The end.

Day 60!!

I can now check 60 consecutive days of Bikram yoga off my to-do list. It was long, it was grueling, it was HOT, I loved and hated it. But I made it!

Blue Moon was buzzing with excitement before class began this morning. Little clusters of yogis filled the room, talking excitedly about the 60 Day Challenge party we had over the weekend, congratulating each other, comparing notes on our bodies and minds on this  final day of our yoga marathon. We were crossing off the ’60’ on the challenge poster with smiles on our faces, high fiving and hugging each other in joint success.

Thought it'd never happen but finally got to cross off number 60!

I’ve never really done a fitness challenge as intense and all-consuming as the Bikram challenge. I’m not surprised that I made it, because I’m generally a pretty determined person, but I’m proud of the accomplishment.

Best part of the challenge: Developing friendships with fellow students

Least favorite part: No breaks! My muscles were sore nearly every day

My daughter was happy to know that today was my last day. This challenge did take time away from my family life so I’m happy to have my weekends back. No more dropping whatever I’m doing to rush off to yoga.

Although my family and friends thought I was a little nutty for taking this on, they were so supportive the entire time. Whether it was watching my little girl, giving me a much needed pep talk or just saying they read my blog, it all helped me make it to the finish line. They’re awesome.

I look forward to going back to my regularly scheduled yoga but after I take these next few days off. I’ll go back to four to five days per week. Most importantly I’ll be back to taking class because I want to not because I have to.

Namaste.

Four! More! Days!

Day 56. We’re so close to challenge victory! I’m feeling motivated again but finding that I wake up with sore legs and an aching back every morning. I’m pretty sure that my body’s going to be stoked when it gets a well deserved break next week.

I’m already planning which days I’m going to take off. Yay for yoga vacation!

I was pretty cranky this morning but after a good butt-kicking in class I felt like a different person. I didn’t feel anxious and my gloom was gone. I was uplifted! It reminded me why I do this every day. I feel better, I do better. When I take the time to “check in” with my body (as our director says), I set myself up for a good day.

I’m equally excited and nervous to see what happens to my yoga discipline after the challenge is over. I plan to take off a day or two but that’s it. I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve worked so hard to gain through out the 60 days. The whole point of the challenge is to develop yoga into a daily priority for your mental and physical health. I’m scared I’ll fall off the wagon once I realize I don’t have to go.

But after today’s practice, I realized I shouldn’t worry about following through after the challenge. I think there’s a good chance I’ll make it to class.

I’m still alive!

Day 53. I’ve made it to every class these last few days with little energy leftover. Hence my absence on the blog since last week.

With only one week to go, I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Overall, I’m not sure if I’ve made huge strides in my practice or my body or even my life. I can definitely say that I’ve gained more self confidence since aiming for this lofty goal.

I’m a bit frustrated that I haven’t lost any weight over the last two months but I have lost some jiggle in certain places.

Some of my poses have improved as well. I recently had a breakthrough on my fixed firm posture. Here’s what it should look like:

Photo credit: Bikram Yoga Sacramento

I’m getting better. My backside couldn’t even touch the floor at the beginning of the challenge. Now, not only is it touching, but I can lay back and grab my elbows with minimal ankle pain. Success!

My worst posture, and this is a tough choice because there are a few, is standing head to knee. I’ve mentioned this guy before:

Photo credit: Bikram Yoga Sacramento

I can achieve both parts of this posture on my right leg but not my left. I love the sciatic stretch in this pose. My long term goal is to find balance on my left leg so that I could do it on that side as well. The Doppler doesn’t allow it. Yet.

*Side note: I found these pictures on the Bikram Yoga Sacramento website. I thought it was a great depiction of all the Bikram postures. Thanks, Sacramento!

Bonus post!

It’s still day 49 and in the spirit of double classes, I thought I’d post again.

My husband loves baseball and he really, really loves the New York Yankees. He usually spares me from hearing about the latest pitcher signed or who they’ve traded but he had to read his latest find to me. By the way, it was a happy day for me when A.J. Burnett was traded. I can’t handle another season of the husband stressing out over “bad A.J” pitching.

He was excited to share with me the following post from one the Yankees blogs he frequents. I was skeptical about my level of interest but he was right. I listened to the whole thing and found it to be an good blending of our individual interests, juicing and baseball.

The following is a Bronx Baseball Daily exclusive from friend of the blog Lisa Held.

After investing in a juice company called Juice Press, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was at an event celebrating the opening of a new location and got to talking about Mariano Rivera.

Rivera has dropped hints this offseason that he might retire at the end of the season, but Teixeira isn’t buying it.

“I don’t think he’s going to retire,” Teixeira said of Mo’s possible retirement. “I really think he has at least a few seasons left in him.”

The slightly slimmed-down Teixeira is leaving for Spring Training this Thursday, after investing—personally and monetarily—in the company that makes cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices during the off-season.

Tex discovered Juice Press about four months ago, and has been drinking green juices (which are a blend of fresh fruits and vegetables) almost every day since. He’s also done several juice cleanses, periods where he refrains from eating and just drinks juice.

