Last year, I made an agreement with myself to continue to treat my body with respect, take my time seriously and love every ounce of my frame. By continuously practicing these simple principles, I have witnessed an amazing transformation – not only within, but also in my outer appearance.
One of my many goals as I eased into this new year, was to begin incorporating the ‘benefits of Bikram Yoga’ back into my wellness routine.
I once practiced this form of exercise more than four years ago, however, after returning home to the U.S., from living in Bali, I found myself recovering from a horrid motorbike accident. One so severe, that it severed the the tendon leading to my big toe, thusly throwing off my ability to balance my gate – let alone fully engage in movements that once allowed me to freely traverse the world.
That said, I found myself gaining a substantial amount of excess weight. In addition to taking far longer than I thought to heal from this injury. However, I’m thankful for each day I’m able to walk and overjoyed at the days I can sometimes skip.
Before beginning the “unlimited eight day introductory special” featured at a local yoga studio. I discovered that I was only eight pounds away from my goal and 13 lbs. away from my ideal weight. This realization gave me yet another goal to work towards over the course of the upcoming classes.
Furthermore, many of us have heard the expression, that it takes seven days to break a habit. Well, I chose to flip this mindset on it’s head, and instead, challenged myself to engage in actively participating in this beneficial practice for eight days in a row.
In doing this, my goal was to not only establish muscle memory, but also mindfulness. In the sense that I began to effectively organize my day due to gearing up for my newly established evening routine…
To the best of my ability, I took my supplements (which include a multivitamin) daily, hydrated throughout the day with an abundance of water. In addition to coconut water, and my two kettles of ginger tea. Along with ensuring that I properly nourished myself, at least four hours prior to the start of each session. Admittedly, there was one time that I failed to do so, and ate three boiled eggs an hour & a half (½) before; which nearly led to me causing a scene. Though a valuable lesson was learned that day – never test timing.
Over the course of this past week, some of the benefits that I have begun to notice are in relation to my expanded breathing ability, flexibility (or range of motion), improved circulation, increased stamina, staying present i.e. focused, improved posture & balance, stronger core, restful sleep, and toned muscles; which resulted in weight loss.
I must admit that I found myself looking forward to heading off to strike a few poses and sweat it out for upwards of 90 minutes at Hot Yoga Olympia. On some days, I felt as if I were radiating heat waves of energy after stretching out my muscles and releasing the strains of stress from the days events.
After my fourth class in a row, I noticed streams of steam wafting from my body as I was putting my socks & shoes on. It was like looking at a human version of hot chocolate, and tickled me beyond reason.
In one particular class, I later learned from the instructor, that the temperature in that day’s class was 111°. Which was fitting, given it was the 11th day of the new year. After becoming aware of this, it fortified my new found belief that I could indeed persevere through immense obstacles, and on that day, it was the heat of a thousand suns that I overcame.
Now mind you, one does not need to push themselves beyond their instinctual limits. At times, even I found myself having to take a moment of rest on the mat in between poses – especially in my first two classes as I was learning to acclimate to the range of heat.
Before you begin, you’ll need the basics in order to participate…a yoga mat, large (beach sized) towel, breathable attire that allows for a full range of motion, and a 28 ounce or bigger water bottle. Which will allow you to hydrate yourself throughout, in order to replenish the body of the liquids it’s lost during this endeavor.
This video discusses and demonstrates some of the various 26 postures and two breathing exercises that comprise the ‘benefits of Bikram yoga’.
Additionally, feel free to click on the link in the description box of the photo below. It provides additional ample information on the exact benefits you’ll receive as you progress through the range of these positions in this practice of yoga.
In this series of selfies, I ventured to capture the visual impact each session had on my overall appearance. As you’ll note from these images, I did my best to fully invest & engage my body throughout each class and I believe this clearly shows.
Throughout this eight day intensive exercise experience, I made certain to source healthy ingredients to fuel my temple; which also supplied me with the necessary minerals to sustain the vast amounts that I released during those sweat sessions in the studio.
Featured below are but a few examples of how I’ve been incorporating various plant based foods into my daily dietary intake. Furthermore, the nutrients in these meals have greatly aided in assisting me to maintain the endurance necessary for the active lifestyle I have returned to leading.
Before I close this blog post, I must extend a measure of thanks to, Anatole & Margot, for having established a holistic hot yoga studio in the capitol of Washington State. The past eight days was exactly what I needed to ease into a restful & relaxing weekend.
Lastly, I’m truly looking forward to continuing to improve upon my personal union with this unique form of self-care in future classes throughout the years to come.
Here’s to staying focused & intentional about my plans, path and purpose in 2018.