Tag Archives: 60 day bikram challenge

Day 56

16 Mar

Very long overdue…but here goes: an optimistic post!!  Last night’s class was GREAT…and it’s been a long while since I’ve said that.  C and I went to the 8pm class and I honestly expected a bad class.  I had 5 oreos before class (it was 2 hours before…I thought I’d be okay!) and so I felt pretty icky on the drive over.  But C and I were laughing over our horrible class prep and soon I completely forgot that I felt sick.

As we signed in, the instructor asked us how the challenge was going and we both responded half-heartedly*.  He suggested we try drinking electrolytes and even gave us some electrolyte packets he had! I’m not sure if it’s mental or what, but I really did feel less worn-down after class.  C and I also chatted with the instructor’s girlfriend (also an instructor ) in the locker room about teacher training, her real-life job, and how she balances it all.  This combo of instructor positivity, excitement for another challenger on her day 60, and C’s always positive encouragement translated into an amazing class.  No dizziness, no nauseousness, no shakiness- I felt strong throughout the entire class.  In fact, class flew by.  And…drumroll…I even smiled a couple of times.  Without prompting.  And I tried– I tried to lock my knee, I tried to lift my legs that extra inch, I tried in every single pose.  And I was sore after class, in a good way.

It felt so good having a great class.  I tend to be such a complainer (maybe even negative?) that it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in everything that went wrong.  Such a nice change to not complain for once 🙂

*I keep forgetting to mention this, but I LOVE how all of the instructors at our studio are always willing and interested in answering any questions.  They really do enjoy teaching classes and it shows in how nice/informed/helpful they all are!

4 more days!!

-L

Day 56 was great.  It was my first tmie in three days NOT doing a double and it was easy peasy. Like L said, the instructor gave us magical electrolytes and it gave me something to look forward to in class.  I felt strong and motivated throughout class and loved the fact that it wasn’t super crowded 🙂

Another factor in my motivation was that another challenger completed her 60th class with us last night at 8pm. She seemed really happy at the end of class and it made me realize how close we are to being in that same boat! I can’t wait!  Unfortunately, my body seems to be breaking down at the moment, as I have developed sever inner-ear pain over the past day and haven’t been able t function and sleep. My body isbasically falling apart :/  so I am really looking forward to getting my tmie back from bikram and going when I want to, and (most importantly) allowing my body to rest and recuperate.  Not to mention, I have another double to complete in the next 3 days. Nonetheless, I am really pumped for the remainder of the challenge and really proud of myself and L 🙂

-C

Day 44

4 Mar

I opted to take the 6pm class after work for day 44. I was in dire need of a strong class, as my will power, motivation, and general affinity for bikram was starting to fade.  To my luck, I had a wonderful class for the first time in a while. I was balanced, focused, and steady throughout the hour and a half. I didn’t even let fleece-wearing crazy girl bother me when she forced the teacher to jack up the temperature a few degrees during class (GO SOMEWHERE ELSE IF YOU WANT TO SWEAT TO DEATH).  I think my healthyish food choices during the day, combined with the presence of a bunch of newcomers in the row behind me really fueled my desire to perform.

After class, I was talking with another challenger, an incredibly sweet lady named Lia.  We were discussing how we felt (she’s on day 35ish) and she told me that she was tired, which I have also been feeling, but she also told me that she already lost 18 pounds! I couldn’t believe that she had experienced such drastic results so quickly. The last time I weighed myself (around day 25), I had actually gained 2 lbs. I think the reason I am not dropping weight so easily is because I just really needed to tone up. And, like I mentioned in my 40 day check-in, I have definitely noticed a change in my body.  And my friend who hadn’t seen me in 2 months said she noticed that my face (and butt) looked more svelte. I’ll take it!

Regardless, bikram and I are back on and I can’t wait for class tonight, when I finally get to have a class with L. It feels like it’s been forever and after day 45, we are TOTALLY in the home stretch!

-C

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same strong class that C did.  I went to the 4pm class and was just smad (thats sad/mad) the entire time.  The heat wasn’t anywhere near hot enough until the floor series, so poses that usually aren’t hard for me took a lot more effort (if it’s not hot enough, your muscles don’t warm up so you feel sore a lot quicker).  I didn’t sit down or sit out any poses, I just didn’t try very hard.  I barely even drank water- just didn’t want to put forth any sort of effort at all.

I’m in a self-induced workout rut.  I’m so bored with doing the exact same workout every.single.day. (especially since I haven’t been seeing the results I’d like to). Too bad my name’s written on the wall for everyone to see…can’t quit now.  I’m hoping that a class with C will help me out- in the past week I’ve only taken one or two classes with her- I just can’t go alone anymore.

