Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What can you accomplish in 30 days?

I am in the middle of a 30 day fitness challenge (read about it here) that was inspired by my sister, Meg. Meg has a full schedule (she is a pre-school/kindergarten teacher, lacrosse coach and fitness instructor) but she challenged herself to 30 days of Bikram yoga. Here is her motivational recap of her journey. After you read it, share your comments of what challenge you are going to take on!

I was inspired to try Bikram yoga by one of my bootcamp class participants, who thought I might like the dialogue and teaching philosophy. I should start by saying that I was never a Yogi and never really had an interest in practicing yoga, especially Bikram yoga (Bikram yoga is a type of Hatha yoga in which the room is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity and the class practices the same 26 postures each and every class for 90 minutes).

I am a runner who lifts weights, does interval training and plays sports - my belief is that exercise is supposed to be challenging, make me sweat and feel tired; yoga, in my mind, was none of these things. I was SO wrong! After my first few classes, I quickly learned what an intense workout Bikram yoga is and became immediately interested to find out what it could do for my body and fitness level.

After practicing for about two months, I was encouraged by the studio owner to sign up for the 30-day challenge: a commitment to practice Bikram yoga for 30 days in a row. I was intrigued for all of the reasons any competitive athlete would be: it provided a goal, something for which to be held accountable and something that was going to be challenging and rewarding.

I began my 30-day challenge on June 1 and completed it June 30. It was quite a commitment. Each class is 90 minutes but including travel and preparation time, Bikram consumed about 2.5 hours each day. Additionally, I had to prioritize my Bikram each day to ensure I could attend one of the scheduled classes. Furthermore, due to travel out of town, there were four days in which I had to take two classes a day to make up for the days I would miss- those were definitely the hardest! I completed my challenge with a class in Vail Valley, Colorado where I practiced with teammates with whom I was playing in the Vail Shootout lacrosse tournament. It was an incredible way to cap off my month-long practice!

Each class was, and continues to feel, different from the last. I did improve with some postures, whereas some I felt only got more and more difficult. There were many days when I felt anxious and nervous about going to class despite knowing exactly what the class routine was but I always made it through! There were a few where I felt great and others where 90 minutes seemed like 4 hours, but I always completed class. I learned to be patient with myself, to celebrate the small victories of going a little further in a posture or not obsessing about water as much as the class before. I felt the obvious physical change of increased flexibility and feel leaner and longer than when I started. I surprised myself at how far/well/long I was able to hold some postures but probably the most surprising result of all was that I became a Yogi - I began to see myself and think of myself as a practicing Yogi!

Am I going to do another 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge? Probably not in the near future! Right now, I am looking forward to exploring other types of exercise...but I feel proud of myself for overcoming the mental and physical challenges and for doing something that, 6 months ago, I would have never even considered. Now, it's time to find out what else I am capable of!

Congratulations, Meg! You are truly an inspiration and role model to all of us. You have shown us that we are all capable of achieving whatever we put our mind to and that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.


  1. Meg! So proud of you! That is so awesome that you tried something new and made it a priority to complete the challenge. Great inspiration!

  2. Megan this coincidentally coincides with the one full month I gave up orange hostess cupcakes after you slapped me in the face for admitting I enjoyed an occasional orange flavored processed treat. While the accomplishment of not eating créme filled delicacies certainly does not compare to devoting two and a half hours a day to uber intense yoga, I thank you for the inspiration.