After my 90 day challenge in 2010, I didn’t do much yoga for the rest of the year.. I guess I wore myself out of the idea!! Come 2011 and I found myself getting back into it and in less than 10 classes I was back to the form I was in at the end of the 90 day challenge in 2010 which was an absolutely amazing thing to me. That even after a year of not practicing the power of your body remembering is so great that I was able to get it back in just 10 classes. I asked my yoga teacher about this and she said it varies for different people but she said it was great that my body can bounce back in a short amount of time.
Now it is October and I haven’t gone to class since August so I am just getting back into the groove again. I just bought a 6 month pass and start this week. So far I have gone 3 times this week and I think that will be my goal in general. I don’t want to wear myself out by trying to go a lot and then I get tired of the hustle. The hustle meaning because it is a 90 minute class, plus the time commuting and showering ends up making this a 3 hour allocation for a workout in one day. Therefore I think 3 times a week at a minimum should be just enough to reap the benefits and keep me consistent.
Ok, now that I am caught up with my past few stories, here I am to talk about the most recent experiences. So I had started to become a little discouraged because since I have been dong this challenge everyone has been asking me questions about how I feel, what changes are in my body, how much weight have I lost, etc etc… And unfortunately I had no answers to these questions which made me sad because I have been boasting about Bikram Yoga so much only to say that after 52 days I don’t really feel a difference and the scale hasn’t moved a bit. How was I going to convince people that Bikram Yoga is life changing if I had nothing to prove from my own practice? In fact I have been feeling super exhausted after classes in the evening and I just want to come home and pass out. I don’t feel that boost of energy I used to feel when I would only go 4-5 times a week. I was wondering why I almost felt like I felt the benefits more when I was going fewer times a week, as opposed to everyday. How did this make any sense? I decided it was time to talk to the teachers at my studio.
One teacher I spoke to said that when you are doing an intense challenge like this you really need to take care of yourself. This includes: the amount of water I drink, electrolytes that I should be taking (esp since I have been doing some double classes to make up others), “when” and “what” I eat. That night I had completed a double class and he asked me how much water I drank that day and I said about 3 Liters, and he said see, exactly, that is how much you are supposed to consume for just ONE class, and you took TWO today. So I guess I was supposed to have consumed at least 6L that day, jeez… I also told him I thought electrolytes was like an enhancer and I wanted to do it naturally without any help, so the last 2 doubles I did, I did without any extra electrolytes, I just had water. He said that’s not such a good idea, your body needs electrolytes, and he said you burn so much calories in class and to make sure I am getting some carbs in the day. He also said to be more aware of not eating at least 3 hours before class and eating better and healthier foods. So I decided this month (since I already decided I won’t be drinking all of March) that I was going to drink a lot more water, be careful about eating 3 hours before class, and try to make better food choices as well.
I asked one more teacher the next day about how I have been feeling pretty shitty and didn’t really feel many changes in my body. She told me that this is SO natural, she said that your body is changing so rapidly inside that it cannot physically keep up with all the changes. She said in fact you won’t really see much change until AFTER the 90 day challenge when you go back to 4-5 times a week because your body will be able to catch up then when you aren’t doing it intensely. She said it was very very normal to feel like complete crap, to hate the yoga, to hate everything, and she promised everything I am doing will pay off and that everything I am feeling is what I am supposed to feel. She even said most people think going into teacher training that they will have this amazing practice because they will be going everyday, twice a day. But she said honestly its the same thing, you feel like crap! And its not until after it ends that you start getting in some real form and your body catches up. So this made me feel MUCH MUCH better. I was feeling so discouraged when all my friends keep asking me how much weight I have lost, or what changes in my body I have seen. But now I know that everytime I walk into that class, my body is working internally. I do feel the muscle I am building in everyday activities, and I also have noticed I haven’t been falling asleep at work everyday anymore (hehe). SO I guess that can’t be a bad thing right?
