yoga challenge: 22/60

I started writing this post on Monday, when it was 20/60 -- which seemed like more of a round number, the one-third marker. But the challenge continues on...It's been a really great experience so far. I've been a regular Bikram student for about two years, and was up to four or five days a week as my regular routine. But doing it every day consecutively really has bumped my yoga up to another level. This practice really intensifies when you do consecutive classes -- the detoxifying aspects of the heat, the strength and flexibilty improvements all really build upon the previous day's class. My body is changing, really rapidly, even though I'd been practicing for a long while. I hadn't really expected those kind of results (loss of inches, visible changes) since I'm not a complete beginner.

One of the many things I like about Bikram is that we do the same sequence of poses every class. It's meditative and really helps me focus my attention inwards -- both towards the physical details of the poses and towards calming my monkey mind. Like a martial arts form, the Bikram series thoroughly works all the systems of the body in a healthful sequence that serves as a basic daily tuneup, correcting alignment problems, healing injuries, and strengthening the spine. One of the other benefits for both beginners and advanced students is that you can easily mark your progress: the same pose that caused difficulty three months before gets easier; a pose that you thought was easy gets more challenging as you learn its subtleties and improve your form. Definitely, the challenge has improved specific poses for me, like Toestand and Balancing Stick. Both of these were very difficult for me because of my bad ankle and so-so knees. But I've gained stability and strength around those joints and can really feel the difference.

I was tired for a couple of days around 8-9, but at this point I'm really feeling great. The yoga is not the hard part -- scheduling your day around it is. It's a 90 minute class, plus drive time and shower time -- about a 2 1/2 hour block all together. I'm lucky that my partner has been incredibly supportive, taking on some extra chores some days to make sure I can get to yoga.

It's been really great to have the support of people at my studio, too -- there's a wall where if you're doing a challenge, you have a chart where your progress is tracked. A star for every day.

I've never had an athletic goal before. And rarely have I had a goal and action plan that is so crystal clear: go to yoga. every day. that's all. It's really given me clarity and focus in the rest of my life. I'm always setting plans for reforming myself, and I'm sometimes moderately successful with them -- but I don't think I've ever managed to do something for 22 days straight. I'm hoping some of my success with this will carry over to other areas.