Bikram 30 Day Challenge – Days 1 and 2

My brother is concerned that my blogging audience might assume I’m 300lb, given my obsession with food. To offset that assumption (and keep it from coming true…), I’ve decided to write about the 30 Day Bikram Challenge I started this weekend.

I’ve done Bikram before and written about it here. I have a love hate relationship with it (love having done it, occasionally hate the actual doing of it) that’s kept me from making it a full time practice. And BTW, it’s freaking expensive. However, I feel like I need to give Bikram a chance  before I kick him to the curb. I want to see if he’s right that a Bikram challenge will transform my life so I’m committing to 30 days of going every day. Of course, Bikram wants 60 days but I can’t commit to 60 uninterrupted days because I’m a busy girl, dontcha know. So I’m giving it 30 and let’s see how it goes.

Day 1:

I decided against the Tucson Bikram studio and picked Yoga Vida instead. It’s not a certified studio so Bikram doesn’t get an outrageous kickback but they do teach the Bikram method. Now I’ve done Bikram yoga in a certified studio, and I’ve done other forms of  yoga in heated rooms but I’ve never done Bikram method yoga in an uncertified studio where the instructors can teach however they want. And after my first class at Yoga Vida with instructor Stephanie – a sweet, kind soul –  I can say that it’s the whole system without the dialogue.

In Bikram the entire system is tightly regimented. Not only is it always 26 poses in 90 minutes but even the instructors have scripted dialogue. If you visit studios across the country, you’ll hear the same weird references to ham sandwiches, or exactly foreheads and you’ll be told several times to “LOCK YOUR KNEE.” Except at Yoga Vida where they gently and quietly ask you to engage your thighs and lift your ribcage and soften your gaze. You know, typical yoga stuff.

However, it turns out that having done Bikram for a while, I locked my knee anyway and said “just like a Japanese ham sandwich” to myself as I pressed my face into my locked knee. All of you who do Bikram know what I’m talking about and the rest of you are wondering what a Japanese ham sandwich is exactly. If you find out, let me know. It’s the big conundrum of the Bikram world.

The first class was not as brutal as I expected. I am stiff and un-flexible in ways I wasn’t 6 months ago, I definitely had to fight down nausea and dizziness on several occasions and I cut the last camel pose short by a few seconds but my body remembered the poses better than my conscious brain However, I did revisit the thing I love about Bikram the most – I got to turn my mind off and just follow directions for 90 minutes.

Here’s to 29 more days of saving my brain power for other things!

Day 2:

Ouch. Just… ouch. I’m sore from class yesterday and some of the poses hurt anyway, so… ouch. I tend to muscle through pain instead of taking it easy so I had to remember to listen to Janelle (another lovely gentle soul who didn’t yell or tell me to LOCK MY KNEE). Janelle reminded us all to make space in our bodies. Space to lengthen and space for breath. Space to let our muscles fill. Breathing and space are hard things to acquire when your spine is curled so your sweaty exactly forehead is pressed against your sweaty locked knee and every muscle is on fire, so it bears repeating.

I actually thought about not going today. I thought about pretending yesterday was a warm up and starting the 30 day challenge later. Some other time… But having already managed to go once, it feels like a serious loss to start over, even just one class. I have to regularly remind myself that I expend half my effort just getting started. Once I’ve started something, it’s much easier to keep going. Stopping and starting is the hard part. So, I’m keeping on keeping on.

Only 28 classes to go.

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