By Noa Glow
With 100 consecutive classes under her belt (and she just started practising last October!), Carly gives her top tips for completing a Bikram Yoga challenge.
Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …
My first class was in October 2012. I’d just moved to Vancouver with my husband and was looking for some way to connect to the community, meet people and get out of my apartment. I live in the West End so I walked to Alberni Street one Sunday and took my first-ever Bikram class. I’d done “hot” yoga a few times before but never Bikram Yoga. To be honest, the class was just a blur, but I remember feeling amazing after. I came back the next day.
What was it that got you “hooked” on Bikram Yoga?
During one class I took Jacob said you should try practising every day for 30 consecutive days in order to build a good foundation. Then you can truly start to feel the changes. I walked home that day thinking, “I’m going to do that.” After I completed 30 days I thought I’d go for 60, then 90. After I reached that goal I said, “What the hay; lets do 100!”
Would you recommend other beginners start with a similar challenge?
I would absolutely suggest this to others. It’s definitely a challenge, but you really gain insight into your capabilities and what your body can really feel like. In fact, the hardest part wasn’t the actual yoga. It was getting to class every day. I never missed or doubled up on classes, and went to 8 a.m. or 9 p.m. classes if that’s all my schedule would allow. Planning was key; you have to make it work and fit into your day. Oh, and all the laundry was also a challenge! I was washing yoga shorts in the sink and had yoga towels drying all over my little apartment!
Got any more tips for making it through a 30-, 60-, 90- or 100-day challenge?
Yes! It’s really a choice that you make every day. I quickly realized that I could either come to class every day and suffer through the 90 minutes OR I could come every day and benefit from the work I was doing. Also, what happens outside the yoga studio is just as important as what happens on your mat, so sleep well, eat well and hydrate – all these things became essential to my progress and, ultimately, my day-to-day life.
Did you celebrate or reward yourself when you reached 100 classes?
I finished my challenge on a Tuesday so the next day I went to class 101! But that weekend my husband took me out for a nice dinner involving carbohydrates, wine and dessert! After about 44 days I had decided no more alcohol, so that was a treat. I wasn’t a heavy drinker to begin with but even two glasses of wine on a Saturday night would make a difference to my practice the next day.
What benefits have you received from Bikram Yoga?
First my skin: it’s glowing all the time! No lie, strangers will comment on my skin. Plus, some of the more standard benefits, like weight loss, toning, better sleep and all-around better quality of life. Also I developed this cool relationship with myself 🙂
Favourite hot yoga posture?
Everyone has been great, supportive and all-around fantastic. Christine stands out, because when I told her I finished my 60th class she was like, “Do 100.” She’s an amazing instructor and I’m always happy when I’m lying in Savasana and I hear her say, “Watch your eyes.” Shouts out to Lisa, too, whose classes are so inspiring and Michelle, who always says something in class that I’ll then think about for weeks.
Future Bikram Yoga plans?
I plan to do many more challenges. Bring it on! 200 classes in 100 days anyone? 😉