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
Friday, 6am class
My yoga marathon of the previous 24 hours has really wiped me out. Eight hours of sleeping like a baby was just not enough as I force myself out of my warm bed at 4:50am. As I take my dog outside in the frigid dark I feel tired to the bone. Even my eyes hurt as if I only slept a couple of hours. It takes all of my will power not to crawl back into my cozy bed but this is day 30 of my challenge and there’s no stopping me now.
I won’t lie, this was not one of my best classes. Any hope of ending the challenge with an all out, superman, king of the yoga world finish is quickly doused as I struggle through the opening breathing excersise just trying to stay present. My mind wanders, anxious to finally complete this thing. My body does no better than my mind, struggling to find balance as we progress through the postures. The final 90 minutes of what has been a 2,700 minute challenge seem to crawl by. I can hear a clock ticking in my brain and it’s ticking in slow motion. Time stands still as I sweat out every last drop of perspiration my body has left. Several times I catch myself going into the next posture only to realize we still have a second set to do. Apparently I’m not the only one absent mentally as at one point our teacher remarks, “what’s going on, do you all have a hot date after class?”.
I hear my mind saying, “I just want a day off” and “I just want to sleep in”. I’m so close now I can barely stand it. The last few postures take an eternity but we finally arrive at the final breathing exercise and those last few exhales have never felt so good. I did it! I feel a true sense of accomplishment as my teacher congratulates four of us by name that have just completed the challenge. The rest of the class applauds.
I lay on my back in final savasana, my 30 day challenge complete. Just one more step in my yoga journey.
Back in the hot room after just 10 hours and I’m nervously staring down the barrel of my first double! First class goes by swimmingly. I’m feeling pretty loose after last night’s class and the short turn around. I don’t push myself extra hard as I know I’ll be back at 5pm for round two.
5pm class – breakthrough!
So here goes my first double! This is also my third class in less than 24 hours, pretty hard-core for me. I made sure to stay hydrated in between classes, I even drank some Gatorade on top of lots of water. I hope I don’t have to pee during class! I had a nice breakfast after morning class, made myself a 3 egg omelette and some refried beans. By lunch I was famished again and had a plate of left over pasta figuring I could use the extra carbs for energy. I also ate 3 pieces of turkey just to get some protein. I made sure to allow 4 hours to digest.
Class starts well. I feel pretty loose all over; don’t think I’ve had time to get stiff. The first half of class I feel good. The second half of class on the floor is where I experience a real breakthrough. Normally, the first half of class is usually my strongest while the second half always feels harder to me physically but not today; I have my best floor series ever! My body feels so loose that I experience new depths in every single floor posture. My body feels stronger and stronger as we progress through the postures. As the teacher announces that we only have two postures to go I actually think oh no, I don’t want this to end! This is a huge breakthrough in my floor series and it’s happening during a double. Uh oh, I really don’t want to get addicted to doing doubles, haha.
As I hit the shower I have a big old-fashioned yoga buzz on!! I feel amazing. I think I’m walking around grinning for no reason.
Afterwards, I go home and eat a light dinner and realize I am completely and utterly exhausted. Like I’m going to pass out if I don’t get in bed right now. My head hits the pillow and I am fast asleep, dead to the world. When the alarm goes off at 4:50am my body and mind still feel dead, I think I have a yoga hangover. 8 hours of sleep was just not enough after 3 classes in 24 hours but today is day 30 so I begrudgingly force my groggy self out of bed.
Tuesday, Day 27
A little thing called the Blizzard of 2015 rolled into town and everything, including my yoga studio, is shut down under 2 feet of snow. No yoga today means…..uh oh… I’m going to have to do a dreaded double; two classes in one day in order to make up for this. I’ve never done a double before so this will be interesting to say the least!
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.
6 am class
Started class worried about my back injury from yesterday. I’ve come so far and don’t want to bow out now with 10 days to go. I gingerly go through the opening postures and take it easy with hands to feet as this was the posture that tweeked my back yesterday. I can feel the pain in my lower left back during standing head to knee on the left side. However, after this I am able to make it through the rest of class with very little discomfort. I live to fight for one more day!
It’s 5 am. I lost 2 more pounds this week, down a total of 7 pounds in 3 weeks. Starting weight was 184, current weight is 177.
I would be more excited but now I’m off to class to see if my back will hold up, it’s really hurting this morning.