Week 7 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week 7 was the breaking point for me and many of my fellow yogis.  It dragged on so long as many nights and days were filed with never-ending  posture clinic sessions.  The staff was on a mission to finish posture clinic as soon as possible to leave enough time in the final weeks for Bikram (Boss) to lecture to us about becoming teachers.  This meant us yogis sacrificed sleep, meals, and every minute of free time to memorize and practice posture dialogue.  Some people presented as many as 5 postures in a single day! Talk about stressful nerve-wracking times! There was a real threat of losing our sanity; some people wanted to call it quits, pack their bags,  hop on a plane,  and leave teacher training immediately.  Thankfully they were talked off the ledge and found the willpower to continue on.

image

Memorizing the dialogue. Good ole dialogue.

Outside of week 1,  week 7 has been my hardest week. I’m so thankful it is now over and is behind me. 76 hot yoga classes completed in 7 short weeks. My limbs, joints, muscles and bones – whole body- is crying mercy!

I will say,  week 7 had its highlights.  A Communications expert from India lectured to us about the power of voice, presentation and talking style. He creatively illustrated these points to us via interactive exercises where we sang aloud as a class, watched videos of greatness such as Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” speech and used the audience to effectively teach the class. I learned that to become a great yoga teacher,  I need to showcase confidence,  commitment and courage.  It is vital to remove fears,  inhibitions,  and self criticism as those are surefire viruses that will hinder any success. One thing I took away from his lecture is to share my voice more with people.  I am comfortable talking to only those who require my attention and otherwise can be perfectly cool minding my own business in silence.  Staying quiet can be looked at as an injustice to others who may stand to gain from me sharing my wisdom and knowledge about the things I love and enjoy including yoga, food, healthy living,  cooking,  taxes & accounting, and wellness.  Going forward I will share more and speak more to spread love & community and to inspire change and health.

“Your voice is your calling card.”

Week 7 is a wrap, now on to week 8! Then we conclude teacher training week 9…November 15 to be exact. Let the countdown begin.

Namaste.

image

Goodbye week 7

Week 6 Recap : Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

My bad for the uber late post! !! Week 6 ended over 10 days ago and I am just now finding the time to write this blog. Week 6 was quite the challenge with Monday dismassal time of 4am, it set the course for a week of long nights, little sleep, and stressful bouts of dialogue memorization at posture clinics. It boggled my mind wondering how I would get through the week after waking up physically sore and mentally drained on Tuesday morning after just 4 hours of sleep. 

So much was thrown at us each day and we simply had to go along with the program despite the weariness and grumpiness oozing from our bodies, minds and souls. We are a very strong group of 333 yogis I must admit. Because even when we wanted to sleep in, we stayed the course,  arrived at each yoga session,  posture clinic,  and lecture on time and put our best foot forward.

I realize just how remarkably true the statement “mind over matter”. It’s so easy to sit and complain about things that are unfair in life. But all that negative talk eats away at your energy and good spirits.  I have learned the power of taking action and making things happen sans the negative thoughts.  It has made a world of a difference as I have discovered just how mentally strong I am, taking chances and trusting the process of life without judgement or fear. It has been a real eye-opener for me and I cannot wait until I get back to my regular life to apply these life lessons learned. 

So much to write about but so little time errrr!! More to come soon, promise, but for now,  enjoy a few photos of beautiful Thailand and things. We yogis are so lucky to be here enjoying the friendly hospitality and scenic location of the resort here.  I have zero complaints 😉

Namaste.

image

Beach is on the resort

image

Group of us yogis on the way back from Khaolak Market

image

Coconuts on the beach! !

image

Breakfast -my favorite meal!

image

The infamous beach dog

image

View from my 5th floor balcony

image

Buying my weekly bananas. She even friended me on FB!!

image

Me and my roommate

image

Finally, a selfie

Week 5 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Quote

image

Every week completed is a reason to celebrate.  Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is not for everyone.  Not too many people can withstand the mental, physical,  spiritual cleansing that occurs each moment,  each hour, each event of each and everyday.  There are days I question “why did I sign up for this? ” when things get tough and I have no control. And there are days when I struggle to keep the food in my mouth because I am laughing so hard from something a fellow yogi friend has said or done. There are bad days, there are good days.  As I tell myself day after day to just trust the process, I know that, in the end,  things will be okay.

