How To Survive A 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge?

30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

Week 1 – Embrace the muscle soreness

In the first week motivation is not a big problem, its feeling sore in places you have never felt before. 

The first week is important to get right. Don’t push yourself too hard – there are still three more weeks of Yoga ahead of you, so you will need some energy and strength towards the end to get you through. 

Survival tip: Don’t overdo it and be kind to yourself. Unless you are in very good shape, leave out other sports and give your body enough time and sleep to recover between the daily classes.

Week 2 – Push your mind

Additionally to muscle soreness from the first week, I may have to battle with inner temptation on week two. Even if everything hurts, you already know what to expect in the class and you know that you can do it.  

If you catch yourself thinking about that painful uncomfortable posture from yesterday, it’s over before the class begins. And if you hear your mind saying something like “Oh god, this awful triangle again. I couldn’t do it yesterday either. I can’t anymore. That’s too hard, it hurts”, you won’t make it until the end of the challenge. Even if it’s exhausting, you have to learn how to love it, enjoy the benefits and most importantly, stay in the present moment. 

Survival tip: Stay with your thoughts in the moment. Forget about previous classes and the upcoming postures and focus only on the present. Find a positive affirmation that works for you such as “I love Bikram yoga, everyday day I come to class it gets easier and I’m healing from the inside out”. Your body won’t do anything your mind doesn’t push it to do. What also helps to make a commitment is to simply say “See you tomorrow” when leaving the studio.  

Week 3 – Manage your time

On week three, you will be used to the soreness and will be able to focus your mind better. However, you may find you have less time to do the things you are used to, such as socializing.  If practicing yoga is not your full-time job, sooner or later, you may face a little time management problem, after two weeks you will naturally want to do something else and start to make excuses.  

Survival tip: A tactic that works is to split the challenge into weekly challenges and reward yourself for every week or each class completed. A spa afternoon, a massage, organize an evening with friends – whatever makes you feel better. 

Week 4 – Enjoy the results

This week will be easier as you can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard as some parts of your body may still hurt and you will need to push your mind every time. 

The good news is by week 4 you will see the results of your hard work. You will see changes in your body and postures, your clothes fitting better, your skin glowing. 

Your body will be more toned and flexible and will be able to hold poses you couldn’t at the start of the challenge. 

Survival tip: Grab a hot yoga buddy. No matter if you are a newbie or a pro, it helps to stick to the challenge if you have an appointment with another person. Your body is different every day, sometimes all you need to do is accept where you are and allow your mind to let go of any expectations. 

Keep hydrated! Now that you are in the swing of things, your body will be needing a lot of fluids replaced daily. As you are working out drink plain water only – a lot before class, some during class, and a lot after class. The drinks you have after class should be made with electrolytes and vitamins to help your body replace some of its nutrients after its big daily cleanse. Lemons are great for alkalizing the stomach, and fruits are great for electrolytes. 

Keep alcohol, cigarettes, stress and chemicals to a minimum. Anything you put into your body, has to come out. During a 30 Day Challenge, the body gets very good and efficient at processing its fuel, but because of the increased amount of performance required from the body, the fuel required is Premium. A well performing body cannot be fueled by empty calories with no nutrition. So make a choice, If you want to make it easiest for yourself – go the natural, healthy and nutritious way. 

How Often Should You Practice Bikram Yoga?

That’s a good question. Deciding how much you practice really depends on what your goals are for yourself. Are you in maintenance mode or are you in healing mode? 

Maintenance Mode: If you are using Bikram Yoga to maintain your current good health, to create more strength and flexibility, to help control stress, as a moving meditation and space for your personal growth, then practicing 2-3 classes per week is enough to achieve these goals.

Healing Mode: If you want to really change your body, lose weight, heal an injured body, lower blood pressure, normalise blood sugars related to type 2 diabetes, or a myriad of other health related issues, then the more you practice the quicker you will heal your body. 4 to 5 classes per week is a good way to set yourself on the road to a healthy life style.

Don’t worry, you won’t be in healing mode forever. Once you achieve your goals, a maintenance practice  (2-3 classes per week) will help you sustain your health and wellbeing.

This is a healing yoga and a steady, even daily practice, just doing what you can in class, will help give the body what it needs to heal. The human body is incredibly self healing when given the right tools. The increased circulation, the heat, breathing, gentle stretching, movement of the lymphatic system all aid in the healing process. Even if a student can do very little in the room, there is great benefit to coming in and working your range of motion. Students can practice in a chair or on the floor, for some people just sleeping for 90 minutes in the heated room can provide great benefits. Spending time focused on yourself and letting go of everything outside the room for ninety minutes can be extremely healthy.

This is a healing yoga. Students who have an acute injury, a recently herniated disc, recovering from surgery, muscle injury etc, heal much faster by practicing more. Many students take time away from their practice when they have an issue, but this is the time to up your practice. It breaks my heart to see a student stay away during the time they should be in the room. When they return, their acute issue has often become a chronic problem which requires a longer period of time to heal.

Consistency is always the key. We all have busy lives and getting to class sometimes is hard. Making yourself a priority is important but if you are just maintaining your health and working towards a stronger more flexible body, then even if you are only able to come one day a week, if you come consistently once a week, you will see changes in your health, your practice, and your life outside the room.