-L

Day 39

28 Feb

I went into the Saturday afternoon class expecting the usual perfect storm of crap- maybe I’d lie down for half the class, maybe someone would yell at the instructor, mass exodus in the middle of class?  But none of that happened.  Instead, I broke the Saturday curse and had a really great class!  Which is slightly surprising, considering how I prepared for class: ate a few saltines, 2 cupcakes, and part of a leftover quesadilla, and sat on the couch for about 5 hours watching mindless tv.  Maybe that’s further proof that hydration is more important than pre-class food choices?

I didn’t have any great breakthroughs today, but I remembered something the instructor said the other day about camel pose (would have posted the other day…but chose to rant about the heat instead 🙂 ).  Camel pose is considered the pinnacle of the floor series, much like triangle pose is the pinnacle of the standing series.  This backward bend is said to compress the spine, open the rib cage, lungs and digestive system, relieve back problems, and improve and strengthen the neck, back and shoulders. This pose also makes you dizzy and nauseous from time to time.  Our instructor the other day was explaining that this posture is so difficult because it evokes your “fight or flight” reflex since you’re opening the entire front of your body.  And when we get scared, our natural tendency is to get into a fetal position, or protect our front.  I’d say about half the time I’m in this posture I freak out a little bit and have to talk myself into staying put.  And after hearing the instructors reasoning behind this freakout, I think it’s a little easier to stay put.

Lesson learned: Not all weekend classes are hell! I’m going to stop going into every weekend class with a negative mindset.

Goal: Work on looking a little less pissed during class.  The owner told me after class that he kept trying to make me smile during class (he was a couple of rows behind me) and instead I just looked mad the whole time.  I didn’t see his attempts, but I should still probably work on looking a little happier 🙂

-L

After a night of many, many margaritas, great music, and great company in the city that never sleeps, I was dreading my noon class in NYC. My sister has originally planned to join but ended up balking in exchange for more sleep.

SO I trekked the 7 or so blocks to Bikram yoga NYC’s midtown location.  As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by several extremely friendly employees who got me all set up and acquainted with the studio, which encompassed two floors of a city high rise.  The studio was very big and I took a seat right next to the wall of windows since it was a beautiful day and I thought I might luck out and catch a cool draft. The instructor was an incredibly warm and friendly woman who took a chance to learn the name of each student in her class beforehand and used the names throughout class for encouragement.  Her positive energy and encouragement was a major factor in my not dying during class.  Several differences between my normal studio and this studio that struck me before and during class:

  • Everyone was incredibly fit and flexible.  I was surrounded by dancers and actors felt like a lumpy slob.
  • People were chatting the entire 15 minutes before class. In my regular studio, the hot room is more of a place for reflection and it is actually frowned upon to carry on conversations before/during/after class. 
  • Everyone had hand towels and used them to wipe their faces throughout class. I was under the assumption that your body sweats to cool off- so why would you get rid of it?
  • The teacher opened the windows at a few points during class (which I appreciated a lot!)
  • People were wearing all sorts of crazy stuff. Legwarmers, cut off stockings, jewelery.  In essence it was more bohemian yoga chic than cookie cutter lululemon (but everything is essentially cookie-cutter where I live, not that I’m complaining). 

I was so distracted by my surroundings and hangover that I really didn’t focus on my practice like I should have, but the instructor’s watchful eye did make me attempt each asana and never give up or half-ass anything throughout the 90 minutes. Overall, it was really nice to change things up, but I can’t wait to get back to my normal studio where class ends in cold, minty towels 🙂

Lessons learned: Each bikram studio has small differences, but it is comforting to receive almost identical instruction and type of workout at each of the studios.

Goals: Hydrate while traveling! It’s much tougher to fit in water-chugging when you are socializing.

-C

Day 33

23 Feb

After yesterday’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad class, I wanted today’s class to be great.  So I drank a ton of water in preparation and ate healthy, eating my last meal over 4 hours before class.  Before class began, my stomach was super full of water, but I figured that once I got into class and started sweating, I’d feel better.  But I was wrong…

I got into class and after 3 postures, had to sit down and then 2 seconds later, lie in savasana.  I was so nauseous, I thought I might actually puke on the floor.  I attempted a few more postures off and on, but kept having to lie down.  I was embarrassed and mad- I was standing in the front row and lying in savasana for the entire standing series!  Finally, during the first posture in the floor series, I left the room.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do any of the floor series feeling as nauseous as I did.

I laid down outside the room for the remainder of the class, crying  (bikram makes me crazy) and waiting for my roommate to finish class.  I apologized to the instructor for leaving the room and then went home.  And then…stomach flu hit me. Hard. Ugggggh.