Week 5 brought us a very special gift – the beautiful Rajashree Choudury,  wife of The Boss,  Bikram . Her aura is so beautiful,  I am convinced she can make the toughest of thugs take a break from thugging to spend a fre minutes getting in touch with their emotional well-being .  She’s unreal!

She was once a Yoga champion, discovering yoga at the young age of 4. Not only did Rajashree show us how to improve our postures by demonstrating each posture to us and answering our questions,  she also gave us lessons on love and it’s connection with yoga. 

Love is energy.  You cannot just say ‘I love you’, it’s an action. 

First you must love yourself.  Yoga helps you to improve the relationship you have with yourself.  Emotions can be all over the place but yoga can help channel your emotions therefore creating a harmony of self-love, yoga and emotional balance. 

She taught us some deep topics that I am trying to grasp and apply to my own life. I have really enjoyed the lectures of the past week!

The Boss also came back early in week 5 after going away on business for the past two weeks.  He taught a couple of grueling yoga classes that each lasted over 2 hours. Surprisingly it wasn’t too hard on my body because of the preparation of the last 5 weeks. He even complimented the class saying he was proud of our improvement and determination.  Sweet!

I heard from others elsewhere that week 5 is the breaking point at BYTT – it’s stressful, the body is fatigued and the mind is ready to quit.  But thankfully,  week 5 was not horrible. Rajashree was a huge reason for that.  Her compassion,  calm demeanor and motherly nature are exactly what we needed at the exactly correct time: half way thru the BYTT. 54 classes completed in 42 days! Only 4 more weeks to go.

Namaste.

Week 4 Video Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Beach Flow (I'm in the back)

Beach Flow (I’m in the back)

From inconsistent weather to inconsistent teaching styles, week 4 was a roller coaster of emotional learning experiences.  The rain does a fantastic  job at sucking dry my happy positive spirits. Early in the week we experienced severe showers and thunderstorms. It was the worst rain I’ve seen in my life. Despite the wet gloomy weather, Bikram yoga teacher training continued without interruption.

I’ve put another video together where I recap on a few highlights of week 4.

Remember in week 3 how I struggled with nervousness while presenting yoga dialogue during Posture Clinic?  Check out the story of my week 4 break-thru!!

Also I’ve been playing around with the idea of adding weight-bearing workouts to my twice-a-day yoga routine for various reasons specific to my body type. I finally gave it a go at the start of week 4.  Was it a disaster or success?  Check out the video to find out!

Enjoy, and I look forward to next week’s update as I tell you about the one and only Rajashree , beautiful, knowledgeable, compassionate wife of Boss Bikram Choudury . She’s teaching us about the connection of body,  health,  and mind to yoga– the stuff I geek out on!! Week 5 shall be a week to remember.

Check out my week 1, 2 and 3 recaps if you haven’t yet done so.  Let me know what you think about my experience thus far in the comments below. And if you have questions,  I have answers …reach out to me, I’m nice.

image

Week 4 Video Recap Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week 3 Video Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Done with week 3!!!

image

So now I truly believe from here on out, the remaining 6 weeks of teacher training are just going to zoom by before my eyes.  Week 3 itself was a blur. Thank goodness I am capturing highlights of each week in these blog posts or otherwise I’d be like ” wait what did we do?” Yep that fast!

So this week, with the advice of one of my dearest friends in San Francisco, I decided to try a video blog. I’m a little technology-challenged but I think I was able to do this correctly. ..all with just the use of my smartphone!

