I honestly thought I would complete the 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge.
However, the universe conspired against me. My assistant vanished one day, never to be seen again. I had taken on more clients on the understanding she would be around to help me grow the business, so any extra-curricular activity went out the window. We were in the process of being evicted. I had a press trip which meant I wasn’t in London for the last few days of the challenge, however, to make up for this I was doing double Bikram. It wasn’t until about halfway through the challenge a receptionist said only one double dose of Bikram yoga was allowed for the 30-day challenge. I’ve stalled on writing this post for several months as I hate failing. I know that when I take up the challenge again I would be able to do it, I just need to make sure it’s the right time! My dedication to going to Bikram until everything went tits up was incredible. I could do not one but two Bikram Yoga sessions back to back no problem. I felt strong, healthy and focused. I will one day take up the challenge once again, but at the moment I am in serious weight training to get Leaner, Cleaner and Stronger in preparation for the softball season!
So, without further ado, here is my Day 1 entry for Bikram Yoga Challenge –
It’s Friday 27th September and I have a massive sense of anticipation, I’m almost drunk on it. I am that excited to be returning to the hot, sweaty, and let’s be honest somewhat musty, Bikram yoga studio. I have been trying to work out the first time I took on the practice of Bikram. I had been practising Ashtanga and decided I wanted more of a challenge. I got more than I bargained for. Although the asanas are not physical overall, throw into the bargain a 40 degree heated room and the challenge surpasses that of any Ashtanga class. And anyway, as any yogi will tell you, it’s not the difficulty of the asanas that matters, it’s how well you practise them.
It must have been six or seven years since that first time, and it’s something I’ve revisited a few times in that period. Bikram is like a drug for me, for at the time I’m doing it I forget about everything else. It’s just me, my mat, the instructor and a few other bodies on the periphery of my field of vision. But it’s the rush post-session that really gets me going. The sense of achievement, the euphoria that overwhelms both body and mind, that’s where the real buzz is.
As well as the sense of anticipation I’m also a little apprehensive – will I be able to cope with the heat? Will my body be fit enough to complete the moves? I’m six or seven years older now and am nowhere near as bendy as I once was. A nervous excitement builds up in my belly as I ride the bus to Chalk Farm, where I disembark to walk up to Queens Crescent in good old K Town.
Entering the reception area I feel a sense of nostalgia and instantly relieved, as though someone has just told me I’m supposed to be here and everything is going to be alright. Somewhat like the first day at school when you’re not sure if you’re in the right classroom until somebody offers you some reassurance.
I change into my shorts and vest, take my two towels and a bottle of water and head into the hot room. My reassurance is it still looks and smells the same as it did all those moons ago. When the instructor asked if there was anyone new, I didn’t feel the need to say anything, however with hindsight perhaps I should have done! I had been practising some vinyasa flow yoga over the summer months and was impressed at how quickly my flexibility had come back. However, my hips and thighs were not particularly flexible (hips) or engaging (thighs) today. Nevertheless, the instructor was really encouraging and gave me a few pointers here and there to help me on my way.
The class was of mixed ability. There were the hardcore yogis at the front whose archer poses put mine to shame. You might as well rename tree pose the trembling tree for me, as I was pretty upright, and not particularly stable! I know that this will come back fairly quickly as I can feel my core is pretty strong and stable, it’s practise, practise, practise! It’s also important to feel your body and recognise how the postures should feel. Balance could have been better. As could my knee, thigh and hip flexor mobility. But I was very pleased with my back and waist flexibility, although I had a tightness in my mid-back as I’d never experienced before. The archer and tree pose occurs in the first half of the session, as do all standing and balance poses, which is great because it means you spend the second half of the session lying down! Obviously not just laying there but you do get to completely relax between asanas.
For more information on Bikram Yoga and the 30 Day Challenge visit fiercegrace.com