Today is a double day- and in fact there is a potluck at my studio tonight so I am kind of excited to hang out with my fellow yogis that I see everyday and maybe make some friends!!
The night I arrived in LA on our drive to the hotel we passed Bikram’s Headquarters. The reviews seem right, it does look a little broken down, I guess Bikram is serious when he means he makes us go in uncomfortable situations to learn to be more comfortable in any situation!!
Of course all my friends thought I was completely nutso that I was waking up at 6:15 to go to the 7 am class at the headquarters, but I cannot tell you how excited I was. When I arrived to the studio, there was a mini parking lot and it was $1 for parking, when I walked into the lobby, the front desk man could tell I was new because I looked confused about what was where. I signed in and paid for my class, and couldn’t stop looking at all the photos of Bikram and his students all around the lobby in different yoga postures. The lobby felt very homely, and had comfy couches, a tv, and lots of open space. I felt rushes inside, thinking that Bikram walks around this place himself !! Anyways I went into the locker room, which was also quite large and I was astonished to see that the showers had no curtains or doors!! They were just stalls with the shower faucets and soap/shampoo in each. Man this Bikram really is on making us feel uncomfortable and making us step out of our comfort zones. I have definitely NEVER showered in public like that before, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to either…!!
After changing and securing my things away I realized I forgot to ask for a mat rental, when I went to the front desk he told me it was free and just had to get it from the back. How sweet! The towels and mat rentals were both free, which made me feel somewhat more welcomed to Bikram’s “Torture Chamber.” After finding the door to the hot room, when I walked in, straight ahead of me was the pedestal I saw in pictures of where Bikram climbs up on and sits on a comfy couch chair while yelling at everyone in the room. Not to mention, the room was HUGEEEEE, I saw the capacity sign which said 300 persons. The room was dark and had a carpet and just a few people who had already set up their mats ready for class. It was my turn, should I go right in front of the mirror? Or creep in the back area where I saw a couple people hiding? Nope, I decided to go full force in front of the 300 capacity room in front of the mirror! A teacher walked in when it was 7 and started class, he was pretty soft spoken, not what I expected of a teacher who taught in Bikram’s studio. Class was great though, it was the first time I made a huge effort to make it to a Bikram studio even while on vacation.
That night everyone was going out and getting ‘trashed’ with the bridal party. I was so tempted but I knew I wanted to be well hydrated when I was Bikram’s class the next morning. I mean I didn’t want to be hungover in front of Bikram himself, that would seem like a huge insult! We got to bed around 2 or 3 am but it worked out well since the class wasn’t till 10 am. My friend dropped me to the studio since it was going to be hella crowded since Bikram would be there. Now I knew the drill, the check in counter, the locker room, and of course the free mat and towels =). I wanted to sit my mat up somewhat near his pedestal so he could see me and maybe notice me. I didn’t want to be too noticeable though because who knows what kind of names he would call me! (I heard of stories of him calling people out and being really strict.) I found a perfect spot to the right of his pedestal with still some people in between me and where he would be standing.
It is 10:15 and still no sign of Bikram, finally a little man walks in the room, and he has a little bun on the top of his head, and a mic on his face. I knew that was him! He walked through the crowd of students and some people bowed to him and put their hands together in Namaste as a sign of respect. My heart was rushing seeing him walk through the class. He was hilarious, he was grunting and trying to make mean faces to his students to try to act tough but he just looked silly! It was adorable though. I will say he looked like he was around 40 years old, and he is over 60 years old, which was amazing to me. HE was just as fit as everyone said he looks.
As he made it to his pedestal he introduced himself and said hello to any newbies, and started ranting off in stories. It seemed like he hadn’t been to the studio in a while because he kept talking about people he ran into after a long time today. There was one particular man he pointed out, his name was Larry, he asked us how old we thought he looked, and most people said probably 35 or 40, and Bikram kindly asked Larry to please tell us his real age, and he said 72 !!!! Can You believe that? The whole room started cheering and whistling, and Bikram goes. HMPFFF, THat is Bikram Yoga for you!! (He loves to make grunting sounds apparently, because he did it most of class.)
The class was great, at one point he did notice me and said Maam in the Red, you look like a flat tire, please sit LOWER, HMPF!!!! I was like omgg Bikram talked to me!!! There were some real amazing people in there, but a good mix of all sizes, shapes, and flexibilities. He would pick out certain people in the class to stay in their pose while everyone got out, so we could see what the pose should ultimately look like. He was very inspiring, telling us stories of different people he worked with and things people have healed. He kept saying we will never have to go to a doctor or chiropractor if we kept coming to his class. He was very interactive and asked the class questions like what is the most important thing in the world to you? He said he has heard things like Money, Family, Kids, my Parents, my house, but no one ever says “my life.” He said YOUR LIFE is the most important thing to you. He also made some jokes about how he takes peoples money that they would otherwise gives to doctors, and he buys cars with it. I know he really does buy cars since that is his hobby but the way he was throwing it out and making jokes about it was in reference to everyone calling him ‘not a real yogi’ because he is so wealthy, so in turn he jokes about it back to the people. Anyone who does worship him would never second guess him because they know how powerful his yoga is and would in fact give him all their riches, just to gain what he sells, which is ‘life.’
He also joked a couple times saying, what you think I sell here? Cheesecake??? NO, I sell PAIN, only pain will bring you to life, you must use your whole body like you have never. He says we have become so sedentary, lazy, and engage in sports that don’t use our whole bodies and that is why it takes time to heal.
Anyways I been rambling for a while, and I could probably continue, but overall it was amazing taking Bikram’s class himself! And maybe one day I will get to do it again! That was the last time he was teaching in that studio because it is closing down and he is opening a new one somewhere else. So I got super super lucky, and especially because he was going to Spain for the next 2 months for some seminars!
The days after my 30 day challenge were amazing, I felt ever since I let that emotion release out of my body, my practice felt much lighter. Amazing how a certain feeling, emotion of anger, regret, or sorrow, can really put a strain on your body. No wonder people get so many headaches and back pains and other sores in their body. It is definitely connected to the thoughts that are going on in our head. Another reason why being positive and releasing things is good, to protect our precious bodies!
So in practice I feel like I have been able to go a teeny weeny bit deeper into my postures, where before that emotion was holding me back because the tension was kept in my hip joints or wherever it was being kept. It is an amaaaazzing feeling to have released something and move on from it. I cannot wait to release more things and be able to have fuller and deeper practices!
PS. I am going to LA for a friend’s engagement and Bikram’s headquarters is in LA and happens to be just a 7 minute drive from my hotel !!!!! I even called the studio to see if Bikram might be teaching, and he just happens to be in town that weekend and will be teaching the Saturday 10 am class! I am so excited to see this man myself with my own eyes!!!!
So I hit my 30th Day Feb 3rd, which was an amazing thought because originally my plan was only the 30 day challenge and not the 90 day challenge, but these 30 days went by so fast I didn’t even realize it! Good to know that the 30 day really isn’t that bad! In reference to all that crying that was coming out in my last week, my 30th class was the top of them all, I was balling almost the entire 2nd half of class ! I had never cried this much in any of the other classes this month, I felt like it was some breakthrough and everything was just coming out once and for all on the 30th day. It is funny because I had just finished one of BIkram’s Books and near the end he talked about how we are all looking for our own purposes in life and there is no need to look anymore, but just come to this hatha yoga of his and yoga will tell you and guide you on your path of life. I thought this sounded kind of superficial and I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I knew doing Bikram makes you become a nicer, calmer person and therefore you end up making well informed decisions because you are thinking with a clear mind, so I thought this is what he might be referring to. But today in this 30th class I experienced what he was talking about and now I understand what he means. What I mean by that is, the last week or so where I have been crying in almost every class and sometimes in the day time, I had no idea what I was crying about, but some how, in some weird way, in this 30th class while I was practicing, it just came to me, I knew exactly why I was upset inside. And that is why I ended up balling the hardest in this class, I came to this realization, and it came out through my yoga practice, and smack in the middle of it too! I knew that I couldn’t hold this sensation inside anymore and it was time to confront the people who I thought were making me feel this way. At the end of the day it is ourselves who makes ourselves feel a certain way, not someone else, we may blame other people, but at the end of the day we are the ones who let them get to us.