Week 3 of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training had a couple of new items in the mix including Anatomy classes and Posture Clinics. Check out the video below for:

. How Anatomy was so fun it put me to sleep most days

.  The one thing all my teachers tell me I need to make better in my dialogue delivery

. What my fellow yoga trainees are struggling with during Posture Clinic

. Much much more.

If you like the video format more than written blogs, let me know in the comments. It took me like an hour to set up the video mode on my phone and press record. But now that the struggle is over and I’ve gotten it down,  I think I’ll try video recording more in the future. Gotta get outta my comfort zone and show the world who I am!

Enjoy and Namaste.

image

Video to week 3 recap Bikram Yoga Teacher Training

Week 2 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week two was probably both the fastest and shortest week of my life. It zoomed by in a jiffy  compared to week one but four days of lecture ending around 12:30am and even one long early morning 3:30am dismissal tried my patience and good spirits time and time again. In my regular life I usually like to lay my head down to rest around 10 or 11 at night. So with no choice but to stay up extremely beyond my normal bedtime to listen to lecture and watch Bollywood videos (The Boss’s favorites!) and still wake up 7:30am for morning yoga class every day of the week,  left me irritated, confused, frustrated and  itchy (attack of the mosquitoes…again !). Wednesday’s insanely long 3:30am ending was my breaking point. 

But of course this is Bikram Yoga Teacher Training taught by The Boss himself,  Bikram Choudhary,  so there’s a method to his madness,  a lesson in every action, an A-ha moment waiting to be unveiled. Week 2 of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training broke me down mentally and rebuilt  my mind using Terminator strength. 

Please Dont Take Away My Precious Sleep Boss

Wednesday night, week 2: After 3 hours of lecture on the topic of humanity and spirituality,  the time was 1am. Most of the 333 of us fellow yoga trainees were struggling to keep our eyes open. So when The Boss announced a ten minute break and then resume to watching a Bollywood love story film at 1am, our jaws must have dropped 5 feet below the ground in total shock and disbelief. But we had “no choice” – a phrase Boss and staff uses so often,  you’d think it was going  out of style.

So we complied, we snacked on late night munchies like ice cream,  cookies,  chips,  candy and drank coffee all in an attempt to stay alert during the movie. All that sugar and caffeine in my body only made me tired and bloated. I watched the first 3 quartets of the movie then my eyes gave up and shut themselves in peace until after the movie was over. Damn I missed the ending. 

Despite not knowing how the movie wrapped,  I was elated to get to my room in record time to lay my head on my snuggly soft pillow.  Before dozing off, negative thoughts boiled in my mind such as:

. Wow I can’t believe he took away my sleep just to watch a dumb movie. Soooo not right!

. Is this how the rest of the 7 weeks will go?? I don’t know if I’m cut out for this

.  He’s torturing us keeping us up so late.  How evil and inconsiderate.

. Eating all that crap just to stay up failed miserably.  If I gain weight at the end of this 9 weeks it will sorely put a damper on my spirits. 

Then I closed my eyes, slept a few hours, woke up zombie like, put on my sports bra and yoga shorts and headed to the hot room around 8am Thursday morning.  Class began 30 minutes later and as I sweated through each posture stretching and flexing and deep breathing, the most amazing thing began to happen: I slowly gained energy at the completion of each posture. 26 postures later I felt like a brand new woman: recharged, rejuevenated,  reenergized, rebuilt.  This renewed, vibrate person painted my persona for the whole day which didn’t end until after midnight. 

I was amazed at what my body was able to do off such little sleep.  The Boss brags to us how he stays up until 5am watching Bollywood movies with his staff.  He generally gets 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night and teaches us five days a week boosting the amount of energy it takes to  light the Staples Center.  Looking back at the negative thoughts that satiated my mind 3:45am Wed morning I learned many life lessons:

1. Sometimes in life, we have “no choice”. In such moments, instead of pouting and stressing over it, it’s best to use positive energy,  and go with the flow. In such moments when we let go and just allow things to take its natural course is when we learn valuable lessons. 

