I have always been the type of person who is continually searching for something… I have never felt rested. I needed to find my balance and calm the mild anxiety that had been following me for years. So, when the opportunity arose for me to participate in a 5-day Bikram challenge, I dove straight at the chance.
I had casually practiced Bikram yoga before, but never intensely. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bikram yoga, it is a practice composed of 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises, in a 105 degree room. Throughout this challenge I will be drinking a ton of water, more than your average a day to stay hydrated, I will be giving up coffee and refined sugars, and going to yoga every day for 5 days at 6:30pm after work.
So, here it goes:
It’s 5pm and I’m watching the clock, it’s a dark and rainy day and all I can think about is heading home and nestling on the couch. I snack on a handful of Spirulina Super Chips and say to myself you have to do this, you will feel so much better! And so, I pack up my things and head to the bus for the 6:30 class, worrying on the way that I haven’t drunk enough water throughout the course of the day. I had a healthy lunch of hummus, carrots and sunflower bread followed by a banana snack. I felt fueled but anxious.
I got dressed in my ‘barely there’ yoga kit and headed into the 105 degree room. As soon as I entered the room the heat and humidity caught my breath. It felt quite comfortable coming from a cold winter’s day, however my mind laughed at me as I then realized it wasn’t going to feel this way in 10 minutes time.
I sat crossed legged and faced staring at myself in the mirror; reflecting on my day, on who I was and how my posture looked before I laid down in shivasanna waiting for the instructor to enter the room… the lights came on “every one up please” and so the series of 26 postures began in the tremendous heat. The first posture Standing Deep Breathing is one of my least favorites poses, not because it’s difficult but because I don’t feel any benefits from it and I can never fully relax my shoulders to get the most out of inhaling and exhaling, but it prepares your body and lungs for the intensity that will follow.
As we move into each posture my mind is racing, I’m constantly thinking about what time I will get home, what I will eat, and what needs to be done tomorrow. Although I’m starring at myself in the mirror, my mind is clouded by these running thoughts. I wish more than anything that I can just be calm…
As we go into Camel Pose my heart starts beating faster, I can feel the force of my blood and I have a huge awareness of the blood flow that’s running through my body. My heart thuds like thunder but I keep pushing myself, until all of sudden just before Balancing Stick I surrender. The rate of my heart overtakes my concentration for the postures and I stop… I gently place myself in shivasanna starring at the ceiling trying to make my heart come back to its natural rhythm.
I stayed here till the end of class; I acknowledged the fact that I couldn’t push myself anymore and wondered why my concentration levels were so low. Was it lack of water? Maybe I should drink double the amount? Was it the fact that I was thinking this is going to be a 5-day challenge and I started to panic? Who knows… one thing’s for sure I was itching to get back inside the room the very next day and try even harder.
Stay tuned tomorrow for My Bikram Journal, Day Two!
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