The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge Recap (with before & after photos)

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Practicing yoga everyday for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees for 30 straight days is no easy feat.  It takes strong commitment and drive to make it into that yoga studio each day ready to sweat buckets.  There were days that I wanted to call it quits; days where I’d rather sleep another hour than to roll into a 6am class; days where I felt like my body had betrayed me and left me in pain in awkward places (when is the last time you worked out so hard you felt it in… your… upper spine?).

Now that I have wrapped up the challenge I want to recap some of the changes that have occurred on account of 30 days of Bikram yoga.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  Just write me in the comments below.

BODY IMAGE

Earlier during the challenge, I talked about how genetically, my abdominal area is where extra weight tends to hide out. Specifically, my lower abdomen and obliques. It’s the unwanted gift my father passed down to me; a gift that I have finally learned to accept.  However, I thought this Bikram yoga challenge would be a great experiment to see if all the sweating and stretching would help shrink my waistline.

Yes, Bikram Yoga shrinked my waistline.  I lost about an inch on my waist.  I gained muscle in my abs and thighs.  In the photos below, check out the definition in my abs on day 30 in comparison to day 1.

No, I did not lose any weight during the 30 day challenge.  To be perfectly honest, I did lose a whopping 0.2 pounds according to the scale.  But if we really want to talk about fat loss versus muscle gain, I think it is clear from the photos that I gained muscle (abdominals, thighs, arms) and shed a similar amount of fat.  If I could have done it differently I would have measured  body fat percentage on day 1 and again on day 30.  But even without BF%, the photos vividly illustrate the body transformation that took place in a mere 30 days.

Bikram Yoga day30 images

DAY 30 of 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

For those of you who are addicted to the scale and are more concerned with overall weight instead of how you look and how your clothes fit, I am telling you now, get your priorities straight.  You will save yourself much anxiety by ditching the scale and using the mirror, photos, tape measurements, and how clothes are fitting to dictate your progress.  If you must weigh-in, then wait at least 2 weeks between each weigh-in to avoid scale addiction. 

DAY 1 of  30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

DAY 1 of 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

MENTAL SHIFT

Type A personalities listen up.  There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, rigidly organized, sensitive, too caring, truthful and honest, impatient, helpful, take on more than can handle, want others to get your point by any means necessary, workaholics, hate delays and always being unsure about things….

Shoot who am I kidding, being described as the description above can make life tough as we tend to worry about the future instead of enjoying the present.  As a Type A personality I can attest to the above.  Bikram yoga came to my rescue.

Looking at yourself in a mirror for 90 minutes in 105 degree room forces you to get outside of your head and just be still — let go of all the emotions and thoughts.  All you have is yourself, your body, and the difficult postures; the focus becomes the postures.  No longer are you thinking about personality or body image imperfections.  90 minutes of yoga allowed me freedom from my anti-productive, self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings.  And that freedom carried out into real life in such an amazing, deeply necessary way.

My mentality is a bit more relaxed as I now care more about enjoying each day and each moment instead of wondering about “what if” for something that hasn’t even occurred yet.  Too much focus on the unknown can be detrimental to a happy life.  Yoga has helped me to wash away the structured, robotic ways of the Type A personality that I once proudly identified as.

WHAT IS NEXT?

The physical and mental transformation I have experienced in just a short 30 days is enough to have gotten me hooked on Bikram yoga.  It is phenomenal how you can walk into the studio unsure about an important decision you must make then 90 minutes later have worked out a strategy in your head leaving you with a solid solution.  Yes,  Bikram teachers advocate letting go of all feelings and focusing on yourself in the mirror and engaging yourself in each pose, but shoot, there are times when all you can do is think about life decisions.  I have had many AHA! moments in yoga class that has helped me to move forward with tough life realizations in a positive and constructive manner.

So does that mean I will keep the consecutive streak going?

