Confidence Means "Not Thinking."

Author: Heather Molina /

I watched a young woman cry her eyes out because she felt like a failure.


This past Monday, I spent part of my morning doing a "challenge" activity at a ranch in Tucson's Santa Catalina Mountains. For this challenge activity, I and the others in my group had to climb to the top of a 25-foot telephone pole. Once we got to the top of it, we had to step off of it into the air.

Don't worry... We wouldn't plummet to the ground. We each wore a harness that would allow us float to the ground slowly. The point of the exercise was to test our fearlessness. But we were all confused about what exactly was the scary part in the exercise. See... It turned out that the "stepping off into the air" would be the easy part.

The hardest part was the climb to the top of the pole. And once you got past the ladder going half way up, then made it up the foot staples to the top... You would find your hands resting on a wobbly flat 12-inch disk. You had to somehow get your feet on the disk and stand up.

Before the first person strapped into the harness and began climbing, we all plotted out how we would transition from balancing on our hands to standing up on our feet. But when that first person started to climb, we saw that all of our plotting and planning would be pointless. It took her 10 minutes to get to the top.

Every person after that did it a little more quickly than the previous person. I was told I had to go last because I wanted to go first.

"If you normally go first to do things, you need to go last," the instructor told us. "If you normally like to sit back and go last, you are going in the first few attempts."

This frustrated me. I like to get things over with right away. That is why I always go first. But it was a nice test of my patience to watch every other person climb that pole and take their time getting up it. They would each pause for a few minutes while they tried to figure out how to maneuver themselves up on the disk.

"Just do it," shouted the instructor. "Don't think. Just do it. Get your foot on the disk and stand up! Use your legs!"

(I felt like I was in a Bikram class at this point. Perhaps right in the middle of Standing Bow.)

By the time my turn rolled around, I had to do it quickly. We were running out of time. So I ran up that pole in less than a minute. And when it came to getting up on the disk, I just did it. I stuck my right foot next to my hands on the disk, and I pushed myself up to a standing position. I didn't think. I just did it. I trusted my body completely. And I knew if I slipped, I would just fall into the air. Safely harnessed.

No fear. What was there to fear?

There were nine of us in the activity class. All of us made it up the pole. All of us got both our hands and one foot on the disk. All of us made an attempt to stand up on the disk. Eight of us were able to actually stand up on it. One person fell.

She was a younger woman. Before the class, she had told us how she had done almost all the other challenge activities they had as the resort. Flying through the air attached to wires... Walking a tight rope... Scampering across a log 30-feet up... All the hikes that were offered... She was a wonderful and inspiring ball of energy for the rest of us. And she was cheering the loudest as each of us went up that pole.

We did the same for her when she climbed. And she fell backwards when she tried to stand up on the disk. It was a beautiful attempt. She just lost her balance. Perhaps she let her fear get the best of her... Maybe? We cheered her on, because it was tough getting to the top of that pole.

But at the end of the class, after I finished my run, we collected ourselves into a circle and discussed what we thought of the event. We went one-by-one saying what we felt. When it came to her turn though, she sniffed and waved her hands. I realized she was crying.

She wasn't just crying. She was doing a "devastated" type of crying. And I understood why. We all did. She had so much confidence before climbing up that pole. But she lost it as she was climbing. She thought too much.

As we all get ready to embark on this momentous 101-day challenge, this advice may work for you as well as I believe it will work for me...

"Don't think. Just show up, listen and do. Thinking is not required."

Quote

Author: bikramyogachick /

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on
them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New
Year's Day."

~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Preparing Yourself: Part 2: Emotionally/Mentally

Author: bikramyogachick /

They say alot of what goes on in that hot room is mental. I know this to be true when I succumb to the heat and my exhaustion, fall to my knees during triangle, panting thinking I am toast. Then I will hear my teacher, in her cute accent: "Michelle! Get up! I know you can do this! Do not give up on yourself!" So I get up and I am able to do triangle.

Before starting this challenge remember one thing: Do not give up on yourself inside or outside of that hot room. Be your own best friend. Be your own cheerleader. Know that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Remember our mantra for the year of the tiger: the impossible becomes possible.

Here are my tips for your emotional/mental state during this challenge:



1. Accountability and Support

I started blogging in May of 2008. My "60 Day Challenge" blog was to be temporary. For one challenge only. It was my second challenge ever and I wanted a place to record the changes I go through when I do a challenge. Having done one other 60 day challenge, I already knew the ups and downs I was facing and blogging seemed like a great outlet. The support I received from the Bikram blogging community was incredible. I kept going. I blogged when I wasn't doing challenges and I blogged for two more challenges after that one! Friends, family, coworkers, spouses....support can be found in many places. Find your support. Let your loved ones know what you are going to embark on and how important it is for you to finish it. Find somebody who will listen when you want to share your ups and downs. If you can't find somebody to talk to, consider blogging. Many times I have driven to my studio, 3/4 of the way through a challenge, wanting to give up but knowing I had a blog post to write that night. I would drag myself into the studio because I didn't want to start my post off with this: "I did not go to yoga tonight". Accountability.



