The following is an entry from Bikram Yoga SLC student Jade Tinker's blog Journey to the Center of Myself.
She welcomes us to share in her journey as she endures her first 30 day challenge, and offers insight to some struggles and benefits she's already experiencing 11 days into the challenge.
We'll continue to update you with her latest blog entries so she can be your motivator and you can be her cheerleader! Way to go Jade!
11 days into my 30 day challenge
I have always read and heard that "the 30 day challenge will change your life!" but have always been pretty skeptical. I mean, 30 days is a rather short amount of time to have your life change significantly. Still, I had always wanted to try a 30 day challenge but had always told myself that I didn't have the time to commit to it. Well, the past couple months that I had payed for my Bikram membership, I had (as usual) had a difficult time being consistent in my practice. So, 12 days ago I decided that I couldn't just wait to have the time for a 30 day challenge, I had to make the time or it would never happen. It was a relatively spur of the moment decision, but I have been to 11 classes so far and have loved every minute of it!
It was definitely a rough start though. The first four classes/days were hard. For the first week, I woke up every morning feeling like I had been run over by a truck. I was so incredibly sore. Everywhere. Like, in places I didn't even know I had muscles! Still, I made it to every class and always felt amazing on the way out, no matter how hard it was to get there.
The main difference I have noticed is how my body is reacting to the heat. I am hardly sweating anymore. Even when I do sweat, I don't feel so hot that I am nauseous (which has always been a big battle for me). I know some people really like it when they get really hot, but I don't think I'm one of those people. I find lately that the room is definitely hot enough that I'm very stretchy and pliable, but not so hot that I feel like I'm dying (not an exaggeration! it happens!). In fact, there have been have been some really cool moments when I have gotten goosebumps while in savasana (dead body pose).
This is how it happens: I am lying there, focusing on relaxing every muscle in my body. I can feel beads of sweat slowly sliding down my body, on my stomach, legs, arms, forehead, even off and into my ears. And then I get goosebumps! And I feel cold on the outside but still very warm on the inside. I mentioned this to my mother the other day and she said it reminded her of how some people can meditate to walk on coals. This makes me wonder if the goosebumps are some sort of sign of my level of meditation. Hmmm....
Not feeling so sick and hot during the class has definitely enabled me to really focus on my postures and my meditation. It is sooooo much easier to clear your mind when you are not thinking, "Don't throw up, don't throw up.... God, its hot in here!" In the past, it felt like I really tortured myself for 90 minutes to feel amazing the rest of the day (which was well worth it!). Now, I find myself really enjoying each class. I occasionally smile at myself in the mirror and I laugh when the teachers make corny jokes, things I could never do before because I was so uncomfortable.
Another thing I have noticed is that classes are flying by now. I used to count down the minutes and watch the clock starting halfway through class. Now, class seems much shorter than the 90 minutes it is. I attribute a lot of this to my deeper meditation during class, especially since I am able to ignore the heat more than before. It has been an amazing feeling to turn my brain off for those 90 minutes and let the instructor "drive" my body, so to speak. I don't think about anything and listen to the dialogue, and my body follows the instruction like a robot. This mental checking out helps me to meditate as well because I am thinking about nothing, versus thinking about what my body is going to do next.
Yesterday, I took a big step! I ended up in the front row of class. Being in the front row is usually reserved for experienced yogis because they are setting the tone for the rest of the class. Technically, they aren't supposed to sit out any poses, because it often causes a domino effect. If they sit out, other people feel like they have been given "permission" to sit out poses as well. Don't get me wrong, everyone is allowed to sit out if they feel the need, but people on the front row are supposed to set an example. I have always felt like that was a lot of pressure and have avoided the first row like a plague.
Well, I walked into class yesterday and most of the spots were taken but the front row was wide open. I decided to go ahead and take a first row spot. "Why not?" I asked myself. I haven't needed to sit out any postures in about 4 classes, but that did not mean this class was going to be the same. I decided to go for it, and it was a very rewarding experience. Being so close to the mirror, it was easier to focus on myself and not be distracted by the people in between the mirror and myself. At the end of class, the instructor thanked the first row for the wonderful energy we were sharing with the rest of the room. Boy, did that make me feel good! Taking a spot in the first row is something I will definitely be trying again.
This post is getting a little long for my taste, but talking about 1/3 of my 30 day challenge deserves some space! The last thing I want to say is that I was really ( really) wrong to think that 30 days was too short of time to experience a change in life. Over just the past week and a half, I have noticed that my mind is much clearer and more calm. I feel more peaceful, less stressed. I agree with how this one yogi put it after her 14th class in her 30 day challenge:
"Yesterday, my friend told me that he had been reading this blog, and that I sounded like I am on a whole different level when writing it. I don’t feel as though this challenge is really changing or altering me, only that it makes day-to-day decisions and interactions more clear and easy. Outside of class, I definitely feel healthier, more fit, and less bogged down by any baggage – mental or physical. I still feel like me, but maybe a bit of change is taking place afterall… "My thoughts just seem to flow easier and I am thinking clearly. It kind of feels like my brain has been cluttered all my life, and I am finally learning what it is like to have a clear, calm mind. Man, I didn't know what I was missing!
Time to start getting ready for class! Then the rest of the day :) Ciao.