At the end of each 30 day challenge students are invited to write a testimonial. For November's challenge we had the incentive of receiving a 'surprise' if we wrote one which turned out to be a very cool yoga mat bag. As I was already on a writing roll I had mine finished in no time. It became more of a confession than a testimonial. Throughout the challenge I had, without sounding totally bonkers, an awakening. I realized that I was holding myself back from a journey that would not only fulfill a personal goal but will serve others in a positive way as well. I was terrified to admit my findings and 'go public' but as my words were promptly printed and put on the BYJ noticeboard there was no going back.
Here it is blog fans, my testimonial for February 2011 30 Day Challenge:
"I have now accepted that I am completely obsessed with Bikram Yoga, I have joined the brainwashed. For the simple reason this yoga works. It works for me and I believe it can work to heal anyone of physical or mental afflictions. It leaves me energized, happy and often so exhausted that I can hardly speak. I only wish I’d found it sooner. After the first 30 day challenge there was a noticeable difference to my practice, it took me to a new level. There was no doubt in my mind this time round that I couldn’t do it again. I knew this challenge would be different from the first and I was looking forward to making the comparison.
I don’t have a deeply moving or tear jerking story behind the reason I took the challenge a second time. It bothers me a little that I don’t, I feel I need one. My main reason for taking the challenge this time, which I only revealed to Jo very recently and is still very much under wraps, is that I am considering going to Teacher Training. I decided I needed to test myself with daily practice in preparation for the grueling nine week schedule. I wanted to submerge myself in the Bikram bubble and soak up all the knowledge I could get. I’m a compulsive learner, I crave knowledge and always need something new to focus on. I don’t like rut’s, I don’t do safe, if I get too comfortable I need to make myself uncomfortable again (even though I get freaked out at the thought!). Challenges are perfect for me.
To add something different to this challenge I decided to blog the experience as a daily diary. At first I was unsure whether to share it with the world as it would be a very personal account. Did I want to let people into my mind? I let go and let them in. I have been overwhelmed how many people have embraced my ramblings and the positive feedback has blown me away. One friend in the UK was so inspired she decided to take her own 30 day challenge after not even practicing for a year. It made me realize that if I can reach out to people by writing about Bikram Yoga, then teaching it and physically helping people change their life might well be the right path for me. My ‘considering going to BYTT’ has definitely turned into ‘I need to go and as soon as possible.’ The intention has now been set, it will happen this year.
I am a very dedicated person. If I agree to do something then I do it properly and to the end. A thirty day challenge is a huge commitment and I planned to stick to it and follow the rules. In my own mind I decided to fully benefit from the challenge I needed to complete the full thirty days consecutively just like the first challenge, no days off. I succeeded in this task but I will admit I may
have become reclusive to those outside my immediate family. Luckily people came to visit me instead which took the pressure off. I even did an extra class just for fun. I set a mini challenge within the challenge to get out of my comfort zone spot in the studio and move around the room. I always tended to go in the same two or three spots so I forced myself to shift. I actually quite enjoyed
being back in the back row, no pressure to lead people, I could just be. It was a challenge to deal with the distractions other people bring and the blocked views. I kept reminding myself in a room of 400 trainees I may never see the mirror for nine weeks.
Overall I found this second challenge a lot easier. I knew what to expect and could organise my life outside of yoga easier. I had formed a routine last time so I simply picked it up again. Having the Friday morning early class helped so it meant only leaving work early on a Wednesday. I cruised the first two weeks, I felt strong and felt my body had picked up where it left off on the last
challenge. I didn’t experience any of the pains or cramps like I did the first time. I was stiff at the start of each class but this passed quickly after the first four postures. I hit a road block towards the end of week three. I wasn’t going anywhere, I may have started going backwards in some postures. I did get annoyed with myself which I know I shouldn’t but deep down I did want to have a breakthrough. Mainly I wanted to feel like I was good enough to go to training. Towards the last few days I did get frustrated with everything else in my life, food, washing, cleaning and work. I wished it would disappear so I could fully submerge myself in Bikram and finish on a high. But that would never happen so it was a case of sucking it up and just doing it.
I did finish the challenge on a high. Class 31, day 30 was excellent. I think the high energy of the group lifted the mood and gave me that final boost. I’ve made some new friends and expanded my circle further than the usual regulars I talk to. Challenges are a great way to bring people together as we all share a common goal. Looking back on my blog posts I realise now as long as I have the
passion for this yoga it doesn’t matter if my postures aren’t world champion standard. We never stop learning and there is so much more to learn. My new aim is to share this knowledge and help people to achieve their goals through this fantastic practice."