Day 26 (Classes 26 and 27): Today was my first back-to-back double (followed by St. Pat’s no less) and I am so happy to report that I didn’t die! In fact, it was downright good! I wasn’t as flexible as I had thought I might be, but I certainly wasn’t stiff, sore or wiped out from the first class. I was also surprised at how quickly the time seemed to go. Perhaps this had to do with the anticipation I felt for the Big Ten Championship game between the Badgers and the Buckeyes at the United Center immediately following class, but whatever it was, the classes flew by.
As flexible as I may have been, I wasn’t able to repeat the hands-to-feet pose I had achieved on Friday. That is one of the most interesting aspects of the Challenge for me. Instead of “mastering” poses (or at least continuously improving in them), I have found myself discovering just how much I have to go before I am even close to mastering ANY of the poses. It has been so surprising how different each class is from day to day…even classes done back to back are different from one another. Due to the frequency of the classes, the differences have become very noticeable to me and have allowed me to be more mindful of the nuances of each class.
Today, as like many of the days, I wanted to focus a lot on the spine strengthening series. I still can’t seem to stop rocking in bow pose, and consequently, bow is becoming my new arch nemesis. That’s actually a pretty great achievement for little old bow considering my number one love-hate relationship in Bikram since my very first class has been half locust (with both legs in the air). As I have mentioned previously, half locust makes my heart pound more than any other pose. Struggling to get my legs up (and keep them up) is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite part of the entire class. It’s a “hurts so good” situation for me, and I have focused a lot on getting my feet up in the air for a while now. For a long time (long before this Challenge ever began), I was barely able to get my feet up off the floor. Then one day, similar to my a-ha moment with hands-to-feet, I just magically understood what it was I needed to do to lift my legs up. Ever since, I’ve been working intently to get my feet up higher and higher. According to Stephanie, the competitive Bikram folks can bring their legs all the way up and OVER their heads so that they end up with their feet by their ears. WHAT. So yes, I still have a ways to go! But I know without question that I have improved dramatically in this pose since my first class (and I would like to think I have improved since the Challenge began, though I don’t know that for certain).
One other thing that surprised me in the back-to-back double was that I wasn’t as dehydrated as I feared I might be. I didn’t hydrate very much on Saturday (at least not with water…) and I didn’t have any water prior to class. I brought some electrolyte tabs with me that I had never tried before, but luckily, they did not upset my stomach and I felt fine throughout both classes. I can’t believe the Challenge will be over in just a few days. I have one more double (third total) to get caught up and will finish my 30th class on the 30th day. So happy to be on schedule despite a few mishaps along the way!
Which series of the practice have you been focusing on the most? Do you have a pose you consider your arch nemesis? Is there a pose that you have seen dramatic improvement in during your time practicing Bikram?