Q: Wait, you do yoga?
A: Apparently! I went to a class once in high school but did not actually start doing yoga until a neighbor (who is no longer my neighbor) invited me to go with him last year. I went to my first class on December 22, 2015 and fell in love with it. It is also worth mentioning that I was not entirely terrible at it! Because it was my first time at the studio, they offered me a deal and gave me a discounted price for 2 weeks of unlimited classes. I went several more times during the 2 weeks and continued on for many months after that. I took a break when I got back from my Europe trip but was missing it quite a bit (and needed a break from the gym) so I picked it up again in early November.
Q: What kind of yoga?
A: Bikram Hot Yoga. It is a 90 minute class consisting of 2 sets of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises performed in a heated room of 105 degrees with 40% humidity. You sweat, a lot.
The instructor has to follow a ‘script’ so the class is essentially the same every time. Each instructor is a little different though in that some just rush through it, others are chatty and try to be funny, and others really try to get you to push yourself both mentally and physically.
Q: So you went for 30 days… what is the big deal?
A: I went for 30 days IN A ROW as part of the “30-Day Challenge” which is where you complete 30 classes in 30 days. I would call that a big deal!
My 30-day chart. It was exciting to put my final sticker on! If you notice, my stickers are in a nice color pattern. #OCD
Q: Why did you do the challenge?
A: I did not start going to yoga again with the intent to do the challenge but after I realized I had gone 4 days in a row, I thought to myself, “what’s another 26 days?” Plus, there was a guy in the class (Laos) who was almost finished with his 60-Day Challenge and currently going for his 90-Day Challenge, a lady (Claudia) who did a 30-Day a few months ago, and that lady’s daughter (Rebecca) who had recently finished her own 30-Day. The four of us were there every day at the same time and seeing them work toward it and do so well inspired me to try it.
Q: Why did you stop going to yoga and why did you start again?
A: I stopped because I left the country for a month and when I came back, I just did not have the time. I was “training” for my first half-marathon and I really just wanted to focus on that. Plus, yoga is expensive and because of the trip and other things, the yoga budget got cut. I started again because after the half-marathon, I was not working out much. My IT band in my right leg was really tight and I had been going to physical therapy, doing home exercises, playing volleyball, and occasionally going to the gym but I was not running or really exerting myself.
On top of that, I get really bad anxiety over silly things and I just was not in a great place mentally. Yoga is the only time my brain is able to slow down and tune everything out for 90 minutes and I needed that. I still do, honestly. I would not describe this particular style of yoga as calming/relaxing or consider it meditation yoga but instead, I would say it is a cardio yoga (your heart rate gets up there!). However, it is sort of spiritual in a way. If you get the right instructor, you can really have an experience during class. There were times I actually cried in the room, if that says anything.
Q: Was it difficult going every day?
A: YES. There were days I did NOT want to be there, but I went anyway. There were days that made going really difficult on my schedule, but I went anyway. There were days I was sick, but I went anyway. There were days I was sore and my body hurt, but I went anyway. The challenge is 30 classes in 30 days so I will be honest and say I did miss 2 days (because I legitimately could not make it work in my schedule)… but that only means that there were 2 days I had to attend 2 classes (one in the morning, one in the evening) to make up for it. Those double days were not my favorite.
As with anything, I had good days and bad days though: there were days my body just was not flexible and was not having it (ugh, day 15!!) and there were days where I did so well you might as well have called me the yoga master (shout out to day 16 and day 24!). I did something to my back on day 13 and it bothered me on and off for the rest of the challenge. Some days it did not bother me at all and other days it hurt so badly I did not want to even move. I did get a massage twice and that seemed to help for a bit but I probably should go to the doctor soon.
Also, going in the morning was always very difficult and not necessarily because there was lack of energy but mostly because your body is very tight when you wake up so it made doing the postures more difficult (in my opinion).
Q: Did your yoga postures improve?
A: YES! Whoever first used the phrase “practice makes perfect” really knew what they were talking about because my postures improved so much. During my first class last year, I could barely balance on some of the balancing postures or stretch completely in others and now I can do the advanced versions of almost every posture. With that said, I am not actually perfect so there is always room for improvement
Q: Do you have a favorite posture? A least favorite?
A: I have been doing well at the “Standing Head to Knee” pose lately so I am enjoying that but I think my favorite is the “Fixed Firm Pose” (pictured). It is not one of the complex ones but I like the way it stretches my legs, stomach, chest, and spine. It feels good!
My least favorite is “Locust Pose.” The first part of this is doing one leg at a time and that part is not terrible but when you have to do both legs, I hate it. I think part of my hatred is that I am just not very good at it. I can do it, it is just really difficult to hold it the entire time comfortably.
Q: What was your most favorite thing about doing this? Least favorite?
A: The most favorite was seeing and learning about what my body is capable of. I would have never thought I could do some of the things I am doing now and it is really exciting to develop like that. It is nice to have a little pride and sense of accomplishment, too.
The least favorite thing was laundry – so. much. laundry. Everyone sweats like crazy in there so after every class I would immediately strip and throw everything (including my yoga towel) into the laundry and then take a shower. I did a load of laundry, typically, once a day as you can imagine you would not want stinky, sweaty clothes sitting in a washing machine for too long. Gross.
Q: That is a lot of yoga. Did you lose any weight?
A: Everyone’s weight fluctuates within a range and yes, my range is about 2-3 pounds lower now which was surprising given that I am basically at a standard weight. More importantly, I can SEE a difference in my body. My curves changed a little, my legs look stronger, I have some resemblance of core muscles, and I might possibly have an actual butt. Regardless of the number though, I like that I can SEE changes.
Other benefit: my skin has been pretty clear!
Q: Do you win something for completing the challenge?
A: I received 20% off of my next month’s package!
Laos gave me a card and a gift card to celebrate!
Q: What is next?
A: No surprise – I am attempting the 60-Day Challenge! I figured now is as good a time as any because I can capitalize on my momentum already. If I stop now and then decide to do the 60-Day Challenge in the future then I have to repeat the 30-Day one which does not seem very efficient. With the Christmas season approaching, it will be more difficult but I am going to try and see what happens. If I am able to do it, maybe I will go for the 90-Day Challenge!
Q: Dang, now I want to try Bikram! Can I come with you?
A: Always! I have brought several people to try it (shout out to the 5 brave people who came with me last Spring) and all have had different reactions to it. It is always fun to try something new so if you are ever interested, I would love to have you come to class! Send me a message and I will give you all of the information you need.
Back row: Craig (Laos’ friend who recently started yoga), Laos, Kathleen, and Jim
Front row: Cindy (one of my favorite instructors), and me!
Lastly, there was a new inspirational quote on the board each day. My favorite one was:
Feel what you feel.
Experience what you experience.
New breath, new moment, new opportunity.
Until next time,