My 7 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

I created a challenge for myself at the start of February. I needed something to shake things up and kick my own butt into gear. I decided to got to a Bikram yoga class every day for seven days. Bikram is not my yoga style of choice. Vinyasa yoga is what I regularly practice and what I teach. It was not an easy seven days. There was a snow storm on day three. An icy rain/sleet storm on day five. I got sick. I got my period accompanied by the worst constant nausea, cramping, bloating, and fatigue I have ever had. My super sensitive skin broke out into horribly painful hives from the constant sweating and accidental usage of a soap that was too harsh. Basically everything that could have been a viable excuse for not going to class arose during seven days. I unwaveringly went to the studio, faced myself, and sweated it all out daily.

During the seven days I came face to face with myself, literally, there are mirrors lining Bikram yoga studios, everyday. Pieces of myself I haven’t had to confront in a long time surfaced. I am very competitive. I have very little compassion for myself. I am a recovering perfectionist who suddenly became a full-blown perfectionist unable to keep it in check. And here’s the beauty and struggle of having to look into my own eyes for 90 minutes everyday, I had to come to some sort of acceptance of myself just as I was in each moment. I couldn’t run from the pieces of myself I didn’t like. I also couldn’t run from or deny the pieces of myself I do like. I was face to face with all of me, not just the pieces I chose to acknowledge or confront. Doing the same poses in the same order every day might sound monotonous, but it is actually the farthest thing from that and added yet another layer of having to confront myself over and over again. I realized how impermanent everything is, the physical, mental, and emotional in constant flux from moment to moment. I had to be with myself in moments I perceived as being highly successful and in moments I perceived as being utter failures often in rapid succession. There I was again, stuck with all of me.

My personal challenge ended two days ago. I took yesterday off from practicing any form of yoga. I will get back onto my mat today and re-engage in my vinyasa practice. I have plans to go to a Bikram class tomorrow. Truth is, as hard as it all was, I physically feel better than I have in a while and I do not want to run from the pieces of myself that I do not like. I need to be brave enough to face them without fighting them so I can figure it all out. It is also really cold and it has been a long winter, to be enveloped in the warmth of the Bikram studio every day felt like a physical sigh of relief. I started my challenge wanting to shake things up. I guess I didn’t quite bargain for things to be shaken up as much as they were, I was expecting more of a mild stir.

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About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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