The Bikram Yoga Oakland Studio Director enticed me with an awesome deal:  complete 100 classes in a row and receive 1 month free.  As much as I like challenges and saving money, I had to kindly decline.

I am registered for a half marathon run that is only about 9 weeks away which I have barely started training for just yesterday.  I’m a little behind since I usually like to allow 12 weeks to train.  Therefore I will shift gears from yoga so that I can focus on running.  Don’t get me wrong, I will still attend yoga classes.  In fact, my training schedule makes it mandatory that I attend Bikram yoga 3 times per week minimum.  Yoga will help with flexibility, agility and will strengthen my lungs for enhanced breathing technique while running. 

“If you want to get better in Bikram yoga, practice Bikram yoga.  If you want to get better in everything else, practice Bikram yoga.”

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Chika Obih is a certified holistic nutrition consultant; blogger; and founder of Chika Obih Wellness based in Oakland, CA and offers services virtually, in-person or by phone.  Chika is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their own health utilizing the power of wholesome, clean foods and fun holistic lifestyle solutions.  Contact Chika today to set up your free consultation.

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19 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge Recap (with before & after photos)

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  10. Hi Chika

    i came across your blog today while looking for inspiration to continue on with my 30 day bikram yoga challenge. I have just completed my fourth day and I felt i did not do as well as in previous classes and i was frustrated when i realised that moves i thought i had conquered, i had actually been doing wrong ( so back to square one). All in all, it’s left me quite fed up and dreading the next 26 days, and overall my bad bikram day has put me in a rather low mood. Any words of advice? Did you feel like that?

    Like

    • Congrats on embarking on a 30 Day Bikram Yoga challenge. You will find that no two days are similar. In fact, I went thru days that I wanted to quit, low energy days, stiff-can’t-stretch out-nothing days. But I also had days where I felt so alive and energetic and found myself going deeper in certain postures. The key is to embrace it all: the good, the bad, the ugly, the break-thrus, the low moments, etc. If you haven’t already, I recommend journaling during your 30 day experience so that you can log your experience and use it as motivation similar to what I did and shared on this blog. Remember, all you have to do is make it to class each day. You do that and you are already successful. I’ve been on my yoga kick for 8 months now and its the best thing I’ve discovered in a long time. Keep at it Chinwe. And keep in touch, I’d love to hear updates on your 30 day yoga challenge.

      Like

  11. Hi Chika – I saw this post through LinkedIn. Your body transformation is really amazing, I can totally see that core definition in the Day 30 vs Day 1 pictures. And THANK YOU for your comment on the scale; I needed to hear that! I am following a “jumpstart” diet, and while I have used both the scale and mirror/clothing fit/overall feel as a means to evaluate my progress, I have developed an unhealthy reliance on the scale.

    Your blog has also inspired me to try yoga. The experiences you described as you went through this challenge are the types of challenges and fitness transformations that I need, but did not really know where to look. I am also running an half marathon (San Jose Rock n Roll this October), so I wish you good luck on your training and on race day! (Maybe I can pick your brain on training tips? I would love to incorporate Bikram / hot yoga into my training! )

    Like

    • Karina love your comment. Bikram will help you with running, you’re breathing will improve, your endurance levels will kick up a notch…. I’m also training for the SJRnR in Oct. Let’s chat offline!

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  12. Rather than weighing yourself every two weeks, another option is buying a Fitbit scale and weighing yourself daily (or multiple times a day). You can then generate cool plots, understand how salt and water retention affects your weight, etc.

    I found this really valuable personally.

    Like

    • Love your comment. As a numbers lover, I can see the benefits of charting weight daily. However, some ppl cannot take the inconsistent up and down movement of the scale and risk becoming angry, frustrated or addicted to the scale. Therefore daily weigh in is not for everyone. But for those who are not affected, fitbit, or something like it, can be quite a useful tool.

      Like

  13. Pingback: Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Days 25 -30 | Soul-Wholesome

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