Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bikram Continues In My Life...

It's been a few weeks now since I completed my challenge and as with many who take on the challenge, I've become addicted. I crave the sweat and the heat, I like the way I feel 'lighter' after each class, not having to think about anything for a whole 90 minutes but the yoga, is great for the mind. I am also liking the physical changes it is making to my body, it's not so much about weight loss for me but my body shape has changed , it's much more toned and defined. 

I feel like I am overcoming what I imagine would be a drug addiction; I've gone from going everyday to a couple of times a week. Unfortunately, I can't commit to doing it more than 2 or 3 times a week now as (1) it's expensive and (2) I have a gym membership too and just wouldn't have the time to do it more than 2/3 times a week.

I've spoken to many about the challenge because they want to know not because I am forcing them to listen to my experiences! I feel like a sales woman for Bikram Yoga, many who I have spoken to have said they would love to try it, maybe they were being nice?!

One of my very early entries of this blog I spoke about a posture called Fixed Firm Pose - Supta Vajrasana, I was excited about it because it was one that I hadn't been able to do, ever! It appears, I still can't, I got a correction in class last week. The thing is that I'd been able to bring my body all the way back but actually I've been doing it wrong, I've been cheating, my feet are meant to touch the sides of my hips and mine don't, ahhh gutted! The start of the this position you are supposed to be on your knees, legs open, feet touching the sides of your hips and your bum should sink to the ground, mine doesn't. What I've been doing is opening my legs and knees wide to sink my bum to the ground but then feet aren't touching the hips. I've always had a issue with my hips being tight and this is one of those postures where it can be a disadvantage. Until I can sink my bottom to the ground with feet touching hips, I am not to bend backwards so I just have to sit upright on my knees for now...I will get that bum on the ground one day!

I'm in Japan at the moment on holiday and Bikram is big thing over here too I'm told but haven't found a studio yet. Some people have said to me, you know the postures, why don't you just do it on your own. It's not the same I cry! There's no heat and sweat and no teacher encouraging you on as you get deeper into the postures. I also don't like exercising on my own, I much prefer to be in a class even if I don't know people because of  the atmosphere and that feeling that everyone is working together to achieve the same goals. I can't think of  anything worse than bashing away on a treadmill..but each to their own. 


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Day 30...finished!

Whoop! Day 30 - done! It's a bit of an anti climax, I feel like... yay I've done it, ok then! It was another strong session today, I was getting deep into the postures and locking those knees, I am still crap with pulling the stomach in but that will be a focus in the next challenge, yes, I've decided I will do this again later in the year. 

I had a particularly good Standing Bow Pose - Dandayamana Dhanurasana, for the first time ever I held the posture for the full time (roughly a minute in the first round and 30 secs in the second), I normally fall out once during the first round so was pleased and it was deep:

My leg was not as straight as the lady in the image, this is something I'm working on but my focus was on point today. This is great for: stimulating the cardiovascular system, increases circulation to the heart and lungs, improves strength and balance and the elasticity in the spine. 

Going off on a bit of a tangent, I saw a couple of people blow their noses into the towels today! Gross!

I checked on my friend Bilal in the morning. He reported he was fine, phew (!) and said that his skin felt less dry than usual. This is certainly something I have found too, Bikram has been great for my eczema. It's also been great for focus and concentration, in general, I've been feeling great, energised and not moaned about being tired ( except for the day I did the 6.30am class) as my friend Good Time Mercer thought I would be doing, cheek!

I did this 30 day challenge because I like to challenge myself every year. I decided on Bikram because I've heard many medical benefits about this type of yoga. Not that I have any issues to worry about right now but I don't want to be in an situation when I'm in my 60's and I'm limping about cos I've got a dodgy hip or knee.  I'm also not the most flexible of people so I wanted to work on that too. Besides the physical, it's been great for the mind and escaping from everyday life for 90 minutes a day, just emptying away any worries....

Lots of people have asked me if I've lost any weight, up until last week, I didn't shift any pounds but I noticed today when I got onto the scales that I've lost 3kgs which is a result as I've just been eating whatever I've wanted and loads of it!

I've developed a bit of an addiction for Bikram and will continue with it at least twice a week until the next challenge in the autumn.....


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Day 29...penultimate class

From the beginning of the challenge, I've had a few people who have said they'd be interested in joining me at certain points of the challenge but until today, they've not managed to make any of the classes (out of fear I think!) except for my friend Bilal who actually made it today! He did awesome and was way flexible. 

In comparison to yesterday, the room was so cool, the teacher kept opening the door for air to a point where I was beginning to think that it wasn't warm enough. The 'coolness' actually helped me so much with many of the poses, I was getting into them with no problems and was finding that I was more flexible today.

I've noticed in the last few classes that Eagle Pose - Garusrasana is fast becoming one of my favourite postures:

I'm liking the challenge of really getting low and getting that leg wrapped right round the opposite ankle, balancing on one foot throughout. When I first start I couldn't really get the leg wrapped round properly and now it goes all the way! It's a great posture, I think I've mentioned in previous posts, that this one opens up 12 major joints in the body, great for varicose veins, reproductive organs and improves the immune system. 

Tomorrow is my last day, I hope it will be a successful class also. I've decided that I'd quite like to do another challenge in October. Am I mad?


Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 28...intense

"These people look like they are going to die!" This was a statement made by a newbie who was signing up to Bikram as we were coming out of class. The reception guy replied " Don't worry, they will be ok this time.." 

We did look like we were going to die, the instructor was ruthless today. The room was too hot and humid and it showed in class, there were many of us struggling. I know I've mentioned it being hot numerous times in my blog but never before have a been in class and someone has actually shouted out that we need air, it was unbearable. I've got a slightly blood shot eye as a result!  We were told, no air, imagine if you were in a class lead by Bikram himself would he give in to you guys? Fair enough to say that if we were training to be instructors but we're just amateurs. 

This was the first time in a while that I felt like I was absolutely shattered, felt light headed and could hardly move after. It was an intense session. I bet I sleep well tonight.


Day's the final countdown

I can't believe there are only 3 days to go, the challenge has gone insanely fast. Today was the first time during the challenge where I felt that I just couldn't and had to sit out of a few of the postures. I did the 8.15am class because I had plans for the day, this translated to 7.15am because the clocks have just gone forward in the UK. I set the alarm an hour early with the intention to get a light snack down me for energy and guzzle some water. Unfortunately I ended up hitting the snooze button quite a number of times and basically got up 20 mins before class, guzzled water and ate some Ribena sweets.  

This was a terrible start. I was fine for the standing series but then into the floor series (an hour in) I began to feel tired, weak, hungry and the heat was irritating me, I was wishing the teacher would open the door to let some air in. Unfortunately for me, this teacher likes it super hot!! 


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Day 21 - 23...suck the belly in

I've decided to write the blog entries less frequently in the last week of the challenge as it is becoming all a bit same-y, my practise is steady and nothing significant to report. The last few days the back has been repairing itself and I've been careful not to over stretch, it is feeling a million times better and the yoga is actually helping iron out the ache in certain postures. 

During a Bikram class, you often get told to 'suck the belly in', this is to protect your back. But as you get yourself into the postures, trying to remember to keep the legs locked and the arms locked, it's very easy to forget you've got to suck that belly in as well and it can sometimes just kinda hang loose. 

The last couple of days though, I've made a massive effort to suck the belly in and it has helped immensely with the back issue. Thanks to Kath over at A Sweaty Adventure  for reminding me about this. 

My practise was a little shocking tonight, my focus was just not there and I was wobbling a lot during the standing series. It didn't help though that quite a few people decided that they were going to walk in and out of the room tonight, it was really affecting my concentration. The rules are that if you are feeling a bit a dizzy or unwell, you just stay in the room and lie down, that usually sorts the problem out. The teacher tonight is good with her instruction but she isn't very strict so allows all this movement in class which is annoying. 


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Day 20...being careful

The back is still giving me a little bit of trouble but not as bad as yesterday. I'm being careful not to over do it and being extra careful when it comes to the back postures. There's not a great deal to report today, I'm taking it slowly and looking forward to completing in 10 days.