2.  You are as strong as what you allow your mind to believe.  Because I believed I wouldn’t be able to stay up for the movie,  I allowed myself to overload my body with sugar and processed foods which only failed me and proved what I was thinking in the first place: I can’t stay up.  Lesson: whether you succeed or fail is the doing of the mind.

3. Sometimes we have to be broken down in order to be built up. Bikram took away our sleep to get us out of our comfortable place and learn to adjust to what is not normal for us. After the 3:30am experience,  I now feel like I can handle any obstacle that comes my way. 

The Boss has a way of doing things.  He gives us “no choice” and tells us to “trust the process” time and time again.  Usually I just follow along because it’s what all 333 of us yoga teacher trainees are expected to do.  But after Wednesday night I realize why he tells us these things.  So much doubt,  fear, and limitations we put on ourselves when we have a choice to say no or not follow thru with the hard tasks in life. But by trusting the process we are trusting in ourselves to tackle life successfully.  Each and everytime.

Bikram Choudhary is a genius!  Week two was a much needed mental workout for me and fellow yogis. I am so grateful for my experience thus far. Looking forward to week 3. Follow along with me as I continue to blog my experience at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in beautiful Khaolak Thailand. 

Namaste.

Week One Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

image

Aaahh beautiful Thailand.  Week one of Bikram Yoga Teacher has taught me more about me than what  a year of regular living ever could. The week has had its challenges and successes, both small and large. A few things that stood out includes:

1. “THE BOSS” Calling Me Out In Front of Yoga Class.

Bikram Choudhary, The Boss, guru and founder of the rightly named Bikram Yoga phenomenon is a very hard man to please. He is not afraid to curse you out, call you ugly, and  insult your mother all while wearing a smug smile on his face. So in the hot yoga room, I’ve struggled with getting my hips to touch the floor in Fixed Firm pose. On day three in the evening class taught by Bikram, he noticed me struggling to follow his instructions to sit my butt down on the floor. In front of 332 fellow yogi trainees, he called me out, barking orders for me to spread my knees apart, tuck my feet in, and go down. Embarrased, I instantly followed his orders and miraculously accomplished the posture. It only took 18 months of practicing yoga and a stern push by Bikram himself for me to achieve such feat. I’m thankful that he called me out.

2.  Scary Cramping In My Fingers and Toes.

I have never in my life experienced such agressive cramping in which I experienced on day two. I like to nickname it “the claw” because my fingers uncontrollably took on the shape of a claw mencanically moving in and out beyond my control.  The pain would last for what seemed like eternity but was merely a few seconds at a time. This stopped and started again and again a good 24 hrs during yoga class and after. Why did this happen? Apparently all the vitamins and minerals my body needs to function is lost thru the excessive sweating during yoga class. Not to mention class number one lasted 2.5 hours!! Bikram was on a mission to break us down physically and mentally.  Thankfully, with ample dosage of magnesium,  potassium and sea salt, the cramping has long ceased.

3. Pesky Itchy Mosquito Bite

Dumb mosquito flew into my room in the middle of night two and bit me on the inside of my left ring finger making it impossible for me to hold a nice tight grip during many of the standing poses. Not to mention it itched like crazy for 3-4 days after. Long week nights lasting past 12 midnight in lecture felt like torture. Since the bite occurred,  I’ve been spraying on my DEET daily to keep the mosquitoes away. Lesson learned the hard way!

4. “THE BOSS” Grading My Delivery of Half Moon Pose Favorably.

In his words: “You didn’t just say the dialogue, you became a teacher. “

When he said those words to me right after I delivered Half Moon Pose on stage in front of 332 of my fellow yogi trainees,  in that moment I knew this is  where I am supposed to be. All doubts and fears  removed.

5. Soaking in the Beauty of Thailand

After 5 days straight of a grueling 8am to midnight schedule filled with lectures and ten sessions of Bikram yoga clases totaling a whopping 20 hours in the hot yoga room heated to 105 degrees + 96% humidity which easily makes it feel like hell on earth,  Our. Bodies. Deserved. A.Break. ….Beaches, pools, massage, shopping. All much appreciated.

image

Now that we are rejuevenated, bring on week two! I’m ready to conquer all fears and “trust the process” as Bikram likes to say. 

