Bikram 30 day challenge benifits

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

Day 30, Bikram party time

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. 

Day 26 the ride continues

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!

Day 22

6am class

Today was better than yesterday. Back was less sore, felt focused mentally. Happy about losing 7 pounds and happy my back is letting me continue on.

I got this great piece of advice in a comment from Views from the Podium, who is a Bikram teacher and it really helped me today with the hands to feet pose, which is the posture I hurt my back in:

Just curious – when you start to pull in Hands to Feet Pose are your knees together or bowed apart? Sometimes I find that people that may have a tightness in their lower back or hips can’t keep the knees together. If this is the case slowly try to bring them back together and then pull, but always keep the front side compression (stomach on the thighs, chest on the knees, face on the legs below the knees). Maybe this will help, maybe not – I love reading about your challenge – you are almost there!

Turns out my knees were bowing apart so I guess this was putting undue stress on my lower back. Thanks Views!

I also got this little gem from Steven:

Have you ever tried rolling around on a lacross ball, particularly in the hip areas? That’s really helped me loosen up my lower back.

So….I’m off to Sports Authority to buy a lacross ball! Thanks Steven, I’ll let you know how it works!

Oh, by the way, I got a compliment from my wife today (which is rare!). This morning when I arrived home from yoga she looked at me and said, “You look skinnier”. Made my day!

Day 21, crisis averted

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!