Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#10: Conquer the 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge—CHECK!

30 Bikram classes in 30 days and still standing—on one leg at that! Ok there are still a million things wrong with this pose (that one leg I'm standing on not being locked out, for one), but I have a lifetime of yoga ahead of me to work on that. The important thing is, I made it out alive and still able to pose for a picture in the steamy room afterwards!

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.



  1. CONGRATULATONS CELINE! Well done! It's was a tough feat from the looks of it. But you did it, YAY! So inspiring. :)

    I'm on Day 2 of my "Couch to 5K Running Plan" and will be training for a measly 3K marathon this coming April 18. That's my goal: Finish the race. Like you, I was a dancer when I was younger and am starting to re-acquiant myself with my "old" healthy self.

    If you could do it, so can I! You inspire me! Thanks for this post, it made my day.

    Cheers from sunny Manila! :)

  2. ACgrrrl - Thank you for your great comment! Totally made my day too! Do not call your 3K measly! I don't even know if I can run 1K and here I am planning on running a marathon. Being delusional has its advantages I suppose. SOOO happy to hear that you have a goal that you're working towards. It will be so fulfilling when you hit it! Keep me posted ok? Cheers to you and the "Couch to 5K Running Plan" from chilly New York! ;-)

  3. Cel! Ang galing! You're so limber!

  4. Congratulations! Now you really have inspired me. Can't wait to start with the challenge as well...

  5. Tin - it will be tough to maintain now that my priority is running. But at least I have that picture to look back on and remind me of what was! Hahaha :-)

    chaitealatte - So happy to hear that! Let me know how it goes!

  6. Hi Celine, new visitor here. This has gotten me so inspired.

    I will accomplish this 30-day challenge before I turn 30. Hopefully before I turn 28 this December.

    I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now but just got to backreading today, I'm now a fan! I will definitely be a frequent visitor!

    More power to you!


  7. Celine -
    Such a bizarre coincidence or maybe providence that I stumbled upon this blog yesterday. As 30 looms large for me too (May!), i resolved at the beginning of the year that I'd finally get off my a** and do the things I always wanted to. So 2 days ago, I signed up for swimming lessons (yes, i am an adult and cant swim!!!) and then viola right after, I discovered your blog! So then yesterday, i signed up for Bikram Yoga as well...me, who hasnt seen the inside of a gym in maybe, uhm, 5 years...(too bad I missed the groupon deal though, i love me a good deal!).

    anyways, wanted to drop in a line and say hi...

    good luck in the run to 30...

    ~ AS

  8. AS - Thank you so much for the comment, and I am so glad you stumbled onto my blog! I am so excited for you. Keep me posted on the Bikram and on your quest to conquer all these things you've always wanted to do! I know that we're all going through similar things and it's such a blessing to have an amazing support system among people approaching 30. Good luck with everything and keep me posted!


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