Namaste.

Inspirational Call to Action: Life Is Painful, Life Is Beautiful

Aside

“Life is about change; sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the time it’s both.”

 

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

 

 

In March 2013, I walked into a Bikram Yoga class both scared and excited for what would potentially occur during class. When class ended 90 minutes later; after 26 postures in 105 degree temperature, sweat dripping from areas of my body I didn’t know could sweat, me feeling worn out, I simply smiled because I finished the class in one piece; I survived. Little did I know that I would become an avid Bikram Yoga student whose main desire in life would be to complete an intensive 9 week Bikram Yoga Teacher Training program in Thailand beginning September 14, 2014 so that I can share the healing properties of yoga with my community. This is where I need your help.

“If 500 people donate $30 each, I can reach my goal”

gofundme icon

What Made Me Fall In Love with Bikram Yoga
During the time I discovered BY, I was personally going through health issues in which I was unable to solve even in my line of work as an Holistic Nutrition Consultant.  I was frustrated, stressed out and felt like a failure because my health conditions kept getting worse and worse and began to affect my ability to concentrate on my work.  I battled various ailments including:

– weight gain (despite clean eating and daily gym workouts)
–  inability to lose weight (gained 25 pounds in 6 months)
–  adrenal fatigue ( felt tired ALL the time)
–  Brain fog (i just couldn’t think, couldn’t concentrate!)
–  Constipation (yuck yuck)
–  digestive issues and food sensitivities
–  itchy, dry skin and scalp
–  hair loss coupled with inflammation
–  Autoimmune issues (disgnosed in 2009)
–  Weak, peeling fingernails
– Stress
– Anxiety

The extra weight gain is what made me give BY a try. I figured the sweat would help me to detox the impurities that were preventing me from losing weight. Little did I know that a regular yoga practice would help reduce, if not eliminate, many of the conditions mentioned above.  Today my stress and anxiety is non-existant most times;  my weight is under control; I am more focused than ever and can get lots of work done each day, my fingernails and digestive system have recovered and I am no longer fatigued.  The autoimmune condition and hair loss are related.  Although I still have it, the inflammation and itchy-scalp and skin has reduced tremendously.  Bikram Yoga has been the key reason for my healing when I had little clue that it would be the answer to my health woes.  My goal is to teach and share the practice of Bikram Yoga to the community so that they too can experience a new-found health and happiness physically, mentally and spiritually.

“Its never too late, its never too bad and you’re never too old or sick to start from scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury

Please take a minute and read my story at my GoFundMe page by clicking this link.  With yoga, we can heal our community.  Share the link, spread my message and support however you can.  No donation is too small.  I thank you dearly from my heart.

“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.”

Click image below to read more and support my cause.

gofundme icon

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Days 18 – 24

Subscribe Button
Just when I think I’ve got this yoga challenge in the bag, there are days that sneak up on me in which I struggle to make it through each class.  Sometimes my breathing is off or my body is sore therefore preventing me from going deep in each pose.

athlete doing bikram yoga

I simply allow these things to naturally occur and not let it consume my every thought.  Once class is over, I move on and focus on the rest of my day.  I realize that tomorrow is another day and I can try again then.

On another note, I am amazed at how far I have come!  Mentally, I am a more relaxed, care-free person able to enjoy each moment instead of anxiously wondering what’s going to happen in my future regarding career, relationships, finances, etc.  I simply am able to just be.  Being the perfectionist that sometimes labels my every action, being able to let go of worry is the greatest gift my Bikram yoga practice has placed upon me thus far.

