I did it!

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Last night I completed the Bikram challenge! 60 consecutive days of Bikram yoga.

The strangest thing about finishing the challenge is that now it seems ordinary to go to yoga every single day. I do remember that five or six months ago I thought that 3 or 4 days in a row was the maximum I could do without needing a day off. Obviously, that's not true. I also used to think I was maintaining a regular practice with 4 or 5 days total a week. I think my standards have now been raised. I know I can do more.

What else happened during the challenge?

My yoga improved. I gained strength, balance, and flexibility. In yoga as in other exercise, I've found that you improve for a while, then you hit a plateau, then eventually start improving again. Doing the challenge bumped my practice up to another level. I'm still very aware of all the poses I struggle with, but I know that overall my practice improved.

My mind improved. I've been a happier and nicer person over the past 60 days. More importantly -- I've had no days of full on depression, which for me is pretty significant. I think I've been calmer in my responses to things. Setting such a clear priority, and making sure that if nothing else happens, I at least get to yoga, helped organize my day, and made me feel that I was accomplishing something. I've been struggling with meeting my goals the past couple of years, and so this feels good.

My body improved. I took my measurements on February 1st, when the challenge started -- I'm glad I did, because now I have concrete evidence of the visible physical changes. My clothes fit differently, and people in yoga class commented on what they saw. But since I live in my body every day, it's easy to become accustomed to it very quickly, and doubt the reality of the change. So, by the numbers: I didn't lose any pounds, but I did lose inches. Chest 3, waist 2 1/2, hips 2, thigh 1.