If you’ve ever done a challenge, you probably know that your body goes through certain transformations on all sorts of levels (physical, mental, emotional – you name it). If you have never done a challenge, I would urge you to consider it. In Bikram, the standard challenges are 30, 60, and 100 days, but you don’t have to do it like that. The whole point of a challenge is to push yourself. This means that you can craft a challenge in a way that challenges you. This might mean practicing four days a week instead of three or coming to class 10-days in a row. Whatever pushes you is your challenge.
I’ve done one challenge, and it lasted for 66-days. It was supposed to be 60-days, but when I reached 60 days I realized I had six days left until I went on vacation so I kept on going. And even though it has been two years since I have done my challenge, there are some things I guess you just never forget – like how your body feels when you are doing a challenge.
The other day, I realized that my body had been doing some weird stuff in class. First, my triangle had gotten better on the first side. I was holding it either the entire time or close to it, and that never happens. But it kept happening day in and day out. Second, awkward was getting better, like way better. Not the whole things, but definitely the first and third parts. I was holding the first part for the entire time for all of first set and usually second set and, again, that never happens. The second part still stunk, but the third part was also looking stronger. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
The other thing is I was having some bad classes when we got down to the floor. If you’ve ever done a challenge, you might have experienced classes that were so difficult for no reason you could identify. My standing series would be pretty decent, and then I’d get on the floor and decide it was nap time. What the heck?
And then it dawned on me. I had been coming to class a lot, and I had not had a break in awhile. So I went and checked and learned that on the day in question I had come to class 22 days in a row. Without even thinking about it, without saying, “Hey, look at me! I’m doing a challenge!” I had come to class that much. Well, that probably explains all of the above, right?
I knew when I was going to be missing a day (life stuff) so I counted forward and learned that by the time I had to miss a class I would have come 29 days in a row. Dang it! That’s almost a 30-day challenge.
The thoughts that immediately went through my head were:
(a) I should totally rearrange my schedule so I can do that 30th day.
(b) I am not rearranging my schedule. I will just pull a double.
(c) I’m not even trying to do a challenge here. Why am I getting hung up on this 30-day thing?
Eventually I settled on C . I’m not doing a challenge. I’m just going to class. B was never really an option. I’m a purist when it comes to challenges. If I’m doing 30 days then that means I show up at least once a day for 30 days in a row. Doing doubles doesn’t mean I get to skip a day.
Once I realized I had been coming 22 days in a row, I relaxed into class. I was pretty proud of myself, and I was definitely seeing changes in my body for some of the postures. All of this just goes to show that coming to class as much as possible can have wonderful and interesting benefits. Going 30 days in a row doesn’t ultimately matter. Just going to class is what matters.