If you haven’t read already, check out my recap on my 30 day challenge for days 1 – 17 here, here, and here.  Read about days 18 – 24 below:

Day 18 – Monday 7/15/13

I had no idea of the social following and interest I’d gather with my 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge.  It has been a welcome surprise.  A few of my friends have joined me in Bikram yoga classes – for some, it was their first time ever. I have one friend who is undergoing her own 30 day challenge.

It feels good to give someone the experience of trying a Bikram yoga class. In fact, I encourage everyone to try it out.  Many studios offer discounted introductory packages for new students.  Find your nearest Bikram Yoga Studio and check it out!  Then let me know how it went!

Other activity done for the day:  n/a

Day 19 – Tuesday 7/16/13

Today, the teacher focused her attention on me during Balancing Stick Pose (Tuladandasana)

byb273

Balancing Stick Pose (Tuladandasana)

I love how this pose exudes strength, confidence, and elongates the body.  It takes concentration and willpower to trust that you can balance yourself on one leg, with knee locked, with body perpendicular and stretched out like a ‘T’ shape and not a broken umbrella.

Sometimes when my concentration is not all the way there, my standing leg wobbles and shakes.  My other leg doesn’t get up as high as it needs to and my pointed fingers points sideways instead of straight forward towards the mirror.  The teacher had my back today and helped me out a bit, thankfully.

Balancing stick pose perfects control and balance, firms the hips, butt, and upper thighs.  It increases circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves poor posture.  Flexibility, strength, and muscle tone of shoulders, upper arms, spine, and hip joints all improve because of this pose.  With swimsuit season in session, it’s the answer to any girl’s flabby arm problems.

Other activity done for the day:  40 minute run

Day 20 – Wednesday 7/17/13

One day I will master Fixed Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana)

byb423_0

Fixed Firm Pose (Supta – Vajrasana)

From the photo above, fixed firm pose looks like a sexy, flirty present that you just want to unwrap. Am I right?  Lol. Unfortunately for me, the furthest I can go in the posture is opening my feet wide enough to sit my hips down as low as they go until my butt touches the floor.

At this point in my yoga practice, my hips are so tight that my butt remains in the air, about 3 inches from the floor.  Once the hips open up and I’m able to sit my butt all the way down, I can then lower my upper body back and down until it’s on the floor like the photo above.  Then I can say that I am a sexy, flirty present that you just want to unwrap.  Hope that’s not too weird.

Other activity done for the day:  n/a

Day 21 – Thursday 7/18/13

I’m not saying that everyone needs to do Bikram yoga.  But, it is an amazing practice that improves the physical, mental, and spiritual being.  If you can, try it:  give it a month of going at least 3 times per week (ideally 5x) before you decide if it’s for you or not.   Bikram yoga offers crazy huge benefits including:

–          Detoxifies skin and cleans out dirt from the pores resulting in the famous bikram yoga glow

–          Relieves stress

–          Increases blood circulation throughout body (hello improved libido!)

–          Cardiovascular and resistance weight training workout in one

–          Boosts digestive system

–          Reduces cravings for processed food and food in general, stabilizing appetite

–          Speeds up metabolism and normalizes blood sugar levels

–          Reduces flatulence, and eases bowel movements

I can attest to many of the above.  In fact, I received a massage from a Chinese masseuse not too long ago and she almost screamed in shocking amazement when I told her my age.  Seems she was under the impression that I was a teenager.  “Naw,” I said smiling, “it’s just that Bikram yoga glow.”

Other activity done for the day:  Zumba!

Day 22 – Friday 7/19/13

I’ve been really interested in yoga related quotes lately.  Something about them offers inspiration and allows me to relax my mind and know that I’ve got this challenge squared away and will cross the finish line without fail.  Here are a few quotes that I am digging:

Nothing can steal happiness, peace away from you: if anyone does make you angry, you are the loser; if someone can allow you to lose peace, you are the loser. –Bikram Choudhury
On an airplane, you are always told to put on your oxygen mask first. The same way in life, you need to take care of your health first. If you are not happy and healthy, you cannot make anyone else happy and healthy. -Rajashree Choudhury
Breathe and all will be revealed, love and all will be healed. This is yoga. –Seane Corn

Other activity done for the day:  30 minute park workout of sprints, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks

Day 23 – Saturday 7/20/13

I visited a different Bikram Yoga studio in El Cerrito this morning because the timing fit my schedule better than my regular studio in Oakland.  It is true what they say:  the instructions in bikram yoga classes are the same everywhere you go.  Therefore it makes it super easy to visit different yoga studios no matter what city, state, or country that your travels may take you.  I recommend you try out different studios whether locally or while traveling, for a new experience.

