As January gets rolling, many new and regular yogis are getting started on their New Year’s resolutions whether it is by making new commitments to their practice or starting 30, 60 or 90 Day Challenges. To help all you yogis get inspired and in the mood, OMB brings you coverage of the most consistently successful challenge in Toronto (perhaps even Canada): The Bikram Yoga Forest Hill 30 Day Challenge.
Each time director Janice Guertin throws up a 30 Day Challenge, her students rush to sign up. This past November, over 65 yogis signed their name to take part in BYFH’s bi-annual challenge. Some of them chose to sign up because they wanted to see a change in their lives, bodies or well being, others wanted to step up and challenge themselves, but all were looking forward to the wonderful sense of community and excitement that fills the studio each time Janice throws the event.
OMB went to their fun and exciting 30 Day Challenge Party to see what all the buzz was about and to chat with some of the students who made it through their 30 Days.
For most of use, doing a 30 Challenge once in a year is enough, but regular BYFH student Beth couldn’t resist putting her name up for a second time this year. “I just had to put my name up. I knew I would be at the studio, everyone would be talking about it and I wanted to join that buzz that energy.”
Even though this was Beth’s second challenge doesn’t mean it was an easier endeavor. “You think you’ll know what to expect the second time around but you really don’t because you are in a different stage of life,” said Beth.
Her second challenge wasn’t an easy one, stomach problems that arose half-way through meant that Beth showed up to class with less than three hours of sleep, in pain and uncomfortable. But she decided nothing would stop her from showing up at the studio, which she calls her ‘safe space.’
“There is no cell phone, there is no email, no one can find me. For 90 minutes it’s an escape, from whatever is going on in the rest of your day and your world,” says Beth.”You’re a mom, you’re a daughter, you’re a wife, but for those 90 minutes, you’re not on call, it’s your 90 minutes and that’s special.”
Edward and Anna
Bikram says that the couple who does yoga together stays together, so we couldn’t resist asking Edward and Anna, a married couple doing the challenge together what they thought of this adage.
Edward had never done a Bikram Yoga class before signing his name up on the board, and signed up to spend time with his wife and challenge himself. Anna and Edward did every single one of their 30 classes together. Here’s what the couple had to say about their experience:
OMB: What was that first class like, Edward?
Edward: I was nervous. I hadn’t been working out, I was getting into a 30 day exercise routine and I didn’t know if I could make it.
Anna: He thought that yoga wasnt a workout, and I wanted to show him that it is challenging and it is a work out.
OMB: Do you think it’s a workout now?
Edward : Oh yeah, I was sore for a month.
What was it like practicing together everyday?
Edward: It was easier to share the responsibility, because you know you’re busy throughout the day and that and at least we were coming together.
Anna: We would push each other if one of us didn’t feel like coming so it was good to have a partner. He would make me come when I didn’t want to and vice versa.
OMB: Bikram says the couple that practices together stays together, what do you think of that ?
Anna: It is good to have something in common that we could do outside the daily routine of work and chores. My favorite part is that it is something healthy. Everyone can go out for a drink and get hammered and party, but this is something that is actually good for your body.
Edward: I hear men say in the change room that they wish their wives would like the yoga, I feel lucky that Anna likes it and we can do it together.
OMB: And advice to other yogi couples wanting to practice together?
Edward: Do it, you get to the end and you think, “Oh, that was easy.”
Anna: It’s really great to do it as a couple, it’s more reason to spend time together.
Shaquille and Agatha
This mother and daughter duo signed up for the challenge together. While Shaquille’s schooling commitments left her unable to finish the challenge, her mom Agatha persevered through the 30 Days. Shaquille managed to do more classes than she ever thought she could do, and mom managed to surprise herself during her journey. Here’s what Agatha had to say about her 30 Days:
OMB: Why did you sign up for the challenge?
Agatha: I signed up for it to see if I could do it, I didn’t know if I would be able to make it because of time restrictions and work. I worked around it and even snuck out work. I made do, I made sure I woke up earlier in the morning to get dinner ready so that I didn’t have to do it in the evening
What was the most challenging and rewarding part of the 30 days?
Agatha: For me it was some of the poses: bow pose, tree and toe-stand. My muscles just didn’t want to stretch the way that postures are.
The poses look difficult so it was almost like I was restricting myself but I just kept trying and trying but with all the instructors helping me I finally got to toes stand. I could actually put my fingers to the floor.
I thought, ‘Oh my god, I don’t believe I did it. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, no I couldn’t have done it! Then Gloria, the instructor, said to me, ‘Agatha you did it!’’ I was really excited.
I finally felt a part of the class.
OMB: What advice do you have to other people doubting whether they can do the challenge?
Agatha: Just do it put your mind to it. I’ve always been one of those people who has been stressed, running everywhere, worried and now i just tell my daughter, It doesn’t matter. It changed my whole frame of mind, if I can do it then anyone can do it, I know they can do it.
Arriving everyday on her blue electric scooter, Anne is one of BYFH’s most devout yogis showing up everyday to do her yoga, challenge or no challenge.
OMB: What has been your favorite part of the challenge?
Anne: It was a good camaraderie, seeing the same faces every day. Its become a real community.
OMB: What was the biggest challenge?
Anne: Finishing it, because I had to do some doubles.
OMB: What compels you to practice everyday?
What I like about Bikram Yoga is that somedays you can have a really great class but the next day you have a whole different experience. So it is exciting to go into each class and see how you perform on each day, I find that both challenging and exciting. Although you are doing the same 26 postures every day, every day is different which keeps it very lively and invigorating.
OMB: What advice do you have to new yogis?