2. Restoration

Your body is going to go through many changes during this 101 day challenge. You may work through old injuries, soreness or other aches and pains. Due to guilt "I have to get home and make dinner, I'm already robbing my family of time!" you may sprint out of class every night, in a rush to get home. Don't do that. Allow yourself a few minutes of rest in final savasana. This is critical. Your body needs to cool down, relax and absorb the changes of the 90 minute class. You wouldn't run a marathon and then immediately sit down! You will probably walk around slowly, gasping for air, holding your sides (that would be me) to cool down. Let your engines idle. A nice rule of thumb is this: Lay there until you don't want to get up. Then you know it's ok to leave.



3. Emotions

Some challenges are physical....."I can now wrap my legs in eagle!" "After that challenge I was able to put my forehead to my knee!" Others are emotional. I believe that Bikram yoga helps to dig in there and peel back years of buried feelings. Like the layers of an onion, we are peeled back until our real "self" is exposed to us in that mirror. I don't think the process will ever be finished. That's the beauty of Bikram yoga. You may have epiphanies, ideas, make decisions or understand lessons while doing camel, or standing bow, or even just sitting on your knees waiting for the teacher to come in and start class. Always there is growth that happens during a challenge. Embrace the process and experience any emotions you feel without judgement. Heck, I've even cried during some classes **blushes** Totally normal, trust me!

Three more days. I'm getting excited! Are you????


A Promise

Author: thedancingj /

"I never said it was going to be easy.  I only said it was going to be worth it."

                - Bikram

Preparing yourself: Part 1: Physically

Author: bikramyogachick /

Hi there! It's Bikramyogachick here! Thanks to the missus and the spunky DancingJ we have a central place to track our progress, provide help to each other and over to the right, a list of all 101 day bloggers. Email us or post a comment if you would like your blog added to our list. Don't forget to join us on facebook too! Get the support you need during this awesome challenge.
Great news! The Bikram 101 challenge starts in TEN days! It's the holidays right now. We are eating all sorts of delicious baked goodies and basking in the glow of love, family and the spirit of the season. While we bask, we pretend we didn't have to just loosen our belt a notch, or that we aren't avoiding specific pairs of jeans in our closet because they are a bit snug right now. What better way to tighten that belt back up than a 101 day challenge??!!
Let's talk Chinese astrology for a minute, shall we? Even if you don't believe in astrology, it is fun to read it sometimes, no? 2010 is the year of the Metal Tiger. Here is what astrology.com has to say about it:

"Hot passion meets cold steel with the arrival of the year of the Metal Tiger. This combined sign signifies both the energy to begin activity and the determination to follow it through to the end. Forget about last year's slow plodding. Events set in motion now will pick up speed and continue until either the objective is attained or the whole endeavor crashes and burns. The impossible just might be possible during this exciting time."

I don't know about you, but I have decided to make that my mantra this year. That the impossible just might be possible! Let's go for it!

Now to the meat of this post. Let's talk shop for a minute, shall we? If you've read my blog, then you know I've done a few challenges. I've been practicing for two and a half years and have done three 60 day challenges and at the beginning of 2009 I attempted 101 days. I ended up doing 99 classes in 101 days, falling short of my mark. (Let's fix that in 2010, shall we?) From a practical standpoint I'd like to give out some pointers. Whether or not you've done a challenge, there is always preparation and each challenge brings it's own, well, challenges! You have to figure out what works for you. Hopefully you can glean some good information from my experiences. Today we will discuss the physical aspects of a challenge.

