It certainly has been far too long since my last post. I wrote one up but when I went to publish it disappeared. One day, I will rewrite, but until then here are some recent pictures of my progress!
My eyes popped open at 5:45a this morning and I started mentally preparing myself for the 6:30a Bikram yoga class I had scheduled on my calendar. Oh so gingerly, I slid out of bed and tried to clear my mind enough to feed to dogs and grab my bag. That’s when it hit me. Competition is tomorrow and I’ve pushed it so hard I can barely bend over to open the dog food container! What was I thinking. “But you have to! What about your Challenge?!”
It is so easy to immediately put myself in guilt-mode, especially when I have a specific goal in mind. I have this awful tendency to shove what my body (and mind) really need to the back-burner. How ironic. The whole reason I’m doing this challenge is to take care of my body-mind! Reluctantly, I decided to skip class today and give myself some much needed self-care before I get up on that stage. Epsom salt, lots of water, some basic stretching, but nothing that will push my body so far it has to put up a bigger fight just to be heard.
I think for all of us it is important, though difficult, to recognize and stay tuned-in to what our bodies and minds are telling us. Things don’t always have to be perfect or just as we planned. One of my instructors always says as she leaves the yoga room at the end of class, “Have compassion for yourself and those around you.” Such a simple saying, yet for so many of us (especially my fellow Perfectionists) we quickly forget.
Compassion for myself is not about excusing bad behavior or enabling poor choices. It’s about honoring where I am in the moment, recognizing it, and taking supportive action to make sure I am getting what I need. All of this helps me reach my goals. That same instructor always says, “Choices, choices. We all make choices.”
My choice today? Honor where I am, look it in the eye, and support it.
It has been 34 days since I first started my personal challenge. I have completed 33 Bikram yoga classes in the 34 days and have been relatively faithful to my diet change. My personal challenge shifts and deepens and I have tried to challenge myself within the original parameters I set. On Saturday and Sunday of this week I decided to complete 4 classes which meant that I would have to stay in the yoga room for 3 very hot hours both days. I have completed a Double before, but never have I attempted to do two back-to-back.
I didn’t do a very good job of preparing for Saturday’s classes. I went to bed late, I didn’t take my trace minerals, and I didn’t drink nearly enough water the day before. It is so important that all of these things are done properly when doing this much hot yoga. Nutrition is also a very important part of completing a successful yoga challenge. My instructors say that without proper nutrition not only will the body be unable to heal itself but it will not be able to relax and recover from the classes.
The first class on Saturday went relatively well. By relatively, I mean that although I have performed better in classes my body was putting out what I had put into it the day before. I did get really hot and my muscles fatigued really quickly. Needless to say, I was pretty concerned about what my second class was going to be like.
I was right to be concerned. I moved my mat so that I could be in “hurricane alley” (right by the main door where cool drafts occasionally sneak into the hot room) but even that wasn’t enough. At one point, I looked up into the mirror and my lips had turned gray. Not good. That’s when the lump in my throat turned into a boulder and I started panicking. It is a strange sensation when you begin to lose it in the middle of something you have done so many times. I’m sure that we all go through it at some point in regards to one thing or another, but it was something that took me completely by surprise.
My brilliant instructor took notice and being the wonderful and compassionate person she is, tasked me to go into the hallway and turn on the industrial fan located in the lobby. My favorite part of her instruction? “And Mel, take your time.” After returning to the room, I finished my second class as gracefully as I could. There were five of us who did a Double that day and we all agreed it was the hottest it has been in that room in quite awhile. But we made it! And what a learning experience Saturday was. I went home, hydrated, napped, epsom salt soaked my feet, and pumped my body full of greens and trace minerals.
By Sunday morning, I was ready for my second Double. The room was cooler and the humidity was tolerable. That does not mean that the classes were necessarily easier, but my lips stayed pink and I did not leave the room. Rosemary essential oil helped me maintain a better body temperature during the second class. The instructor I had for my Sunday classes has a different style than the instructor who taught the Saturday classes. They both are incredible individuals and extremely knowledgeable, able to challenge me in different and unique ways. I am actually going to compete in the Colorado Regional Championship and it is their continuous encouragement that has inspired me to take my challenge public. No matter what my score or how I do, the fact that I even compete will be enough for me. Pictures to follow.
All in all, the past month has been wonderful. I feel better prepared for the upcoming months and I consider the first quarter of my challenge a great experience. I have lost about 15 lbs and feel fantastic. Only 87 more classes and days to go!
I have a new love for doubles. Back-to-back yoga classes, that is. Sunday was my second attempt at doing classes back-to-back, and I have to say, it may be my new addiction. It is incredibly exhilarating, draining, and euphoric. I started doing doubles because I wanted to take Mondays off from yoga so my body could recover. Well, now I think I am going to start doing them a couple of times a week. I will keep Mondays as my rest day though.
As far as my progress with my diet and lifestyle change, things have gone really well. I am down exactly 10 lbs since starting this blog and, with some very dedicated instructors, am able to get into and out of poses much easier and with more control. I have reached a point in the diet change where I am either not hungry at inappropriate times or can manage through whatever craving I’m experiencing.
As I sit here taking inventory of all the goings on in 2013, I realize that I’ve developed quite the collection of cobwebs settling on the corners of my goals and dreams. Up until May of this year, it was all I could do to keep my head above water. Typical issues – bills, work, money, home repairs, etc. Nothing major, nothing out of the ordinary. Funny how those seemingly mundane stresses can set the stage for such a disconnected reality.
It has been months since I really focused on myself and on ways to make my life more fulfilling. I have always struggled with my weight and consequently have become increasingly uncomfortable in my own skin. 2013 was not a year to overcome such struggles. I spent the entire summer eating low-nutrient food and indulging in high-calorie treats. I rationalized this behavior with the excuse that my job is physically demanding and that I had earned every calorie I was devouring.
Truth is, I deserve so much more.
I deserve to spend time with myself everyday and to take care of this precious vessle that houses my heart and my soul. I deserve to feel good at the end of the day instead of feeling like someone took a baseball bat to my back. I deserve to be free of the sweet and addictive deliciousness of sugar. I deserve to be happy!
So, it’s time to clean house and get these cobwebs out. For four months, I am making it my goal to spend at least 90 minutes a day in a blazingly hot yoga room, sweating out the cobwebs of Fear, Addiction, Rationalization, and Passive Self-Loathing. For four months, I am making it my goal to eat five healthy meals a day instead of a medium meal at some random point in the afternoon and a disgustingly large meal between the hours of nine and midnight.
Won’t you join me on my cleaning spree?