I first started Bikram/Hot Yoga about a year or so ago but only used to show up to classes sporadically, partly because I was lazy. Actually that was the only reason. It wasn’t until my friend G told me one day in late Jan that there was an 18 in 30 classes Yoga challenge at the studio we normally went to and that we should try it out, that I got interested. Surya Yoga Academy is the studio I go to in Hoboken although they have branches all over Jersey City so its really easy to get to any of the studios if you live in the neighborhood. The challenge was from Feb 1- March 3 when the east coast was reeling from new terminologies such as the ‘polar vortex’. It seemed doable as I didn’t have to go all 30 days and was catered for anyone interested in starting or getting back to yoga. The natural thing for us to do was to buy yoga wear because that’s what people who never go for yoga and probably never will, do instead of making do with our existing t-shirt and track pants. We threw in a snazzy yoga mat with inspirational inscriptions that sounded vaguely like a hallmark card and a nice shiny new water bottle. Just when we thought we’d covered everything we realized that we needed a grippy mat towel! We didn’t want to slip and fall down during one of those poses now did we? This whole process although fun set us back a bit but we knew this was an investment worth making. Armed with all our gadgets and accessories we started our challenge. I’m going to be honest. The first week was not that hard mainly because we were excited to be part of a challenge and a group of people we saw every day. Coupled with some fantastic teachers the whole experience was fun. By the second week, I was feeling a little fatigued and cranky but my sugar cravings had reduced drastically. I also realized several undiscovered muscles were being awakened from their slumber and they did not like it. The third week saw me making better meal choices. I would actually prefer having a banana or watermelon to cake if I wanted dessert which to me is shocking. Most of all by the end of the challenge my skin started glowing and my appetite post yoga only craved coconut water and fruit. I preferred evening classes after work so I would get home and drink a bowl of soup before I headed for class.
G and I came out successful in our baby steps towards health and well-being. We had a sense of achievement and a free tank top from the studio as our reward! I could see my body and mind change slowly but surely. I am able to manage my stress now because of yoga particularly hot/bikram yoga. The extreme heat and sweat make it impossible to concentrate on anything but on being present and in the moment. Stress is a part of our day to day life now and although we have tools available to us to help control it, not all of us make time to do that. Simple lifestyle changes go a long way in making your day and your week better. I consciously try to do that (I hope you do too!); of course I slip up a lot but tomorrow is a new day so it’s always a new beginning. Namaste!