On Jan 17th I decided to do the 60 day Bikram hot yoga challenge at the newly opened Bikram Hot Yoga Center near my house in Fremont. When I went to register they asked me if I have done yoga before. And since I have been doing a few antics in the name of yoga for sometime I quite proudly (and with a bit of ego) said a yes with a big smile. I was in for a treat that would mercilessly steam my ego inside out in the first 20 minutes of my first 90 minutes session 🙂
My First Day of Yoga
On the first day as many of you might know it is not the postures that bring tears in your eyes but it is the heat; and you will know how important the temperature of the air you breath is, something I never realized before I got into the room. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. With a super human pride and ego in that 90 minutes the class transformed me into a mere human whose imperfections became evident but surmountable. I had read somewhere and from the instructors that don’t over exert and the goal the first few classes is to remain in the room. I posed, rested, wiggled, stayed still, opened my eyes wide. tried to lick my own sweat, take deep breathes and somehow managed to get through it. Once out of the class I felt it was the most strenuous 90 minutes I have ever had in my life and i think it was or may be one of those tests I did in 7th grade 🙂
My second Day of Yoga
The second day was not just a bit better than the first day it was way way better than the first day. My breathing in that hot room was way better than the first and I was able to complete the regime of postures without skipping any. Yes without skipping any. All postures were not in the best way but that was a great achievement and a feeling of accomplishment that made me go on. yes I did have a few more first days after that before I finished my 60 days 🙂
On one of the first 10 days of the Yoga
One day I had Chicken Biriyani for lunch. Not a bit but quite a bit and that day was unlike anything I had experienced. The first day of yoga seemed so better compared to this. The fullness of my stomach just did not allow me to stay in the room and do Yoga. I had to take rest after the standing sessions and lie in shavasana with the biriyani’s aroma without shame pricking me from inside as if I was being cooked for what I ate 🙂
I complete 30 days of continuous Yoga
That was a nice day. I had started seeing significant improvement to my postures and my belt had slipped two holes back on the buckle and some of the pants that were tight were becoming more wearable. I had also noticed that I had become more aware of what I ate. Heavy lunches were a ‘NO’ then on knowing that I have my session at 6:30 pm. I had finally started knowing what I was eating 🙂
Changes to my Diet
On the second day of Yoga I went and bought a $80 Nuter.Bullet that can make juices and I started having a big glass of fresh vegetable and fresh fruit juice mixed either with water or almond milk every day after the class. Having that at 8:30 PM after my class made my dinner. The breakfasts usually was the same egg whites and lunches became salad and soup or chapattis and some curry. Meat was in my daily diet and on and off I did indulge in a Biriyani. I used to have alcohol on a daily basis, may be 1 to 3 drinks depending on mood. I stopped that on the day I started Yoga and just had one shot of any of my favorites on friday and Saturday. one shot not more, and the day I had more than one I found the impact of it on my next day yoga. The interesting thing is I stopped wanting alcohol and there were some weekends I never drank because I just forgot that I drink.I should say my habits about food kind of changed without much effort. Finally I had become a social drinker that I claimed to be fooling myself and others for a very long time 🙂
Managing the Regime.
The biggest thing about hot yoga is that you sweat like your sweat pores just got a bit bigger. I mean sweat like you have never done before. The first day I wore my T shirt so I don’t expose what I have accumulated over the years. But the next day I decided to remove it because the heat was so much that I did not care. Apparently I was the one with the biggest bulk of all but that did not bother me. I would remove my glasses and then even I can’t see myself in the mirror. Initially I used to come home the same sweat drenched way till my kids and wife complained the nauseating smell in the car and at home. I started taking shower at the yoga center which I found was so more relaxing than driving sweaty and sticky. Initially I used to carry water bottle filled with ice cubes till it gave me a sore throat and I started using just cold water. It gets a bit warm towards end, but plays well for delicate throats. On one of the later days I found myself so exhausted, may be after 40 days of doing yoga and realized it was the lack of electrolytes. I then on started using the electrolyte substitute along with my water drinking a bit before the class and then through the class and that made a tremendous difference. Before the first day you think you are in control in a false way and then you feel you are completely lost and finally you find the right control in its true sense. The real control is in letting yourself go completely 🙂
As you know instructors at any yoga center have been trained by the book but I think the folks in my center are the best. I want to give a big thanks to all the instructors at the center who made it a great experience for me and I know I am going to continue this for a while now. Everyday is a new day in Yoga you have good days and bad days and so sometimes you feel some instructors like some posture more than others and some instructors are more lenient. Some days you feel some postures are taking longer, but it might all be in a mind and the mind plays games with you more often than you think it does 🙂 It was interesting to note that the instructors themselves are students and sometimes you see one of your instructor practicing his or her daily yoga next to you and while you go strong he or she skips a posture because that day they might not have felt that well, it makes you understand that no one competes with another person, you only better yourself. You push to your limit not someone else’s limit 🙂
I weighed 230 pounds on Jan 17th and I stopped looking at my weight after that and though I could feel some weight loss I refrained from standing on the scale. Wanted to leave that for the last day of my 60 day challenge. Today I weighed myself and I weigh 209 pounds. That is a 21 pounds down and it feels good. Weight is one transformation, but I think beyond weight it is that awareness of the body that made a difference. I don’t know if it made my body more sensitive to what I eat or I personally became aware of what goes inside. I still love everything I ate before but I guess I don’t eat it whenever I get it. 60 days did change a few things in me. The weight is the most easiest to be evident.
A feel of discipline
I have won many awards and accolades for being undisciplined in the most creative ways and never really felt bad about it though people close to me kind of hated that. But this 60 days helped me stick to a regime. I think after my first month of yoga and after I developed my sore throat I also started having nasal congestion and slight fever on a few days. The perfect blend to skip a day of yoga. But I somehow pulled myself into the class and got through the 90 minutes. It made a lot of difference because the fever slowly subsided and so did the sore throat and the nasal congestion. I still like the romanticism associated with indiscipline but I have seen the result of being disciplined 🙂
Message to Newbies
Try it and do the 60 day challenge it is good for you. It is kind of tough just on the first day and you will have more than 60 reasons to not do and more than 100 times you might want to just end it but something keeps you going. May be it is the group feeling, may be it is the fact that you sweat a lot and sweating also psychology makes you feel good. I am not sure about actual calories I burned every day. But I guess 21 pounds in 60 days is not bad.
The Yoga center I went to was Bikram Hot Yoga in Central Fremont