I watched a young woman cry her eyes out because she felt like a failure.
"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
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
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.
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.
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????
"I never said it was going to be easy. I only said it was going to be worth it."
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.
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!!
"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.
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.
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?
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