365 Days of Bikram – Day 1

State of the Jess, April 9th, 2011. My car broke down near the end of December and since then I haven’t been back to yoga. I’ve gone three months with no yoga, letting my diet deteriorate, and not doing much physical activity (even my hooping has dropped to a minimum). I’ve gained weight, I feel crummy and lethargic, and most nights I have trouble getting to sleep. I’m also lacking focus and motivation on pursuing the things I’m actually interested in.

Apparently that’s what happens to you when you go to yoga every day for two months, and then take three months off. Granted, I sort of let myself dissolve, using the lack of yoga as an excuse to get more and more lazy and unhealthy. A big part of me feels like I even slogged my way through Play Immersion, not enjoying and experiencing it as fully as I knew I could if I were really “on”.

Enter a fresh new Bikram yoga studio, grandly opened right in my hometown. I hobbled into the studio after work yesterday and asked about their class schedule and pricing. Turns out they are offering an irresistible intro package ($40 for the first month!!!) that gives me NO EXCUSE to not turn this shit around. I said, “HERE IS MY FORTY DOLLARS PLZKTHX” and signed myself up immediately, vowing to come in for class the next morning.

I’ve been telling myself that when I get back to yoga, I will commit myself for one solid year, as close to every day as possible. This is because, when I took the 60-Day challenge at the end of 2010, I realized that the way I do yoga best is daily. If I commit to it as a daily practice, no excuses, I’ll actually go. It becomes habit. If I give myself the option of skipping class, I will let myself skip class. The 60-Day challenge proved pretty easy for me, the only hiccup coming toward the end of it when my car betrayed me. (WHY, MIA, WHYYYYYYYYY???) When I get right down to it, a consistent Bikram yoga practice is the foundation for building up everything else in my life. Getting up and going to class first thing in the morning makes the whole day feel more productive, even if all I do with it after that is watch movies and knit.

So here goes nothing, 365 days of near-consecutive yoga. I’m giving myself allowances to miss days on holidays when the studio is closed and if I’m traveling and can’t find a studio with a class that fits into my travel schedule. My goal is to miss no more than 25 days during the year (roughly one class every two weeks). I’m also going to do my best to blog about it every day, number one because I friggen’ love blithering about yoga, and number two because I feel like when I’m not blogging I’m disconnected. So hopefully I’ll resurrect a daily blogging habit along with my daily yoga habit.

ENOUGH EXPOSITION HOW DID DAY ONE GO HOLY GEEZ.

Okay, okay. I walked into class with my left leg in some sort of bizarre pain I can’t really describe (but of course I’m going to try anyway). Two days ago at work, it started hurting, as if my knee were sore, but it radiated down into my foot and up into my hip. I’ve never really had leg pain like this and frankly, I DON’T APPROVE. No better sign that it’s time to get back in the hot room.

And MAN was this room hot. I’ve been doing Bikram yoga for a long time, and different studios have their own idea of what “hot” is. This room is MY kind of hot. Sweating-from-the-first-breathing-exercise, feel-like-your-lungs-are-being-crushed-out-of-your-chest, having-trouble-standing-up-because-it-feels-like-the-heat-is-sentient-and-shoving-you-back-down HOT. When I get over the initial being-backness, I’m really going to enjoy this room.

Today, though, I felt like crap. Not the “I want to die” kind of crap that I sometimes feel in class, more like the, “Man, I’ve neglected myself so badly that I just don’t want to DO any of this” kind of crap. I started out all gung-ho and quickly realized that my muscles were stiff and refusing to fold into the postures that, three months ago, caused them no issues at all. Today, it felt like my body had never known how to bend. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve gone back to class and felt like an absolute beginner. I had moments where I felt like I would never get better at these poses no matter how much I came to class, even though I know from experience that isn’t true. Despite knowing these postures inside and out, despite knowing the dialogue forwards and backwards, my body did not want to do any of it. It wanted to curl up on the ground and whine until I came to my senses and left this miserable room.

So I gave it a break and let it. I let my uncooperative muscles have their First Day™. I sat out entire sets of postures. I gave myself permission to sit them out instead of spending the class hating myself for it. The one thing I wouldn’t let myself do is lie down during the standing series. By the time we got to the floor series, I felt a little better and did everything as best I could. The real eye-opener came during Rabbit, when I could barely lift my hips off the ground. I AM SORRY, BODY, I WILL MAKE IT UP TO YOU.

When class was over, I took an extra long final Savasana. I was the last person to leave the room.

The crazy thing about Bikram, for me anyway, is that no matter how terrible a class I have, I always feel great when I leave the room. Today was no exception. I left the room feeling refreshed and recharged. I’m interested to see how long it takes my body to get comfortable with class again, because that’s when I’ll start leaving class ready to take over the world.

Oh, and my leg already feels better.

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One thought on “365 Days of Bikram – Day 1

  1. Chewy, you rock for going to yoga and recommitting to getting healthy. The really awesome thing about life is that generally speaking, each day is followed by another one, and no matter HOW BAD we screw up today, we will have a tomorrow to do better, at least until God stops giving us days!
    I’m glad your knee feels better too. I really hope you keep blogging about your classes too so it will inspire me to keep doing yoga too.<3

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