There's a line that I heard on Brothers & Sisters recently that stuck with me. Rebecca, still reeling from a miscarriage, decided to go back to taking ballet classes in an effort to feel better. But when she found herself struggling through steps that once came so easily to her, she broke down. "My body keeps failing me," she said. A lot of us at this age have felt this way at one time or another. I was a ballet dancer for 12 years of my life, and I'd always prided myself on my balance and flexibility. But of course, as time passed and life got in the way, my body started to fail me too. I remember being horrified last year when I got a terrible cramp just from pointing my foot. What the hell?! And I distinctly recall how my pride was pretty crushed the first time I attended a Bikram class. I expected that I would do well. But Bikram is a tough practice and I was hella out of shape. I hadn't stretched in ages so my flexibility seemed a distant memory. And balance? How could I even fathom balancing when I already felt like I was going to black out just standing on two feet!
It's the memory of that first class that makes today that much more special for me. The same person who just last year couldn't get past the third pose without hyperventilating, who was so out of shape that just pointing her foot left her with an excruciating muscle cramp, who thought her body was past it's prime and failing her, just completed the 30-day Bikram challenge. While I'm light years away from perfecting any of the asanas, I have come so far physically, mentally and emotionally. I've regained my flexibility and my body is stronger now than when I was a sprightly 18-year-old. Bikram (in conjunction with vegetarianism) totally reshaped my body over the last 30 days. My body's gotten more firm and toned, and I have more energy after a 7AM Bikram class than when I've slept in all morning. My mind can relish stillness and calmness (very difficult for someone living in New York). My heart has learned to acknowledge an emotion and then let it go (not all the time, mind you, but at least most of the time!). And hello, I've been re-acquianted with my waist! I thought I'd lost it forever after learning the joys of swigging beer, but no, apparently it's still there!
If my little story inspires just one person to take on this challenge, it will all be worth it! I concede that it was easier for me to do because my work hours are fairly regular, I'm single, and I'm not responsible for anyone other than myself. But if you're going to do just one good thing for yourself, consider dedicating one little month of your life to something that will increase your confidence, and improve your health and well-being massively. It's totally worth trading in a few drunken Saturday nights/overworked evenings/days of pigging out for. When the month ends, all of that will still be there. But you will find out things about yourself that you never knew before.