in the hot room in less than 10 hours for the 6am class and then take the 5pm class with work in between. Man, work really gets in the way of my yoga, haha.
It’s kind of anti-climatic but I stayed the same this week, no change. I’m still happy with my progress, having lost 7 pounds overall.
Monday 6am class
As tough as yesterday was today was the diametric opposite. The myriad aches and pains from yesterday were mysteriously subdued. I have no explanation other than the power of the yoga. Class was kind of a blur, it went by quickly and I kept waiting for my body to begin its protestations but was relieved when they never arose. 4 more days!
Sunday, 8am class
My body is broken. As I lay on my mat after class I do a check list of what hurts.
Left shoulder -feels like my rotator cuff, it woke me up last night, a constant dull throbbing that escalates to a sharp pain if I move it the wrong way.
Right lower shoulder blade- this one is new, it happened sometime during class today, yay!
Thumbs- yes my thumbs ache, “hands overhead, release the fingers, interlock the thumps”. After 25 days my thumps feel tortured.
Knees- feeling old and sore.
Lower back- my albatross has reared its ugly head during the challenge- my biggest fear going into the challenge, it’s screaming for a day off.
So here I am, lying on my mat, broken. I’m not sure how long I lay here, enveloped in my pain. When I open my eyes I’m the last one left. My body is worn out, worn down, it’s had enough. With only 5 days to go I have to pull it together. There is no way I’m quiting now. I have to make it through this, somehow..
Friday, 6am class
This was a tough class mentally as I had a hard time staying focused on the yoga. My mind kept wandering, thinking about work stuff. It was especially hard to stay present during the floor series. I was happy to finally hit the shower after class. Some classes fly by, some not so much. This class definitely falls into the latter.
Saturday, 8am class
Focus is back, felt good mentally and physically. The biggest thought on my mind is I have 6 days left in the challenge! I can’t wait for a day off!!
Here is my exact diet I’ve followed during the Challenge. It’s actually not that different from how I normally eat, I’ve just cut out all junk food.
Egg burrito- 1 scrambled egg, refried beans, wrap
4oz of OJ
1 cup of coffee, w/sweetnlow, almond milk creamer
If I’m in a hurry I grab an egg white burrito out of the freezer, I buy Good Food Made Simple brand
On Sunday I make gluten free pancakes w/fresh blueberries
Mid morning snack
Raw veggies like celery and carrots or cucumbers
Turkey sandwich with a sliced half avocado on it, no mayo. I buy the Applegate naturals, no nitrates, antibiotics, etc.
weekends I mix it up, usually with some type of light soup.
1 Apple, 1 or 2 Clementine’s, 1 rice cake (spread out)
1 cup of green tea
Sensible dinner usually consisting of chicken, ground turkey or fish and a vegetable and rice or beans.
After dinner some type of fresh fruit to satisfy the sweet tooth.
If the munchie bug hits during the evening I’ll make some air popped popcorn with zero cal butter spray and some light salt
Lots and lots of water all day and night. The great thing about doing hot yoga everyday is that I’m always thirsty so drinking lots of water is not a problem.
Here’s a new favorite dinner of mine:
Ground turkey fried rice
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
4 scallions, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup snow peas, halved
4 carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Cook the rice according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, ginger, and half the scallions and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the rice, peas, snow peas, carrots, hoisin sauce, and vinegar to the turkey mixture and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Top with the remaining scallions.