-L

10 am class came wayy too quickly for me to be happy about. I was supposed to have the owner as an instructor, who I usually enjoy but know that he loves to keep the room ridiculously hot.  SO I was ecstatic to find out that the instructor from yesterday, a cheery girl around my age, was the surprise instructor (thank goodness).  This set my mood up for class. I was both relieved and hopeful that I could have a good class, despite my lack of sleep and hydration.   And that I did. Class was tough and HOT, though.  Actually, the temperature in the room at the start was 113.  One hundred and thirteen degrees.  Unbelievable. But I’m pretty sure that either I got used to it or she cooled the room down during (at least) the floor series.  Nothing really remarkable about class, but I’ve noticed that my legs are getting stronger and more controlled during class, which increases my balance during the standing series, as long as I remember to focus on strengthening my lower half during the 90 minutes.  The next two classes that I have will be in different studios (in NJ) and I’m really curious to see how it’s done up there.  I bet it won’t include fresh minty towels 😦

Lessons learned: Don’t let an instructor scheduled to teach class affect your moon.  In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.

Goals: Get parents to join a class with me during my visit home!

-C

 

Day 32

23 Feb

Ugh.  Not even sure how to sum up this class. Friday night was so fun- beautiful weather, free ticket to the oyster and beer festival on the water, dance party at C’s place- great night.  Saturday morning, I woke up somewhat early, so I figured I’d go to the 10am class since I had plans later that afternoon.  Bad idea.  Really, really bad idea.   Bikram on a stomach full of oysters, beer, 5 hour energy and chips is HARD.  I spent a good amount of the class sitting or lying in savasana yelling at myself (in my head of course). Whyyyyyy do I do this to myself?

Only plus of class: my hangover was left in a puddle on the floor.

Lesson learned: I don’t think I learned anything.  I’m 99% sure I’d repeat Friday night again, despite the bikram consequences- fun night 🙂

Goal: Stop hating/sucking at Saturday classes.

-L

I had a relatively strong class on Saturday.  The night before I had gone out to eat with friends and had a few drinks, said dance party, and late night jersey shore viewing at my apartment, but mainly kept my intake low, knowing that I had felt the wrath of my Friday night drinking decisions before in class and didn’t want to go there again. So during the day, I slept and hydrated and ordered myself food because it was windy and cold out (huge contrast from the gorgeous night before).

I went, along with my roommate (guest blogger W) and L’s roommate, to the 4pm and had an instructor that we hadn’t had in a while, which was a nice change of pace.  She kept encouraging us the entire class, telling us how much we were in sync as a class (read: no first timers) and the group dynamic really encouraged me to push myself throughout class.  I felt so incredibly energized during class and even found myself smiling and relaxing during the floor series.  I was also reminded of my love for the fixed firm pose:

This pose acts as a tourniquet for the calves, ankles, knees and feet and when released, freshly oxygenated blood rushed to these areas as of the body, flushing away unnecessary scar tissue and circulating blood flow.  This has helped my leg (which is healing from a dermatological incision) heal more quickly than I assume it would have if I was not doing bikram. Although I have no evidence to prove this, I know that my body is always improving and healing consistently throughout this process. Today was one of those classes that reminded me why I love bikram!

Lessons learned: Bikram is crack and I can’t get enough

Goals: Take it easy at my friend engagement party tonight, as to not make tomorrow (which includes a 10am class and a trip back to Jersey to see my parents) awful.

-C

Day 31

23 Feb

Friday night class was completely empty. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (75 in mid February!) so most opted to stay out of the studio. It ended up being only me and 3 other women in class, which really intimidated me. Rana was teaching and I knew that each of us would be getting extra attention, but instead of being critical, she was encouraging throughout the class. Each woman in the class was pretty experienced and it ended up being a wonderful class. The rhythm of the class was face-paced with no fuss or story-telling. I spent the majority of the standing series focusing on locking out my legs and engaging my leg muscles throughout the entire 90-minute class. This is actually a lot harder than i thought and has made me aware of how I compensate by bending my legs sometimes to stabilize myself.

Having all of these strong classes in a row is starting to scare me! Thinking that this weekend may be rough…

Lessons learned: Smaller classes are so much better

Goals: Stop hiding in the front corner of the room

-C

I went to the 6am class ALONE- my first solo bikram class. I was a little bit nervous about going alone, but it ended up being a really strong class.  Since bikram is supposed to be a meditation with yourself, I tried really hard to focus only on myself.  I even got a compliment from the instructor on my standing bow pose!  But while this was a strong class, the ‘new” heat in the room really got to me again.  During the spine strengthening series I felt like I was gasping for air.  The humidity was really high even though it was a small morning class.  After class, the instructor/owner told me I can’t “hide out” from the heat in the 6am classes anymore.  No fair.

Lesson learned: Classes are more fun when they end with a C high-five!

Goal: Go to more morning classes.  Free afternoons (especially in 70 degree weather) make morning classes worth it!