My only recommendation is to bring your own mat and towel just out of sheer comfort.  Laundry was still on my to-do list so I had to pay $2 to borrow a baby-sized towel that barely fit 1/3 of my mat.  It was kind of frustrating that during the postures, I had to focus my attention on not slipping on my own sweat.

But hey, you live and you learn.  I’ll be back El Cerrito. 🙂

Other activity done for the day:  n/a

Day 24 – Sunday 7/21/13

Sometimes a Bikram yoga girl can use a breather.  My all-time favorite pose:

byb353

Dead Body Pose (Savasana)

Other activity done for the day:  15 minute walk

————————————————————

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.

Follow Chika on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

 

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Days 11 – 17

yoga quote finishing

We are getting closer to goal!  My Bikram yoga 30 Day challenge has been nothing short of motivating in both the physical and mental sense.  You all are cheering me on and keeping tabs on my progress and I appreciate all the love.  Because of you and the overwhelming support, I have gotten through 17 of 30 days — over halfway done!

If you haven’t already done so, you can read my days 1 – 10 journey here and here.

Then read below for days 11 – 17.

Day 11 – Monday 7/8/2013

My thighs are getting stronger and shapelier each day.  I credit it mostly to standing head to knee pose (check photo below).  In this pose, I am balancing on one leg with knee locked to start.  If the knee is not locked, the posture has not yet begun.  With the standing knee locked, I then bend forward by the hip with fingers of both hands interlocked together and hanging down in front by the knees.  I pick up the other leg at a 90 degree angle and sit that leg in my hands.

With standing knee locked, this is the beginning of the pose.

Part 2: Once balanced there, one can then extend the leg up and out at a 90 degree angle.

Part 3: If both legs are completely locked, then one can lower their head until the head is touching the knee like the dude in the photo below.

This pose is the ultimate thigh toner.  My thighs have strengthened so much; they have developed the vertical line running down the outer center length similar to track runners and sprinters.  I can barely extend the leg to a 90 degree angle (it’s more like 45 degrees) but by keeping the standing leg locked, my thighs are reaping the benefits of standing head to knee pose quite nicely.

byb173

Other activity done for the day:  15 minute walk

Day 12 – Tuesday 7/9/2013

Don’t know how I was able to make it to the 6am class but I’m glad I did.  The instructor shared a few words regarding body image.  I’ll paraphrase what she said.

If you practice Bikram Yoga wearing a t-shirt and pants, you are wearing too much clothing.  Often times we want to hide our flaws because of embarrassment.  But you need to remove the layers and come to class ready to face yourself in that mirror and look at your body as you are doing each pose. This will not only help you to improve each pose faster, but your commitment to yoga will grow stronger as you begin seeing improvements in your shape.

What she said was golden.  It’s true we all have reservations about our body: we don’t want our rolls or cellulite to be on display for the whole class.  Nor do we want to see it ourselves.  But in Bikram Yoga, no one is there to judge.  We are all there to practice, grow, build, and strengthen our bodies and minds.  Shed the layers of clothing so that you can start to see and appreciate the transformation as it occurs in the yoga room.

