My First Ever 30 Days’ Bikram Yoga Challenge

Bodhi Me Bikram Spinal Twist 30 Days' Challenge
Bikram Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana (Photo by Bodhi Me)

I have been practising the full 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga for 6 years and I have met various people who have tackled the 30 days’ challenge.  A 30 days’ Bikram challenge is where one must practise the full 90 minutes of Bikram yoga in a 35 days’ period.  However, most people seem to just do this challenge back to back for 30 days in a row.

I never thought that I would try it as it is very challenging in every aspect and frankly, I have always thought that this is a mad challenge.  I have never doubted the benefits of the practice and that is why it is so addictive.  Yet the commitment to arrive on my mat in a very hot room everyday practising for 30 days in a row never seemed achievable (in my head).  I have always resisted practising Bikram during my womanly moon cycle, as I just feel so conscious and uncomfortable, especially in that heat.  Completing the 30 days’ challenge means that I need to practise during my moon cycle.

The year before setting up Bodhi Me, I have been very busy with projects exhausted myself.  I got my health back on track before I had the idea to set up Bodhi Me.  Since then, it has been a rollercoaster of back-to-back activities and I have not been looking after my health enough.  I slipped into practising once a week sometimes which was really not good for me.  It’s amazing how my body reacts when I don’t have yoga in my life.  I needed to get my health back on track.  A week’s holiday in Greece in June was lovely but it wasn’t enough.  Towards the end of August, I had this idea that I am full of energy and I want to do this challenge!

I am sharing with you the first week of my 30 days’ yoga challenge.  If you want to see daily updates or photos, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

Day 1: Thursday 1st September

Before the first day of my challenge, I consulted some of my Bikram teacher friends on advice to tackle the challenge.  They told me that 30 is just a number and I should take each day at a time.  I should not overthink it, and that I need to eat well, hydrate well and rest.

I arrived at Bikram Yoga Chiswick for the 6:30am class taught by Laura full of energy and excitement and I think I lost the yoga through most of it.  I started the practice thinking how on earth I would ever finish this and I won’t be able to complete this 30 days in a row.  The word ‘challenge’ and the number ‘30’ overwhelmed me.  Rather than just focusing on the moment and breathing through it, it got to me and I felt stressed and distracted during the practise.  I finished the class and told myself that I needed to just take this one day at a time.

Day 2: Friday 2nd September

Bodhi Me Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
Bikram Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose – Dandayamana Bibhaktapata Paschimotthansana (Photo by Bodhi Me)

I went back into class at the same time on Day 2 taught by Laura again and wow, what a difference it made when I just focused on what I could do that moment and not worry about the number.  I told myself that I have practised 2 days in a row before and so I would be fine.  And it was.  I also made the decision that morning that I would complete this challenge.  There was no question of a doubt.  Everything then felt easier.

Laura was kind enough to give me suggestions on adjustments with my standing separate leg stretching pose which helped me think and focus on stretching my spine down more.  I left smiling and I said to myself that I needed to sleep earlier that night as I was tired.

Day 3: Saturday 3rd September

Day 3 turned out to be an overly hectic day for me as I had a last minute meeting in Surrey early in the morning which overran by 2 hours and I was meeting a friend in London for dinner.  I felt tired and yet I knew that I needed to practise in the 3pm class.  My only expectations were to hydrate a lot before and arrive on my mat in time for the class and so I did.  Despite arriving feeling a little stressed, I was glad to make class.  It felt a lot easier not to have expectations of my practice that day.  I definitely felt looser in my joints and muscles as it was later in the day.  I was able to meet my friend that evening for dinner and I felt so relaxed but a bit tired that I was ready to go to bed early.

Day 4: Sunday 4th September

To mix things up, I decided to practise at Bikram Yoga Surbiton and lovely Tim taught the 9am class.  Everything felt different in that class and so much more challenging.  It felt a lot hotter and more humid in that studio.  The energy of the class was different and it was a very busy class.  It was great to share energy with so many others in a class.  Tim was kind enough to suggest that I rest if I found it too challenging, however I tried every posture I could as I did not want to get into the habit of giving excuses for myself when I know I can breathe through it.  I had a lovely sleep that night and I felt good.  I noticed that I drank about 4 litres of water that day as I was just so thirsty.

Day 5: Monday 5th September

I practised at Chiswick in the 6:15pm evening class taught by wonderful Andy and that was delightful.  I felt looser in my muscles and joints as it was later in the day.  I hydrated well during the day and I slept well the night before.  Andy gave me tips on eagle pose which was great.  I was so happy in that class some time during the floor series and I couldn’t pin point exactly why.  I was full of energy and felt euphoric.  WOW!  What a feeling!  I ate a light dinner and slept so well that night.

Day 6: Tuesday 6th September

I practised again at 6:30am taught by Andy again and I am really starting to enjoy these 6:30am classes.  Andy is starting to get to know my practice and with a smaller group of us in the room, I learned some new adjustments which were incredible.  I realised that I never really listened in Standing Bow when the teacher says ‘Body Down, Chest Up’ and I asked how that was really possible.  Andy was kind enough to explain this and since then, I have changed my Standing Bow and I am feeling it more in my spine which is great.

After that class, I was back to my euphoric state and felt so happy all day.  I kept asking myself how long this feeling will last.  I couldn’t believe how happy I felt.  I had sushi for lunch, drank about 4.5 litres of water that day, had a light dinner and didn’t sleep as long as I hoped that evening even though the quality was great.

Day 7: Wednesday 7th September

Bodhi Me Camel Pose
Bikram Camel Pose – Ustrasana (Photo by Bodhi Me)

I decided to practise in the 6:15pm evening class as I went to bed so late the night before.  Carolyn was teaching and the class was exactly what I needed.  Despite feeling quite tired after a busy day of meetings and running around, I found the energy to complete the class.  Carolyn’s tips to check our hip and thigh alignment in camel pose really energised me and reassured me that I was setting up my camel pose correctly.  I felt so happy after that class again and the euphoric feeling carried on.

After a week of practising, I could not believe how classes flew back in Days 5, 6 and 7.  I felt incredible and asked myself how this was so easy.  I started to really enjoy this challenge.  Bring on the second week!

Have you ever attempted a Bikram 30 days’ challenge?  I would love to hear your experience and thoughts.

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