Physically
Logistics are the hardest part. Each person has a unique life situation. Work full time? Work crazy shifts that change? Have kids? Married? Single? Involved in other activities? Before starting the challenge, you must sit down and decide how you will approach the logistics. What time will you go to yoga each day? Decide on it and commit to it. You may have to forgo some things during this time. I always have to give up my bowling league. It's one night a week I can't afford to have booked during a challenge. So I only bowl during the summer now, as I'm usually doing challenges Jan 1st and again in the fall. Once you have decided your class time make sure you are prepared. Here are some things to think about:
Hydration- force yourself to drink a liter or two of water throughout the day before class. It's also a very good idea to supplement during this time even if you don't normally. Especially if you are prone to cramping. I add an emergen-C lite packet to one of my liters of water in the afternoon before I go to class. I can get away with plain water when I'm not doing a challenge, but trust me, during a challenge you need the extra help. You don't want to get depleted.
Yoga bag- I have a bag just for yoga. It's got an extra set of yoga clothes in it at all times. A plastic cosmetic bag with hair ties, a comb and make up remover towels. I also store an extra packet or two of emergen-C in my bag. I have a bunch of plastic shopping bags shoved in side pockets for wet clothes after yoga. Every night I pack my yogi toes towel, another towel to dry off, my "after yoga" sweatsuit and uggs, flip flops and my yoga outfit. It's all about routine!
Yoga laundry- Don't run around like a chicken with your head cut off looking for things! I have a shelf in my closet (well a couple of shelves) that is just for yoga stuff. Here you will find a stack of yogi toes and towels and a stack of yoga clothes. I have a special basket in the garage just for sweaty yoga stuff and every couple of days I throw a yoga load of laundry in as I am coming in for the night from my 530 class.
Your body- Yes, your body. It is entirely possible your body will get sore. You may even work through old injuries at this time. One challenge I could hardly lock my right knee for the better part of a month. It hurt so bad I wanted to stop doing yoga. I decided to trust the process and you guessed it, my knee is fixed. That old running injury that used to pop and crackle going up and down stairs is gone. So just remember: no matter what the aches and pains are that you encounter keep going. Know the difference between sharp pain and soreness. Know when to back off a bit when you are in the room, and know when to push forward. The best way to fix soreness from yoga is more yoga. The hot room works.
Really the whole point is to have YOUR routine and really stick to it during this time. You don't need any extra stress so the more you plan and stick to your routine, the easier this challenge will be. Then you can focus on the fun stuff, like talking to your friends before and after class! Sharing your joy as you make progress in postures! Blogging about your adventure!
Remember, help is here if you need it. Email or comment and one of us ladies will be glad to answer any questions you have. Now go pack your yoga bag!!

A Bikram-ism.

Author: Heather Molina / Labels:

From Bikram...


"Your journey to Self-Realization will be a long one; it's not an overnight thing, like they Fed-Ex it to you or something."


So true. As much as we all want it to be a quick thing, becoming someone (rather than "something") always takes much longer than we would like.


(Courtesy of the Juliana, the DancingJ.)

A Sign Of True Love...

Author: Heather Molina /

You know you have found someone special when this can be said...


Daily To-Do List

Author: thedancingj /

Hi all, Juliana here!  (Some of you know me as "thedancingj" from my personal blog.  Some of you know me as Juliana from life.  Some of you know me as both!)  I'll be posting to this blog periodically throughout the challenge, along with themissus, bikramyogachick, and possibly others.

I'm really excited for this little project of ours, which seems to be picking up momentum already.  I can't wait to re-dedicate myself to my personal practice in the coming year (which has very special meaning for me, as it's the year when I'm finally going to teacher training), and I can't wait to share the experience with all of you!  Group challenges are great; I feel like they bring our community together in the best way.  The more the merrier, so please don't be shy... don't fright, don't scare.  Just jump on in.  As they say in my favorite Smash Mouth song - yes, I listen to Smash Mouth - "The ice we skate is getting pretty thin/ The water's getting warm, so you might as well swim/ My world's on fire!  How 'bout yours?/ That's the way I like it and I'll never get bored..."

In honor of everyone's upcoming daily practice, I entertained myself by writing up this little to-do list.  (It's also posted under the profile of our Facebook page.)  Here are just some of the things that we will be doing next year:

Practicing 101 classes in 101 days.

SWEATING. A LOT.

Opening the lungs.

Creating a tremendous stretching sensation, all over, inside out, bones to skin, fingertips to toes.

Looking like a Japanese ham sandwich from the side.

Bending the total spine backward bending.

Concentrating and meditating.

Twisting like ropes.

Using Bengal Tiger strength and English Bulldog determination.

Kicking and stretching equally and simultaneously.

Looking like a capital T as in Tom (not a broken umbrella!)

Rolling forward like a wheel.

Creating a perfect marriage between the heart and lungs.

Compressing the thyroid.

Creating natural human traction.

Relaxing completely.

Getting the total spine flat on the floor (eventually in the future.)

Having one leg, like a cobra. (Wait a sec...)

Kissing the towel.

Lifting up like a 747 taking off.

Looking like two wheels in one base.

Sitting Japanese style.

Getting more relaxation in 30 seconds than in 8 hours sleep.

Creating 360 degree angle backward bending for gravitation.

Feeling the spine stretching from coccyx to neck

Creating pressure with the left foot sole against the right leg bicep of the thigh muscle.

Touching the forehead to the toes.

Twisting like a pearl necklace.


And most importantly of all....
Last but not least...
If I had to pick just ONE thing...

LOCKING THE KNEE!!!!!


That's my to-do list for the moment.  What's on your list?

New Bikram 101 Badge!

Author: Heather Molina / Labels:

Are you participating in the Bikram 101 challenge? Do you have a blog or webpage? Help us connect with you by adding the Bikram 101 badge (created by the wonderful Yogi Mary) to your page!


It's easy enough to do...
  1. Add the code.
  2. Send us an email at bikram101challenge (at) gmail.com, and we'll add you to our blog roll.
This is a great way for us all to stay connected with each other. Sharing stories and keeping up on each other's progress is highly motivating. So if you plan on joining us in the challenge, or if you just want to support those of us in the challenge, add the badge to your space.

We'll rock this challenge "social networking style!"

Bikram 101: Do Not Try. Just Do.

Author: Heather Molina / Labels:

There's no denying it... Taking on a Bikram yoga challenge of any length takes some serious planning. Work travel, long weekends away, time with family, drinks and meeting up with friends, hectic work/school schedules... They can all become obstacles to truly completing a challenge.


But there's no need to panic or be overwhelmed at the idea of getting your practice in with everything else you've got going on at the same time. Good gosh no! The idea behind the 101-day challenge (or any challenge length, for that matter) is to go every day. Every. Single. Day. Which makes it important to think of your yoga practice part of your natural day. Just like showering. And work. And sleep.

Here is what I have done to help make the addition to my day easier once the challenge begins:
  • Told everyone around me that I am doing the challenge, that it is a huge priority, and therefore will have limited availability after work most days.
  • Rescheduled a tropical vacation away with my husband for early May.
  • Put in place a plan to get to work early, that way I can avoid feeling trapped and have to work late.
This may or may not work for you. But the bottom line is to not let your practice be something you have to "try to fit" into your day. Just make it a regular part of your day. Period.

As one wise character once said, "Do. Or do not. There is no "try.'"

Let's Let The Healing Begin!

Author: Heather Molina / Labels:

Yep! That's right... We're about to embark on an epic journey to begin healing our bodies. And how are we going to do that?

With 101 consecutive days of Bikram yoga, starting January 1, 2010!

What is Bikram Yoga?

Invented by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a 90-minute series of 26 hatha yoga asanas (postures) practiced in a room that is heated and very humid.

(Some like to call it "juicy!")

Why 101 consecutive days?

There are different "challenge lengths" in Bikram yoga. Here is a break out of how each one helps and heals your body...
  • 30-Days: A readjustment period... You're getting your body primed for an on-going practice. Just getting through a 30 consecutive day challenge is a difficult for most people. It can be difficult to mentally commit yourself to going to class for 30 consecutive days.
  • 60-Days: In the 60-day challenge, the second 30 days are where you get to the "emotional stuff." While you experience the mental exhaustion "here and there" in the first set of 30 days, you experience it far more frequently in the second set. Anger. Tears. Hysterical laughter. It all comes out here... Both in and out of class.
  • 90-Days: This is when your body suddenly (or so people claim) changes shape. You will notice in the 30 and 60-day challenges that muscles and body parts tighten up. But the third set of 30 is when you start to see the yoga practice pay off physically in your body. You've been feeling it up until this point... But now you can actually see it. You can see your "yoga bum" starting to take shape.
  • 100-Days: Ten extra days, just to make things a nice big number...
  • 101-Days: Because you just have to show up for one extra day.


Rules of the challenge...

  1. The purpose is to go to class every day, for 101 consecutive days. So try to commit time to it every day. However...
  2. Doubles count. So do triples, quadruples, quintuples... But the point is to go every day consecutively... So try to only do multiple classes in one day if you really need to.
  3. No home practice. You must practice in a studio. A certified Bikram studio.
  4. Bikram's Advanced Series classes count. But, they count as one class.
  5. Challenge starts on January 1st and ends on April 11th. But if you have to start late because you are on vacation for the holiday, that is okay. Do multiple classes to catch up.
  6. Have fun!

Who can participate?


Heck! Anyone! Young, old... Sick, healthy... Employed, unemployed, fun-employed... Long-time practitioners... Even those who have never even done a yoga class before in their life! All are welcome! All are encouraged!

What are the benefits?

So many!
  • Reshapes your body.
  • Tones and strengthens your muscles.
  • Increases balance and coordination.
  • Stimulates an adjustment of your metabolism. (Need to lose weight, this will help. Need to gain weight, this will help.)
  • Reduces stress.
  • Flushes the toxins from your body.
  • Clears your mind.
  • Improves the nervous system.
  • Strengthens self-control.
So, are you ready to enter Bikram's torture chamber and heal your body? Join us! The epic journey begins in the new year!

Namaste!