The 30 Day Debate…what do you think?

Last week, teacher Paul Askew created quite the stir and debate on Facebook about the 30 Challenge. Here is a peek at what went down. OMB wants to know what you think about the 30 Day Challenge…

The comment that started it all:

Paul : I was just pondering the 30 day challenge. Isn’t it 30 DAYS? Not 30 classes? So, shouldn’t it be 30 consecutive days — not 30 classes whenever I can fit them in? It’s not called the “30 Class Challenge” after-all!

Summer: A purist. I like it!

Carola: Yeah, I have actually ALWAYS wondered that too

Annie: Actually, Senior Semantics, the terminology is “30 classes in 30 days” now shortened to be called the “30 day challenge.”

So that means if you have to take care of something or you need a day off to rest your body you can do 2 classes, or 3, in one day to make up if you like, which is also a good experience. Where in my hatha yoga practice do I learn to go deeper and get more meaning by not too rigid? Every posture, every day…

Andy: It’s all yoga…

Hallie (BYB teacher):That’s how I do it, Paul. But really, as a teacher its next to impossible.

Dana (BYB Owner): Impossible is nothing!! I like your words Paul. The real deal!

Paul: I hear excuses! 🙂 A day off means you are not going to get the same benefits as if practicing every day. Part of the challenge is to find time each day to accommodate the 90 minute practice. It is sort of being rigid. But isn’t Bikram Yoga rigid? All the same poses all the time in an exact and precise way following instruction created by our Guru. Other Hot Yoga’s were founded partly because Bikram will not allow a posture to be modified. You fit your body to the yoga, not the yoga to the body.

Annie: Actually, that’s the only problem with Bikram yoga, the rigidity. Yoga is supposed to have structure, but not be rigid. As is your yoga practice on the mat, so is your mind off the mat. Peace…


Diane Ducharme puts it the right way: The series is like a prescription. The postures the medication and the dialogue the way you are to take it. Just like medication, if you take it incorrectly, it is not going to work.

You may feel worse.

Thanks to our western attitude, we don’t want to do things the right way – just like doing the 30 day challenge in 26 days because I did two doubles last week. Our lack of interest in doing anything “hard” got the yogi’s of India to “simplify” the postures to make them more appealing to us.

We now have X number of ways to do triangle just so our hips don’t hurt as much. I like Bikram because it forces us to do something that may be very uncomfortable and unpleasant — and just do it, Boss. To me, 30-Day challenges were created to make us westerners feel better in front of others, not ourselves. Just like the belt/grading system in martial arts were created for us to feel like we are accomplishing something for the years leading up to a black belt.

Mark: I agree Paul, if you take a day off that takes away the whole point.

Hallie:I completely agree with you.The hard way is the right way. Diane’s idea of the prescription is very helpful I think. No money, no honey! And I think the more rigid our physical practice is, the more flexible you can be mentally, and in other areas.


It’s 30 days. So if you miss a day, you gotta start over. If you do a double or triple on one day, then good for you. Makes you stronger, but it does not count for 2 or 3 days. I’m such a hard ass 🙂

What do you think??



Filed under Bikram Yoga Centre, Bikram Yoga East, Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Bikram Yoga Issues, Bikram Yoga Red Tree, Bikram Yoga Toronto, Q & A, Yoga Challenge

13 responses to “The 30 Day Debate…what do you think?

  1. Yvetta

    30 day challenge = the challenge is to practice yoga every day for 30 days !!!!!!!! Skipping day and doing doubles should be different challenge.

  2. While I agree that the goal in any challenge should be to do one class each day, in the modern world that is simply too difficult. Unless you are willing to guide yourself through a silent class or to the Bikram CD. With my work, some days start at 7am and don’t end till 9pm. That makes it impossible for me to get to a class offered at any of the available times at my local studio.

    I think “30 classes in 30 days” is perfectly fine to follow. If you have to double/triple up on one day, so be it. It’s better than no yoga.

    • Babyyogini

      I agree with the Missus. I also believe it’s not about doing things “the right way” as Paul said. There is no right way nor should there be. Every body is different. It’s about doing the yoga and transforming one’s own mind, body and spirit. If doubling up and then missing a “day” keeps the mind positive and attuned to the Universe (and still feeling a part of the challenge), then that is “right” for that person. I have personally done a 30-day challenge where I went for 30 days and never doubled up. However, that’s not to say I was “right” and someone who doubles up is wrong.

      And in the spirit of this semantic debate, it’s 30 classes not 30 days.

      Semantics is fun.

  3. sophistiphunk

    i do agree with paul.
    part of the process for me, actually a huge part of it, has been getting myself to the studio every single day.
    it’s been a bumpy ride, but working through it has revealed so much about what my body can handle.
    that being said, i am in between jobs and have the luxury of focusing on myself right now. my work schedule at was so ridiculous that i literally only had time for yoga on the weekends. i completely understand and take my hat off to those trying to fit 30 classes in 30 days, a commendable (albeit slightly different) challenge.

  4. cedric

    love this site, well done.

  5. HAHA… I love this!!

    Yoga is a prescription. No question. So how do prescriptions work? You’re supposed to take them every day, sure, but often if you miss a dose, they tell you to just take the missed dose as soon as possible (though of course this depends on the drug.) Daily is ideal, but life happens.

    My personal goal for MY challenges is usually to do consecutive days. I think that’s the ideal. But just like in Bikram’s books, there’s the “IDEAL” and then there’s the “REAL.” For students, especially new ones who have never done this sort of thing before, I think it’s really helpful to give them the “loophole” of the occasional make-up class. That way they can still experience SUCCESS instead of feeling that they’ve FAILED if something comes up – kid gets sick, car breaks down, work runs late – and they’re forced to miss a day. Give the students the best chance of success so that it is an overall positive experience, because then they will want to do it again and again, and they will benefit more and more!

    (By the way, I wonder if Diane’s ears are burning yet…. from practicing at her studio, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mind if people miss days as long as they KEEP COMING BACK! For plenty of people, even 3 or 4 classes a week, on a regular basis, is GREAT. They will still get tons of benefit.)

  6. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up «

  7. Andrew Moniz

    A 30 day challenge is a 30 day challenge!

    30 days of consecutive Yoga.

    I have successfully completed two 30 day challenges in my time, halfway through the second one I decided to rebel and take a day off. The next day I did a back to back double. I think I was just a masochist and wanted to know what it felt to do one (this was WAY before teacher training.) I remember during half moon Jana; my FIERCE Aussie instructor said to me “Andrew, I know you are doing a double. But you still have to ACTUALLY do a double!”

    Ya… I was slacking.

    A 30 day challenge is a 30 day challenge! 30 days of consecutive yoga! Thats the whole point. But if I learned anything from that day it was that I could do anything, and that doing a double back to back is something I did not want to do ever again!

    Since becoming a certified Bikram Yoga instructor things have changed, I tried doing a 30 day challenge with Bloor and Red Tree last October. I sucessfully completed a 25 day challenge and two of those classes were a double back to back with Nikki at Bloor on Wednesday evening. I could of never asked for a better teacher, but it reminded me of how hard double back to backs are!

    Yes, a 30 dy challenge is a 30 day challenge and I agree with Paul, but lets not forget that sometimes our lives take over and make up classes are a tough challenge as well! The things that go through your mind…

    Thinking… task at hand, task at hand….

  8. 1. Just like the practice itself, I think it is all about intent. I’ve busted my butt every class for the last two years trying to touch my forehead to my frakkin’ knee. It hasn’t happened for me yet. Does that mean I haven’t been doing yoga? I don’t think so. Similarly, when doing a challenge your intent should be to go every day. Sometimes, real life/illness, interfere’s with that. If you need to do a double to make up for that I don’t think it invalidates your challenge.

    2. If it is physically possible, but you decide to take a day off because you are sore or tired or hung over or competing for the yoga cup or you run into “the one” on the street and ask him/her to coffee and end up chatting and missing your class then that is cheating (and he/she is NOT the one, since the One would never make you sacrifice your challenge).

    3. I thought the original recipe called for 60 days? So merely doing 30 days is…

  9. iloveyoga.

    paul- you seem to be an expert in the 30 day challenge … how you have you done???????????

  10. I have a different, and probably unpopular, view on this topic. I have been practicing for 15 months and have not done challenge, nor do I intend to. I have considered it a few times, but when reviewing my schedule and travel days for work, it’s just not feasible even if I can make time to visit studios in other cities (which I make a point to do). For me, engaging in the challenge makes the yoga become something I have to do and I want to keep it in the realm of something I want to do. My perspective might also be different because I am on a rowing team and so I dedicate a lot of time to that sport as well. You may be appalled to hear that yoga is sort of cross training for me. Of course, now that I have discovered it, I don’t know how I got by without it because I work out all of the tightness and I produce during a rowing workout. To do a challenge, I would have to give up rowing for that period of time – more or less – and I’m just not ready to do that. I am decidedly NOT a purist.

  11. thinkofit

    Bikram recommends we practice his yoga everyday! so whats the point of a 30 day challenge…..should be 365!

  12. CLE

    I would do the 30 day challenge, and I think I will starting September 1, when I will be able to afford to renew my membership. But my local studio charges extra to enter into the “official” 30 day challenge, just so I can get my name put up on the wall if I complete the challenge. Why would I do this, if all the rewards are supposed to be personal? Seems pretty anti-yoga to me.

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