Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Days 25 -30

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Ladies and gentlemen it’s a wrap.  My 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge has come to its completion.  I have successfully practiced Bikram yoga 30 consecutive days – that’s 90 minutes, 105 degree temperature, 26 postures, for 30 days straight.

accomplishment

You may think I’m crazy but boy I feel so good!  Mentally, physically, I feel like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.  It’s the best feeling.  Check out my journal for days 25 – 30 below.  And if you haven’t yet done so, start with days 1 – 24 by going here, here, here, and here.

Today’s post is my journal for days 25 – 30.  But for the grand finale and summary on my experience, the good, the bad, the ugly, pictures of me from day 30 compared to day 1, weight and body transformation, and my future with Bikram yoga and more…then click here for where I recap everything — with selfies! (pics of myself).  And please please please post your comments below.  I want to hear from you!

Day 25 – Monday 7/22/13

“Health can be instantly improved simply by changing your mood .”

The teacher said this in class today and it instantly made me adjust the stank expression I had imprinted on my face.  Sometimes when we put the body in new, challenging positions, the face can express the discomfort and apprehension we may feel in our thoughts.

We may grind our teeth, hold our breath, scrunch up the face, or just mean-mug.  These negative expressions affect the body’s ability to perform the pose as efficiently and as deeply as you can possibly go in the posture.

By simply smiling and breathing through the nose, it allows the body to flow through the poses and you end up performing much better and enjoying the experience.  The quote is deep, I believe it.

Other activity done for the day:  n/a

 

Day 26 – Tuesday 7/23/13

6am class, bright and early, barely made class in time but super glad I did.  The teacher shared with the class her wonderful weekend experience working with a Bikram Yoga expert teacher who has been practicing yoga for over 30 years.  My teacher incorporated some tips during our class and wow, it added quite a change to my practice.

Two of the biggest takeaways learned:

1. Hold in the stomach – always.  It is important to keep the core engaged for support, posture and to help build the core muscles.  I definitely felt and saw the definition in my stomach the next day.  Powerful.

2. Tuck in the butt/hips to keep the spine straight.  As a woman with extra junk in the truck, the lower spine is left bent where the lower back meets the crack of the butt. Often referred to as “duck butt”.   This can prevent one from fully stretching the length of the spine and reaping the full benefits of each pose.

The solution is to tuck in the butt/hips which then rolls in the lower stomach so that the spine is as straight as possible from top to bottom.  Not to mention, this helps to tone and shape the butt and lower abdomen. I try to tuck in my hips and engage my core muscles as often as I remember throughout the entire day, not just in yoga class.

Being aware of these two changes have changed my practice in a promising way.  My core area is a bit sore after each class which is a sign that extra toning is going on there.  Plus it makes me feel good to know that I am practicing each pose the correct way.  It is always smart to learn new perspectives and implement them to improve your practice.

My teacher has been practicing for over 10 years and it blew her mind that weekend to learn new tips that will potentially take her Bikram yoga practice to a whole new level.

Other activity done for the day:  30 minute at home cardio workout

Day 27 – Wednesday 7/24/13

Look at this photo:

Deep back-bending

Can you believe the spine can bend so deeply?  Who knew how flexible the spine really is.  I’m sure it took years for the girl in the photo to be able to go into such a deep backward bend in which her pointed fingers are merely inches away from touching the ground below her.  Quite amazing.  I wonder how bendy I’ll be after practicing consistently for a couple years?  Trips me out just thinking about it.

Click on the photo above to read about the benefits back-bending has on the spine and the wonders it can do for back pain.

Other activity done for the day:  30 minute park workout: running, jumping jacks, lunges, mountain climbers

Day 28 – Thursday 7/25/13

As I have increased my commitment to Bikram Yoga because of this challenge and have seen the wonderful benefits it has bestowed upon me physically and mentally, I couldn’t help but wonder about the celebrities who practice Bikram Yoga.  Celebrities tend to stay on top of the latest health and fitness craze and Bikram yoga is no exception.

Here is a short list of celebrities who love Bikram Yoga!

Jennifer Aniston –  (helped her heal over the Brad Pitt divorce)

George Clooney –  (practices whenever he is near a Bikram studio, even while traveling)

Madonna – (credits Bikram Yoga as a powerful and positive force in her life)

Lady Gaga

 “Yoga makes me feel like I can do anything…yoga heals me…” – Lady Gaga

David Beckham (arguably has one of the best soccer bodies in the game)

Beyonce (my birthday twin!) she was quoted as saying:

“Every time I do yoga, I want to cry. … By the end of the class your body can do things it couldn’t do in the beginning so you feel accomplished and emotional. It’s therapeutic.” – Beyonce

Ashton Kutcher (probably how he always seems to have lots of energy)

Demi Moore (says the heat helps her body detoxify)

Jenny McCarthy (lost 65 lbs post-baby by practicing 3 times per week)

Matthew McConaughey (my celebrity crush)

Carmen Electra (yoga is how she keeps her hot shape)

Carmen Electra - Standing Bow Pose

Carmen Electra – Standing Bow Pose

Other activity done for the day:  20 minute at-home workout: situps, pushups, planks

Day 29 – Friday 7/26/13

I realized in class today that I have a half marathon coming up in about 9 weeks and I have not yet started training.

I’m kind of behind as I usually like to allow 12 weeks to train.  But it’s all good, I’ll finish out this 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge then focus on my running schedule.  Out of guilt, I ran for about a half hour today.  Felt good.

Other activity done for the day:  33 minute run

Day 30 – Saturday 7/27/13

Last day of the challenge!!! I walked into the yoga studio with a huge grin on my face knowing that in 90 minutes, I would be done with my challenge.

On day one, 30 days seemed like forever.  But now that I am at the end of my journey, it seems like it breezed by.  Nevertheless, I am excited to have set a goal and accomplish it.

Furthermore, blogging about it on a weekly basis helped me to stay on tracj because of all the questions and cheers I was receiving from you all.  Thank you for the support, it kept me motivated especially on the days I wanted to sleep in instead of sweat.

I love the people at Bikram Yoga College of India Oakland.  Each day, they check in with me to see what day I am on and their eyes widen with excitement when I tell them about my journey.  In all of my years of working out at gyms and other group settings, I have never felt like I was part of a family until now.  Bikram Yoga Oakland has the most down-to-earth, friendly, interesting people – I feel like I’m at home when I go to class and see familiar smiley faces greeting me. 

Other activity done for the day:  45 minute run, 45 minute walk

Again, click here for my Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge recap where I talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, body transformation, and my future practicing Bikram Yoga.  Is there a 100 day challenge in the works?  

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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.

Follow Chika on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Days 18 – 24

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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)

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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)

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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:

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Dead Body Pose (Savasana)

Other activity done for the day:  15 minute walk

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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.

Follow Chika on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram