Category Archives: Yoga Challenge

Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice.

by Barbora Simek

Forgive me Bikram for I have sinned, it has been 6 years since my last yoga challenge.

I don’t really know how it happened.

Image

My bow pose and I, 2010.

When I returned from teacher training I couldn’t get enough of the practice. Yoga was my life. All I cared about was doing the standing splits, touching my forehead to my toes, eating better, hydrating  more and sleeping consistently.

I didn’t eat dairy, wheat or sugar. I didn’t go out. I practiced five or six days a week. I taught 12 classes a week, sometimes 14, I hung out at the yoga studio. I journaled about the things I learned about myself in class. I didn’t drink.

But I was 19 Bikram! Just a kid. And I hadn’t let myself be a kid. There I was, hyper-disciplined, making yoga my life when it hit me: I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it was like to dance till 5am. I wanted to follow other career paths. I wanted to eat wheat and dairy. I wanted to be friends with more than my water bottle and naturopath.

Soon, the desire to escape my self-imposed discipline grew so strong that I started crying an hour before class. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to judge myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to obsess about standing bow or the amount of sugar in my diet.

I wanted a bit of freedom.

I blamed the yoga.

It was foolish, Bikram, I know. But it was so easy to point a finger at the most consistent and disciplined thing in my life: my practice.

I began to resent my standing bow. I stopped trying in forward stretching. I danced till dawn. I ate dairy and wheat. I began skipping class. I stopped being disciplined.

Days, weeks, months went by. It took me 3 months to want to be in the yoga room again. Slowly, inconsistently, I started practicing again. I didn’t love the hot room anymore, I was still mad at the practice. But I was trying.

After another year it became clear that it wasn’t the yoga, but it was me.

I began to understand that I wasn’t being true to myself. I had forgotten that I practice so that yoga can enrich my life but not become my life. I didn’t want to be a career yogi, but a yogi with a career.

I forgot to honour that I was both the girl who loved dancing and the girl that loved working hard.

In a way, diving so deeply into the practice taught me the most valuable lesson of all: that we must all follow our own path and stay true to our spirit. You talk about it all the time Bikram. How yoga teaches us self realization. How our practice teaches us to like and love ourselves.

And so here I am nine years into my practice, about to turn 26.

For the first time I am ready to love both parts of me, the girl that loves to stay up dancing until 5am and the girl who loves to eat fresh salads and work on her standing bow.

So I am trying again. I am ready to welcome some discipline back into my life.

For 30 days, I am going to show up and try. I will still drink lattes and eat pastries but I will also dream of standing bow and touching my forehead to toes. Let’s see what we can make happen in 30 days.

See you in the hot room, Bikram.

Love,

Barb

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Filed under Bikram Yoga, Diary of a Yogi, Yoga Challenge

Diary of a Yogini: 7/60

Mira is a student and journalist from Bikram Yoga Centre in Toronto. Here she writes about her struggles on Day 7 of her 60 Day Challenge… enjoy.

by Mira Saraf

Guest Blogger Mira Saraf

It is sometime between the first savasana on the floor and the spine strengthening series that I feel the initial pangs of panic.

It is always the same.

Numbness teases my fingertips that have grown extremely icy in spite of the heat.

My heart starts to pound and I feel like laughing and crying simultaneously.

It is day seven of my 60-day challenge.

I have spent the day at the Distillery district on a class field trip, consumed two caffeinated beverages, a small (very small) sample of beer and brunch. Day seven will forever be the day that I wish that I had stayed back with my classmates to sample Mayan hot chocolate at the Soma Chocolatemaker than coming back up here to push my tired limbs in a room crammed with dripping strangers.

I start to breathe heavier, but become acutely aware that I may be distracting others around me so I try to keep it in. I always panic on this side of the room when it’s crowded. But I seem to forget this every class and put my mat down in the same spot.

As I pull my knee towards my chest I curse coffee, I curse alcohol, most of all I curse Eggs Benedict and stupid dehydrating hollandaise sauce.

I wonder why I thought this challenge was a good idea.

Then I quickly retract that thought.

This is progress, I tell myself, this is pushing myself to do something good for my mind and my body.

I stare pleadingly at the vents, praying for the click of the fan switch. As we move into spine strengthening, the air whirs to life, suddenly I feel invincible.

The air-conditioning is my rock, my prince charming, my knight in shining armor. It occurs to me that my dependence on the fan is slightly unhealthy, and I am a little relieved that nobody around me can read my random thoughts.

I sigh inside my head. I have so much to learn.

Cobra pose goes surprisingly well and I feel myself coaxing the fan to stay a little while. In spite of my mental murmurings the fan goes off half way through the next pose. My skin instantly heats to the point of burning but I am stronger now.

We are in fixed firm pose when I first feel the pinch on my shin. I examine it quickly as I come out of savasana and see the faint blue of a developing bruise. Where this came from I have no idea.

Isn’t yoga supposed to give you more balance? If so, then why do I continue to walk into hard objects without realizing. The bruise distracts me from the silence that is supposed to be in my mind.

I wonder briefly about dehydration and kidney stones.

A friend at work had kidney stones from too much yoga and not enough hydration. Could I have kidney stones? No bruises are something else, blood clots. Yes it’s true, I am in fact sitting here in the middle of half-tortoise diagnosing myself with blood clots.

“This is ridiculous,” I tell myself and try to silence my mind.

Finally, my efforts start to yield results. By camel my mind is calm and my body has accepted it’s fate. By the end of final savasana I dream of the electrolytes swishing down my parched mouth.

On the walk home it is cold, colder than it was earlier. The sun has set and I am heading home to Superbowl Sunday.

As I walk and the cold breath of winter clings to my legs below my tights, I realize that my muscles have softened and my body does not have carry that limp feeling of weakness I felt this morning.

My body is no longer fighting.

I realize that for once, my mind and body are one, in sync: pure, beautiful harmony.

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Filed under Bikram Yoga Centre, Diary of a Yogi, Guest Blog, Yoga Challenge

Community: Support your Bikram Bloggers

OMB has updated our link list to include other bloggers, here is our list of places you should check out! We are constantly looking for more great places to get more info, so please let us know if you know of places we should visit!!

Other Bikram Blogs

Lock The Knee

Juliana Olmstead aka thedancingj tells us all about her journeys through beginners, advanced and teacher training.

Hannah, just breathe

Hannah blogs beautiful and often poetic reflections on her Bikram practice.

YOGAtta EAT!

Lori Givens of Bikram Yoga Memphis blogs about healthy eating for yogis.

Noho Yoga

Bikram Yoga Teacher, Charlie Hubbard, blogs about the stories and knowledge he gains during his travels through the Bikram world.

Lucy’s Yoga Adventure

Bikram Yoga Teacher, Lucy, travels across the US in search of attaining as much knowledge about teaching and running a studio as possible.

Chronicles of a Bikram Yogini

Bikram Teacher, graphic designer, mother and knowledge seeker Danielle blogs about her Bikram journey.

Bikram Bootcamp

Jenn from Seattle wrote in this completed Teacher Training blog EVERY DAY (an amazing feat!), a great resource for those considering TT.

Mind Playground

Copywriter turned Bikram Yoga Teacher, Mei writes about teaching and practicing.

Bikram Boogy

Bikram Yoga Teacher and star performer Paul McQuillan’s completed blog about his teacher training.

Bikram Yoga Challenge Bloggers

Bikram 101

Guest Bloggers from around the world join Heather Molina in her 101 Day Challenge and share their stories day by day.

60 Bikram Yoga Challenge

Bikramyogachick blogs from Bikram Yoga Summerlin.

Year Long Yoga Bender

la leah blogs about her journey doing 10 back-bends every day for a year.

Action JoJo’s World

Another Bikram 101 Blogger chronicles her challenge day by day.

A Happy Yogi’s Blog

Coming from Stockholm, Sweden; Happy Yogi blogs about the 101 Challenge.

Bikram 60 Day Challenge

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Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Links, Yoga Challenge

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.”

Continue reading

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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

Student of The Week

Fourteen-year old Crystal is Toronto’s youngest 30 Day challenger. But it was less the yoga and more mom Arleen, a regular at Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, who inspired her to participate in the 30 Day Challenge. “She said that if I could do it, she would give me $100,” she said with a grin after her class on Wednesday night.

Crystal, the youngest Bikram Yoga Challenger in Toronto

Still, that $100 incentive lost its luster earlier this week when Crystal walked out of the studio and told owner Janice Guertin that she was going to quit. “I just felt so tiried, like I couldn’t do [the challenge] anymore,” she recalls. But Janice was determined to make her stay on. “I told her that she just can’t quit. She’s 14-years-old, the youngest challenger in Toronto, what an inspiration to teenage girls!” Janice said. With that encouragement she decided to continue, and got something different than her $100 dollar reward soon after.

In Wednesday’s steamy 7:30 class at Forest Hill, Crystal saw her toes over her head for the first time in bow pose. But more than just her postures have changed says Arleen, “I used to have to have to push her so hard to come, and tell her over and over again to go to yoga. But now, she is the one telling me, ‘Mom, come on we have to go, we have to get to yoga.’ ” Over half way through her 30 day challenge and Crystal says that her favorite part of class is coming every day, doing bow pose and the way the yoga makes it easier for her to focus on her school work.

We’ll be cheering Crystal on, and waiting to see what she choses to get with that $100 reward.

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Filed under Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Student of the Week, Yoga Challenge

30 Day, 60 Day, 101 Day Challenge?

With  30 day challenges going full steam at Bikram Yoga Toronto, Forest Hill and Bikram Yoga East, and a 60 day challenge starting in February at Bikram Yoga Centre, we thought we’d pass along a little inspiration for ya’ll.
A student at BYToronto, Heather, has kicked off her own 101 day challenge. What is extra special about Heather’s challenge is the online community that she has gathered. Broadcasting on her blog, twitter and Facebook group, Heather has over 300 fans and followers who are cheering her on. That, and her efforts have inspired others to join her challenge.

We will have an interview with Heather coming up soon, but for now check out her blog and join her Facebook group, or join the movement, its not too late challengers!!

Bikram 101

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Filed under Bikram Yoga East, Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Bikram Yoga Toronto, Yoga Challenge