-L

Day 28

16 Feb

Due to the closure of our studio, L and I decided to take a class up near my work (NW DC).  I had been there twice before and knew what to expect, but I think L had a bit of a culture shock upon her arrival.  The studio is bare bones.  It is not as serene or as nice-smelling as our normal studio.  The teachers aren’t all hopped up on life and the students don’t wear lululemon.  It is just a hot smelly room with a bunch of strangers and plug in humidifiers.  No anti-microbial flooring or UV filtered air. Anyway, the list goes on.

My co-worker (K) who had done bikram twice before  headed over with me to meet L who was having a mild heart attack over the state of affairs at the studio.  We set our stuff down in the room as K chose not to stand near us and instead focused on channeling his inner zen on the other side of the room.  The heat in the room was different than the heat we are used to, and it felt more scorching and dry than it normally does. All in all, I had a really strong class and it was nice to have a change of scenery to break the monotony, albeit in a much less plush setting. But I guess sweaters can’t be choosers.  Our instructor was from my hometown area and even made a comment about the Phillies in the beginning of class so I automatically liked her.  She was pretty standard as a teacher, no frills or puns or jokes, but I was ok with that.

One pose that has really been challenging me lately is the half moon pose.  It is the first pose during class (after pranayama breathing) and involves several mini-postures (pictured below):

Each of these poses within the half-moon series requires immense amounts of concentration and physical strength. A lot a mind-body battling goes on throughout this series, specifically in the backbend, and my success in these few postures often predicts my success and ability to control my body throughout the rest of the class.  I will continue to work on the posture and have realized that the depth in each pose doesn’t matter nearly as much as form. L and I were definitely two of the stronger students  (at least on our side of the  room) which was a new experience.  I am slowly gaining confidence in my practice and although I know I’m not good by any means, I feel less inhibited to push myself and enjoy challenging my body and mind in class. At the end of class I felt satisfied and was disappointed to remember that we wouldn’t get any cool towels soaked in essential oils at the end of class. Instead we got a half-hearted goodbye from the instructor and left class not nearly as refreshed as usual.

Some things that I have been noticing out of class include 1) My hair-it is growing out like crazy! Have no scientific explanation for this but I am not complaining, but my supply of shampoo and conditioner quickly dwindle because of the amount of showers I’m taking. 2) Laundry- I do a load of laundry every night and still I can smell bikram lingering. Ew. 3) Skin- the bags under my eyes that had been persistent for weeks 1-3 are finally starting to go away. May have something to do with the better sleep I’m getting or could be due to my body finally adjusting to working out every day (something I haven’t done since sophomore year of college so >5 years). Not sure I’ve achieved the glow that people say that they get from bikram but I am hopefully working towards it 🙂
Lessons learned: Judge bikram studios by their cover, no frills just isn’t my style.

Goals: Focus on form in half-moon series during class 28

-C

Because our studio was closed for renovations, C and I were forced to attend a different studio.  There’s a bikram studio about 6 blocks from my office, but I decided to travel a little farther and go to class with C and her coworker at a studio near their office.  And it was…interesting?.  I used to live in a somewhat sketchy part of the city, but I’ve been in the ‘burbs for 3 years now and I’ve gotten used to my cushy life style.  Our usual studio is so pretty: decorated with calming colors, has an antimicrobial floor, uv lights that filter the air, a cute Buddha sitting with hippie incense, instructors/staff that are always happy and welcoming and a huge studio with mirrors on 3 sides and a high ceiling.

But not with this other studio.  I’m a germaphobe and I don’t try to hide it.  I wash my hands countless time a day, carry around hand sanitizer, and have to make an actual effort not to freak out on the germy metro (someone actually sneezed on me yesterday…who does that??!!).  So needless to say, I wasn’t too happy with this other studio.  It was in an older building, with low drop ceilings, old looking carpet, no frills, and no discernible effort to control germs.  The actual yoga room smelled like feet and I spent 90 minutes thinking about what germs were attacking my immune system.  Luckily though, I’ve taken enough bikram now that my practice was on “auto-pilot” and my irrational germ panic didn’t affect my performance during class.

The actual class was really good and I was happy to finally have a strong class again.  The instructor wasn’t quite as high energy as I’m used to, but was very perceptive and corrected students as needed.  She even learned my name which was impressive.  And the other students seemed a little bit more low key than our normal studio.  AND  the drop-in classes are cheaper and even include a free second class.

All in all, I think it was a good experience for us to see a different studio.  It made me appreciate our studio more, but also illustrated how uniform the actual bikram yoga practice is- take it in a mansion, apartment, shack or house….it’ll be the same!

Lesson learned: I think I’m a yuppie and that makes me a little sad 😦

Goal: Clean my yoga mat.  For being such a germaphobe, I’m a little grossed out that I haven’t cleaned it in months…

-L