“My body is my life,” Teixera said at the opening in NoLita. “I have more energy and I lost 15 pounds in two or three months.”

He’s so into Juice Press that he’s backing another new location near his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

When asked if he’s told the other players about his new obsession yet, Tex said he hadn’t, but that he’s sure they’ll want in since they’re always looking for new ways to stay healthy.

Lisa Elaine Held is the Senior Staff Writer for www.WellandGoodNYC.com, a website that covers wellness culture in New York City.

Another dazzling double

Day 49.

Today I practiced yoga for 180 minutes, changed clothes twice and drank 64 ounces of water, 11 ounces of Zico coconut water, and 1 packet of Emergen-C. All before 11 a.m.! That’s the life of a Bikram back-to-back double.

I didn’t push myself too hard in the first class at 6 a.m. I was able to rest, drink and eat something before doing it all again at 9 a.m. I started the second class with energy and positivity but still wound up close to tears by the middle of class. I was overheated and exhausted.

After class I sat on the lobby floor collecting myself and drinking coconut water, trying to gather energy to change my clothes. I felt drained yet accomplished.

I celebrated surviving my double by having lunch with a good friend at my family’s favorite lunch spot, Charlotte’s BakerEatery. I had a delicious salad with a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread.

My little girl at Charlotte's a couple of years back. Aw, she still had her baby teeth!

I even went crazy and had a chocolate chip cookie. I earned it.

Challenging 60 days

Day 48. I feel more positive today than I have in a week. Despite having a conversation with my husband last night about whether 60 days of yoga was really a good idea (we both agreed that it might not be), I still had a great class this morning.

I understand the theory behind doing Bikram every day, for instance getting deeper into the postures to reap more health benefits. I know that I’ll be proud and thankful for this challenge on March 6. But my tired, aching body is seriously questioning if I’m really built to do this. Am I too broken to handle the physical intensity of this challenge?

I started thinking about the thousands of people who take on Bikram challenges all over the world every year. There are 60 day, even 100 day, challenges. I’m sure there are people way more broken than me and my Doppler taking this on, right?

There have to be which means it somehow works and I’ll be just fine.

Last fall when I began flirting with the idea of starting Bikram full time, I stumbled upon this article from 2010. It’s a good snapshot of what it’s like to dive into the deep end of Bikram, the 60 day challenge.

Can You Transform Your Whole Life in 60 Days?

By Paige Williams
O, The Oprah Magazine  |  From the January 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Paige Willaims doing Bikram yoga
Photo: Lauren Greenfield/Institute
She’s 80 pounds overweight, divorced, out of work, and deeply in debt. She needs a physical and spiritual overhaul. Can 60 days in a Bikram hot-yoga studio really undo years of damage?

The teacher wants me to make a Japanese ham sandwich. To my knowledge, I’ve never seen a Japanese ham sandwich, but as I understand it, I’m to stand bent with my face to my shins and chest to my thighs in perfect vertical union—I am the sandwich.I would say I look more like a jelly roll. My flabby abdomen won’t let my forehead anywhere near my knees, and my legs tremble as I try contorting myself into a position my body neither recognizes nor endorses. The goal is to concentrate on stretching and breathing, but I’m fixating on my unpedicured toenails. And the neon paleness of my legs. And the fact that I probably should have shaved.

The students around me are tanned and toned and very nearly nude. Every body glistens. We’re in a Bikram yoga studio, after all, where the heat is set to 105 degrees and the humidity to 40 percent, to facilitate flexibility. The men wear nothing but shorts; the women rock hot pants and halters. Because I’d rather lick the sweat-soaked carpet than bare my wretched flesh, I have on the hot-yoga equivalent of a snowsuit: calf-length sweatpants, a jog bra, and a T-shirt. I’m huffing harder than a serial killer. And we’re only on posture number one.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Paige-Williams-60-Day-Makeover#ixzz1n9hyN6np

Keeping it real

Day 47. Right now it’s taking entirely too long to make sure this really is day 47. I’m honestly having trouble. All the days are running together!

I realize I’ve been a bit of a “Debbie downer” lately. I’m sorry guys. I’m just keepin’ it real.

It’s hard to say that without thinking of Chappelle’s Show: When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

I’m feeling so burnt out right now. Luckily, I’m not alone. As I laid on my mat waiting for the 6 a.m. class to begin, I overheard some familiar sentiments.

Some students were lamenting the doubles they still had to do. Others were trying to figure out when and how they were getting to class while trying to take trips out of town. One of the girls mentioned how glad she was to have gotten her doubles out of the way at the beginning of the challenge, while she was still fresh and excited. That was a brilliant idea. I have to do a double this week to make up for missing class last Saturday (oops!). I’m going to need a serious pep talk to make that happen.

I practiced next to a friend yesterday who mentioned that she was feeling broken right along with me. We let out simultaneous sighs when the lights came on to start class that night. It’s nice to have partners in the “pain.”

There’s no way I could’ve made it through this challenge alone. To have the entire studio behind us, cheering us the entire way, has made all the difference. We’re so close!