This class was a huge eye opener and I am very blessed to come to this understanding of what Bikram was talking about. I hope that I reveal more things that are kept deep inside my body that I don’t like to talk about, because I swear I felt such a relief after letting all those emotions out and realizing that I just need to talk to these people that I let make me feel this way. Class was a heavy one, but also a very relieving one, and I am glad I hit a breakthrough at class 30, now only to see what day 60 brings me !!
It is weird but I found my week 3 to be pretty emotional. I found myself crying almost in every class last week. I guess I was bringing up some emotions I had previously pushed deep down inside me and it was time to let it out. The funny thing is half the time I don’t even know what I might be crying about but I know I am just letting something out of my system that was buried deep down. Clearly it doesn’t belong there, it is probably what contributes to the tension we keep inside our bodies. I am glad to have found a form of exercise that takes out these “toxins” from my body.
I even found myself crying outside of class a couple times, it was just a week of yanking out some emotions, happy and sad ones. One morning on the metro on the way to work I started crying thinking about how much I love my parents! I was just crying in joy and regret, happiness in how happy I am they are in my life, and sadness that I have not always been the nicest daughter to them.
But besides that I am super happy one of my favorite teachers Mark is back to teach in my studio again. He motivates me and gives me willpower I don’t realize I have until I am in his class. He has been through some emotional times himself and always shares his stories with us in class. He is just so real and I think that is why I feel like I relate to him more. Some teachers just seem like they are on a high on life 24/7 and it seems unrealistic to achieve. But he shows you can get there while talking about all the hard times we will experience too. So I am super excited to be taking more of his classes this month. He also told me my other favorite teacher Adam is coming back, and I am super super excited now because both of them are huge motivators for me in my practice. The last time I took Adam’s class was probably last August in 09. I am going to be jumping in joy when I see him this week! I’m so psyched both of them can be a part of my 90 day challenge!!
PS. I lost 2.5 pounds after 3 weeks of my practice ! =) I think it is starting to work!
So I didn’t make it to class on Sunday, nor did I make it yesterday. So yesterday when I didn’t go I told myself I must do a double class today to make up for yesterday since I already planned a double up for the weekend since I didn’t go last Sunday. But YEAH - a double 90 minute class in a 110 degree room? Doesn’t sound too thrilling, if anything I was scared. But I made myself do it because I am committed to this 90 day challenge. And guess what? It really wasn’t so bad. If anything the thought is more intimidating than the actual classes. The begining of my second class was a little rough and I think half the reason was because my mind kept saying ‘ I can’t believe you are doing another class, you just finished one! Isn’t it time to go home already?!” But as soon as I forgot this was my 2nd class today, I was flying through the postures, and in fact doing more than I did in the first class (which I thought was super weird). But then I figured probably because my muscles are more open since I just finished a 90 minute class and perhaps the energy I gained from my last class I was carrying over to my current class. But anyhoo, no more scardy-catness for double ups. If anything I just need to make sure I prepare well. No alcohol! and need to drink at least 3 liters of water that day! Yay to double ups! If I can do 3 hours of hot yoga, I think I can accomplish anything in this world! No stopping me now!
