Sujoya has been a student at Bikram Yoga Manhattan for the past few years and recently she decided to embark on a 30-day challenge. And although it has not gone exactly smoothly, Sujoya is sharing the experience as she goes along. Nearly two weeks in, here is her diary of the challenge:
I am turning 45 on October 6. I’ve never done anything like climb a mountain or run a marathon, and for some reason it feels very much like the kind of physical challenge I should take on. My urban version is to do the 30-day Bikram challenge. I’m trepidacious. I’m afraid I’ll conk out after 10 days or somehow just sputter. I am afraid to disappoint myself and the people I tell about it. Still, I’m going to give it a try.
Although I’ve been practicing Bikram on and off for about 2 years, I tend to average about 2 to 3 classes a week. I’ve never attended class more than 3 days in a row. Traveling for work and well, just life, has made it unrealistic for me to clear 30 days on the calendar. But I have found a 30-day stint where I can move some things around and if I can get out of work early enough, hit a 5:30 or 6 pm class every weekday and a 10 a.m. or noon class on weekends. Gulp. Here we go…
Class is uneventful. Why does the Chelsea studio always seem so much hotter than the Greenwich Village studio? Also, why does this instructor forget to turn off the heat when we’re already cooking. Grrrr.
All I can think all through class is: just 28 more times. Why am I always the roundest person in class? Hopefully this will change after 30 days. I am stiff today.
I couldn’t fall asleep last night and I’m cranky. I hate everyone and everything. This instructor never says anything encouraging, just instruction and that sucks. No, I can’t touch my forehead to my knees, my boobs are in the way. They will always be in the way. They’re enormous. It’s never going to happen. I can touch my forehead to my boobs. Now leave me alone.
I made it through Day 4!!! Four days in a row! I’ve never done that! And I’m not dying. But I couldn’t sleep again last night. I am having trouble falling asleep. My mind is racing. I’m getting 5 hours and I normally get 7 and it’s irritating. I’m one of those people who doesn’t feel a lactic acid ache until 48 hours after exercise. I realize that I’m not getting it at all because I’m never giving it 48 hours … interesting.
The escalator from the B/C/D platform up to the subway exit platform is broken. That means I’ve climbed about 7 billion stairs before getting to the studio. I’m pissy about it. Awkward pose is going to hurt more than usual. (It did.) But I’m still here! I can’t believe I’m here! I am less hungry than usual, but I haven’t changed my diet at all. Let’s see.
I’m realizing that the 90-minute class itself isn’t the hard thing. It’s the other 90 minutes involved in getting out of the office early, rushing here by subway, showering and dressing afterward and getting home (or going out). It’s also putting a kink in my social life. I can rarely do anything after class. By the time I’m finished, it’s 8ish and I’m exhausted. Also, I’m still not sleeping right. This doesn’t happen after weekend classes. The evening classes rev me up and get my mind racing. It’s driving me nuts. But I’m not as tired at work so maybe I need less sleep? So maybe I SHOULD do stuff after class… I’m not getting to sleep anyway, so might as well.
I was cranky in class today because my balance is terrible. Even after 2 years, I’m still falling out of Eagle, Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow and sometimes Balancing Stick. This isn’t right. My strength is improving but my balance still sucks. How do other people do it? Why don’t they even wobble?
Today I learned that my uncle passed away. I’m really sad. I let my instructor know. After Camel pose I sort of lost it, crying during savasana. There will be a service and burial this weekend, which I must attend and I realize I have to break the 30-day streak. There’s no Bikram near where I’m going in Pennsyvlania and it seems fanatical not to respect the occasion. I told Raffael, the studio owner, and he is really kind about it. He said, “Hey look, it’s a damned miracle that you made it this far. If you have to take a couple of days it’s not like you’re slacking or disappointing anyone.” He’s right. OK. 😦
OK, it’s really bloody hot in the Chelsea studio and it makes me mad. Why is it so much hotter than in Greenwich Village? Why doesn’t the instructor pay attention to keeping the temperature regulated? It’s a horribly humid day too. I’m exhausted today, really wiped out. I am a kind of glad I get a break tomorrow. But I could do it if I had to. I think.
Day 9: OFF
Off for the funeral. It’s a very emotional day. I have to be honest: I didn’t miss going to class one bit. The break feels good. Rest is restorative (despite the truly sad occasion).
Slept REALLY well last night (like 9 hours!) I’m back in class. I have SERIOUS body aches. From one day off?? This is SO wrong. Ugh. My balance is better today, though. Maybe rest helps that.
Day 11: OFF again
I didn’t sleep well again and woke up to tremendous menstrual cramps like I haven’t had since I was a teenager. What’s going on? Could it be the Bikram? It’s another horribly humid day and I’m all twisted up inside. I can’t go to class. I just can’t. It’s too painful. I feel like a loser, but I’m going to skip. I’ll start again at Day 1 tomorrow if I have to, or at least go for 2 extra days at the end.
Day 12: (Day 10 or Day 1, depending on how you think of it…)
I hate going to class when I have my period but I just can’t skip any more. Georgia, one of the teachers, says you really have to work with your body when you have your period because stuff is inflamed that usually isn’t. If certain poses feel bad, take them easy. Do what you can. I manage, but the back bendy poses are really hard. My lower back aches and I have a bunch of twinges. But I make it through. I’m glad I came.
Day 13: (Day 11 or Day 2…)
I FEEL LIKE AN AMAZON TODAY. I am fierce! I didn’t have to take a break or pant between poses, I only fell out of poses a couple of times and I honestly did my best in each pose. It doesn’t feel like so much of a drag anymore. It just feels like something I do. (Me! I do this!) The weather has become a lot drier and I think that helps a lot. I love the Greenwich Village studio. It really is a lot less hot than Chelsea for some reason.
Day 14: (12 or 3…)
Another good day. Today I feel calm and positive. It’s a long weekend and nothing but class is on my mind while I’m in class. I’ve even made it to a 10 a.m. class, which I never seem to manage. I find that I’m waking up earlier, but I am waking up rested. I was fretting early on that I couldn’t fall asleep, but now I fall asleep within half an hour of trying, and am waking up at about 6 a.m. pretty rested. The yoga is definitely doing something. I’m just generally in a better mood.
Day 15: (13 or 4)
I’ve lost a couple pounds!!!! I don’t weigh myself so I don’t know how much. It’s probably not noticeable to others, but my clothes fit better and that’s a relief. It’s another good day in class. It’s hugely helpful when it’s not so humid. Even the Chelsea studio doesn’t feel so brutal today! We have a new instructor and he’s terrific: kind and supportive and observant. The BYM instructors are all pretty great.
Day 16: (14 or 5)
I got a massage after class yesterday and I think it was a mistake. I’m achy from the massage rather than class! My hips are super stiff today and I’m not sure what to make of it. Still, I plod through class. I’m feeling like I’m getting a bit stronger. I’m holding the balance postures a little longer each day, and today, for the first time, I lifted my legs higher than like 5 inches in Locust pose. Me! Both legs! Up in the air! ME! I am not and have never been much of a jock, so I can’t believe it.
Day 17: (15 or 6)
I am counting today as THE official HALF WAY POINT! If I can get through today, I can definitely finish this thing.