Other activity done for the day:  25 minute run

Day 13 – Wednesday 7/10/13

Nothing can interrupt a Yogi from their practice.  Check out this story:

I walked into the Bikram Yoga studio and found the teacher and a few students discussing a recent car robbery that culminated in front of the yoga studio a couple days ago.  Two teenage boys stole a Mercedes sports car in nearby posh Piedmont then proceeded to speed away but not before crashing and flipping the car on its side which caused it to burst into flames right outside the yoga studio while class was in session.  Everything could be seen and heard from the 3rd story studio.  When the instructor excitedly asked the class if they wanted to stop and watch, the class unanimously replied, “no, keep going.”

Goes to show nothing can interrupt a Yogi from practicing their craft.

Other activity done for the day:  30 minute walk

Day 14 – Thursday 7/11/13

Best thing you can do for a friend?  Take her (or him) to a Bikram yoga class!!!  I brought my friend to the 6am class where she commenced to drop bucket loads of sweat onto her mat and towel.  She was super impressive, attempting each pose and following through to the end despite being unfamiliar with the heat and intensity.  After class the teacher expressed how much she was impressed by my friend’s effort.

Loved that I could introduce her to yoga which will no doubt help her manage stress and add clarity to her busy life.

Other activity done for the day:  15 minute walk

Day 15 – Friday 7/12/13

Woohoo!! I am at the mountaintop and from this point onward, its all downhill from here!!  I am at the halfway mark.  I can’t say that it’s been easy but I am ecstatic that I have gotten to this point.

Many of the students in class are aware that I am on this 30 day journey and they have been super supportive, cheering me on along the way.  It feels good when everyone knows your name.

Other activity done for the day:  Cardio kickboxing class

Day 16 – Saturday 7/13/13

OMG I missed a day!  Today was jam-packed with commitments beginning from bright n early in the morning until way past my bedtime.  In fact I left the house at 8am and didn’t lay my head to rest until 3am that night.  It was a super fun day spent with colleagues and friends so well worth the skip.  But I knew Sunday had a double in-store for me which I wasn’t too thrilled about, not in the slightest.

Other activity done for the day:  Dancing to reggae music

Day 17 – Sunday 7/14/13

A miss on Saturday meant a double today to make up for that miss.  By taking two classes in one day, I’d make up for the miss so that I remain on par with my 30 day challenge goals.  It was no easy feat.

I attended the 11am and the 2pm class.

I felt super dehydrated and half awake during the first class.  My body was stiff and stomach looked bloated (due to last night’s spirited festivities).  I didn’t enjoy staring at myself during the 90 minutes.  My eyes could only focus on my core abdominal area and the thoughts that were accumulating in my head were not positive ones.  It wasn’t pretty or effortless but I miraculously got through the first class.

Immediately following the first class, I carried my tired, sweaty, half asleep butt home to hydrate for round 2 which was only 90 minutes away from starting.  Gathering a few things from my refrigerator, I concocted this super hydrating smoothie.  After drinking, I felt like a whole new person with a new mindset and revived energy.  I blended coconut water, banana, coconut milk, and maca root powder with ice.  As I quickly downed it, it literally felt like my muscles and body were finally waking up.

I went into Round 2 thinking that I was fatigued because that is how I thought I was supposed to feel.  However, when I noticed the extra flexibility in my limbs and the absence of soreness, I immediately washed my mind of any weak thoughts.  Staring in the mirror, I noticed how strong my core and thighs looked.  I don’t know if it was my imagination or what, but it seemed the bloated look from the first session disappeared and I was back to having my normal, superwoman mentality. I felt good.

Accomplishing a double is a big deal.  Imagine all the sweating, straining, and emotions spinning around.  Then multiply that by two.  I thought the second class would be much harder than the first but was content to realize it was the other way around.  That hydrating coconut smoothie really came through in a major way.

I’d rather not have to do anymore doubles during this 30 day challenge, but we’ll see what life and reality brings to the table.

Other activity done for the day:  are you kidding me??!  n/a

————————————————————

Click here to get juicy food and life notes straight from Chika to your inbox!

Chika Obih is a certified holistic nutrition consultant; blogger; and founder of Soul-Wholesome Nutrition 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.

Follow Chika on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram