On Sundays, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago.
Today I am happy to feature a second guest post from The Annoyed Yogi (follow on Twitter at The Annoyed Yogi). Today’s post talks about The Annoyed Yogi’s 30-Day challenge and all the insights gleaned from it. Enjoy!
OK OK let’s cut to the chase. You want to do a 30 day challenge? You want your picture on the internet and a little piece of paper covered in gold stars? You want people to think you are sexy? Here’s how in just a few easy steps!!! *satisfaction not guaranteed!*
Before you Begin
Do your research on studios. Google and Yelp are a thing. Check them out to find reviews and information on your studio. If some guy died in a class last week in the hot room you might want to investigate a different place to practice.
Talk to your teachers. If you are just starting this journey make sure you tell your teachers your goal and listen to their advice. They have more experience than you do at this, or at least you hope so. If not you might want to getyour money back
Go buy all the best Yoga gear on the market! Seriously, if your mat costs less than $100 you might want to rethink being a Yogi! Make sure that you have brand name everything, because let’s be honest you want to be taken seriously don’t you?
The reality is that it doesn’t matter what you wear to class, just go. No one cares about the clothes you wear or the mat you use. If you think for one second they do you are being stupid. This isn’t high school and you aren’t rocking LA Gears anymore. You can do any kind of yoga with a cheap mat and an old bath towel. That’s it.
Get a good water bottle. When I say good water bottle I mean one that is meant to stand up to extreme temperatures. Not a plastic one. It needs to keep cold liquid cold and hot liquid hot. I found a 24oz bottle that does exactly that for only $12 at the store. These things can get really pricey so shop around. Drinking hot water in the middle of class sucks many asses.
Splurge on good clothing! Dry fit everything. If you are a guy you need shorts or, if you are a chubster like me, you might want to rock a T-shirt. I don’t have the body of a god…yet. I generally have on compression shorts and a t-shirt. Gym shorts tend to get in the way and become a distraction. And being in a Bikram class can be intimidating when you consider all the tight, lean, sexy bodies in little to no clothing. However, don’t feel obligated to conform. Do what is right for you. I’m down to a B-cup, so I still need a shirt.
DRINK MORE WATER!!! This is the #1 thing that you will read as you come across blogs and websites dedicated to Bikram. Drink more water. Period. For myself, the first thing I did was take coffee out of my diet and substituted it with tea. You have to be hydrated to do Bikram. This is not a suggestion. You want to be around 64ozs a day, I would recommend more. You should be drinking enough water that you could bring down the Titanic. Too soon? Iceberg…Water… Same thing…
Consider what you are eating. The fat kid in me loves gummy bears, chocolate cake, pizza, and beer. Just like the fat kid in you. You don’t want to get picked last for dodgeball do you? To accomplish 30 days you have to make a mindful effort to eat better. Try to get rid of processed foods and sugary garbage. You can tell if you are eating right in class because of the energy and ability you have to kick ass.
Stop Smoking and Drink Less. This is self-explanatory. Need nicotine? Get an E-cig. That’s what I do. Need a drink? Wait 30 days you alcoholic!
Shut up! I’m being serious. Shut the hell up. There is no reason to talk and make friends during class. You get 90 minutes a day where you get to turn off your brain and close your mouth. Take advantage of it. Come into class and focus on you. Save the conversation for after you are done. If you are the person that talks during class you’re being an asshole so stop it. No one cares about little Timmy’s homerun. Seriously!
Get your mind right. I can’t stress this enough. Doing Bikram requires your full attention. You have to let everything else that has happened during the day stay outside of the hot room. Girlfriend broke up with you? That sucks. Didn’t get the promotion you thought you would? Life goes on. Left the stove on? I hope you have good home owners insurance.
These things are all still going to be there after your 90 minutes. Take this time for you. Let it all go. Focus on you. Focus on becoming a better practitioner. Find your happy place. Fly Peter, Fly.
Listen. You will hear this a million times “With your happy smiling face.” Who smiles during Bikram?!? You hopefully. Your teacher is your guide during your 90 minutes. They may sound robotic but you will find that the automated lingo will become your guide. If you pay attention to every single word that comes out of your teachers mouth, you will be amazed. Sometimes they will even make jokes. You can laugh, it’s ok. Well, that’s if it’s a funny joke. If not, don’t feel obligated
Breathe! This is the most challenging part of Bikram, and over the course of your thirty days you will find that this is where you struggle the most. At least for me I did. It was a pain learning to breathe in and out of my nose without using my mouth. Breathing is also the key to you being able to control your heart rate. I am amazed sometimes that I can slow my heart down in less than 5 breaths. Concentrate on your breathe Daniel San.
Don’t check out peoples asses. This is pointed to the male species. Yes, it’s hard and yes it’s very tempting especially when you are outnumbered 4-1. Yes, we are disgusting animals that can’t help it! You have to stay focused on yourself in that room 100% of the time. Like a girl’s ass? Tell her after class like a gentleman. This isn’t a gym so you probably won’t be bringing home any hot yoga girls. Focus on yourself.
Don’t be afraid to fall “They’re all going to laugh at you!!!!” Ok they aren’t I swear. If you fall in class and someone laughs at you, punch them in the face. You have my permission. It’s karma.
The truth is that being inside of the hot room during class is surreal. You feed off the energy of everyone around you. You will discover that these people are the most encouraging and supportive people you may ever meet. The hardest part of falling is getting back up. This doesn’t mean you may fall to the ground; you may fall out of posture. Just try again. Over time you will build your strength and endurance.
Don’t down your water! Want to instantly feel like vomiting? Lesson learned the hard way on this one. I was having a rough class and felt completely dehydrated one day when I wasn’t feeling well and drank my entire water bottle before floor serious. I felt like I had just gorged at a buffet. It was not enjoyable and ruined my class.
Some classes will suck! It’s that simple. Sometimes you are the king, and sometimes you are the peasant. Don’t beat yourself up. Around days 8-14 I felt amazing and was nailing everything. I was walking tall being the big man on campus. Day 15 was the worst class I had in my 30 days. I was tired and had been fighting a cold and didn’t want to be there. I spent a lot of time on my back that night (That’s what she said).
A 30 day challenge really is a roller coaster and you have to acknowledge that as long as you give it 100% with the body that you brought into the room that day then nothing else matters. Trying this challenge is not easy and some days you will not want to be there. Do the best that you can and Do not beat yourself up!
-One day at a time
-One class at a time
-One posture at a time
-One breathe at a time
Embrace what you have just done. Everyday after every class you need to take a moment and say thank you to yourself. Don’t get all Kanye with it. Just appreciate yourself for what you have just done. It is not easy and you deserve your own gratitude.
90 minutes is a long time to sweat. I weighed myself before class and after class one night to see the difference. Now this obviously is water weight, but I lost 6 pounds in those 90 minutes – almost an entire Victoria Secret model! After class is over you have to rehydrate. You need electrolytes and you need to shower and recollect your thoughts. You may want to consider an electrolyte supplement. I use Ultima and it helps a ton.
Eat something . Making sure that you are eating well throughout the course of your challenge is imperative. That is why I am mentioning it again. If you want pizza or crap food, by all means allow yourself a cheat day once a week or wait until the end of your challenge. If you eat shit everyday, you will practice like shit everyday.
Listen to your body Bikram is a physical activity. Doing a challenge will strain you mentally and physically. It is not easy. You have to take care of yourself. Make sure that you pay attention to things that ache and hurt. Also realize the difference between injured and hurt. If you are injured you need to stop and take time away to heal even if it’s day 29. If you are hurt then proceed with caution and maybe sit out certain postures that are uncomfortable. Around day 22 I had a flair up of an old knee injury . I knew that I needed to take it a bit easier on myself and by respecting the knee I was able to finish my 30 days. I let up where I felt it was needed. Don’t try to be Superman
Icy Hot and Cold Compress Thank God for ICY HOT, I couldn’t have made my 30 days without it. It literally saved my life. You will hurt, you will ache, you will hate life. Throw on an ice pack or two, hit it with some ICY HOT before bed, and wake up smelling like SHAQ. Your cuddle buddy might hate you but you’ll thank yourself!
Laundry is a must You are going to do more laundry during your 30 day challenge than you have in your entire life. After every class you will be drenched in sweat. Every night you will have to wash your clothes and your mat. Don’t be that nasty person that doesn’t wash their mat, we can smell it and we will judge you…you filthy human being.
Celebrate You set a goal. Reward yourself. You made it. Thirty days is hard. For some it’s impossible and may never happen. If it doesn’t for you that’s OK! If you make it than you are obviously a badass and you deserve to recognize your accomplishment. Tell your friends and family. Send Kanye a tweet. Write a blog post like you know what the hell you are talking about! Do something to thank yourself for being amazing.
The Annoyed Yogi has been practicing Bikram for just a short period of time but has been a master of sarcasm since birth. Lover of standing bow pose and hater of most things.