I am back and ready than ever to go on a journey I never thought I would start so soon, but I am glad I decided to. Bikram always says ‘come for 90 days in a row and I will give you a new mind, new body, and new soul.” I’ve always wondered what he meant, and what that could mean for me but never was ready to make the commitment. 90 days? I mean that is like missing happy hours, driving an hour when I visit my family in NJ to find a studio, and skipping dance classes for 3 months? Not to mention I’ll have to find a Bikram yoga studio when I am in LA and San Diego in February to continue my challenge. But that is OK, because now I am committed. Lets do this!!
So last night was my first night of my challenge and at our studio they have a big 90 day challenge chart with our names and we put a little smiley sticker every-time we come. So I got to put my first sticker up! In terms of my class, it was definitely super hot compared to normal and it was ridiculously crowded. I think everyone is following up on their new year’s resolutions to be healthier! So my class was pretty good for a first class, I wasn’t able to do all the postures but I did as many as I could. It is amazing how much my muscles have tightened up since mid December, last time I came to class I was decently flexible. But last night I was having trouble doing some things I was able to do easily last month. But no worries, I have time to work through my muscle tightness. I have 89 more days =). So here we go.. I am back to another challenge and I will update to discuss my progress and how my classes are!
Many times we find ourselves thinking in loops, and it is exhausting. Do you ever feel that way? I sure do. Btw, I totally accomplished my 20 days of yoga challenge in July. But the other part was I have not gone back since then, until this week. And this time I came back with no goals, nothing to strive towards, and I did not even plan on going. I just decided to get up and go on Tuesday evening when I had no plans. Amazing how when you do not think too much about things you surpass your potential. These last four classes this week that I went to, I went to effortlessly. I did not put much thought into it, did not expect too much of myself, I just went, and I did yoga, Period. I think I did better in these four classes than I have in all of those 20 classes in July. Amazing isn’t it ? Sometimes Less is More. And I totally feel that way, and I really want to do that more. To just go through life casually, oh how easy things would be. No expectations, no pre thoughts or after thoughts. Just doing, and enjoying every minute of it. I guess its kind of like living in the present. I think I almost even feel better after these four classes than I in all of those 20. I still find that so amazing. The mind has so much control over what we can accomplish. So try that one day. Just sit there and stop thinking, and just do. See how much you can accomplish when your mind is clear and not clogged with all the “ifs” and “shoulds” and “coulds” and “maybes” and “I cant do it.” Just get up and go! No thoughts =). Just breathe!
Looking for some motivation to attempt every posture in the class around classes 11 through 15 or so, I found some this weekend from my teacher. He said you are coming here to suffer, so you do not suffer outside of this room, “We sell pain,” is what he said. You are not coming here to class for a vacation but to work hard, so you have to work less hard outside of the room. He told me after class that the more you come to yoga, the more you will do better in all your other activities in life. If you are a runner, yoga will help you become a better runner, if you are a CIO or executive, yoga will help you become a better CIO or executive, if you are not sleeping well, yoga will help you sleep better. Yoga will help you do better in school, help you deal with life situations better.
Ultimately the punch line of the class that got me going was, “You can suffer for 90 days, or you can suffer for 90 years, it’s your choice.” And seconds after I heard that, I shot up into a sit up posture and completed the rest of the class attempting every posture. I was like, “oh NO, I will NOT be THAT person, suffering for 90 years!!!” It was AWESOME, and after that I forced myself to go Sunday also and Sunday I had the best class I think I have had in all 17 of my classes this month of July. It was absolutely AMAZING, and I walked out of that class on a cloud, and feeling absolutely liberated from all the stressors in life. I went home and was very productive with some stuff for work and some personal catch up things I been meaning to do. I think I am finally seeing some serious benefits from all this hard work I been putting into going and attempting the postures. It is all worth it, when you feel amazing and happy and on top of the world !!! I will be hitting my GOAL this Thursday =). (20 class in the month of July)
A journey to connect with me.