Day 30: NAMASYAAAAY!!!!!!!! Day Thirty! The final day!! How do you feel? I feel…accomplished. It is nice to know that I can commit and follow-through with the commitment despite setbacks and obstacles. Going into the Challenge, I was most concerned with the logistics of the Challenge and actually being able to MAKE it to class. Here we are 30 days later and I managed to squeeze all 30 classes into the 30 days. My original plan of going to 30 consecutive days of Bikram fell apart within the first week, but retrospectively I’m glad I had the opportunity to try a double (well…three doubles) just because it added a layer of intensity and little kick of spice to an otherwise somewhat monotonous routine.
In tonight’s class, there were a lot of distractions. I was by some fidgety people and a couple people who left the hot room more than once (one of whom left and never returned). It is very easy to get focused on what other people are doing and I felt almost like these people had been planted in the class near me as one final test. On the very first day of the challenge, I went to very crowded 530pm Monday class and I was near a very fidgety student who was going at her own pace and not following along with the words and I remember focusing so intently on what SHE was doing, that I was paying very little attention to my own practice. I was aware of this during that class (and mentioned how “hyper-aware” I was of everything that was happening) and I made a conscious effort throughout the challenge to not get so caught up in what other students are (or are not) doing. So here we are on the final day and I’m sandwiched between two people who seemed completely hellbent on annoying and distracting me. As quickly as I became focused on their fidgeting, I became cognizant of the fact that my focus was in the wrong place. While I wasn’t able to drown out the distractions completely, I did a far better job today quieting those distractions as compared to day one. It was good to have this final challenge within my Challenge as a reminder that there are ALWAYS distractions (in Bikram and in life) and it’s important to maintain focus despite the distractions.
So earlier today, a friend of mine asked me what the 3 main changes I had noticed as a result of doing the 30-day challenge. Her reflective question could not have been better timed. As it turns out, it was surprisingly hard for me to articulate an answer. I spent a lot of time in class tonight ruminating on this question and I’ve come up with a couple things:
- I have no idea if I have lost pounds or inches. I made a conscious decision at the beginning of the Challenge to NOT weigh or measure myself because I didn’t want this Challenge to be about numbers. I wanted this Challenge to be more about how I felt. I was nervous that, had I taken measurements on the scale or with a tape measure, I would have ultimately been disappointed had I not seen results. Disappointment is the LAST thing I wanted to feel on day 30, so I opted to just ignore the scale altogether. For me, I’m glad about this because, despite not knowing what the numbers were then or are then, I FEEL more toned and stronger.
- The meditative aspect of my practice has improved. By no means does this mean there is not continued room for improvement! Sweat in my eyes will probably always be the bane of my existence and I will have to always work hard to refrain my rubbing them (even though knowing full well that rubbing them will only exacerbate the issue). Nevertheless, I feel like I have gained a calmer mind on the mat. I was able to achieve (or at least got closer to achieving) “total relaxation” during savasana. Stillness and relaxation will always be a struggle for me, but I think I saw a lot of improvement and hopefully this will translate into my normal, everyday life at some point soon.
- Having accomplished a 30-day challenge has really shown me how much more there is for me to work on and improve upon. I didn’t expect going in that I would be a master Bikram practitioner by the end, but I certainly didn’t expect for my eyes to be opened so much with respect to how much there is for me to learn and practice! Over these past thirty days I have talked about: hydration, flexibility, concentration, breathing, mantras, stillness, relaxation, stress, tension, a-ha moments, my arch nemesis, logistics, and on and on and on. If anything, the Challenge has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses and where I can improve.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to blog about this Challenge for the studio. Having to reflect on each class like I did probably made me more aware of what was going on than I otherwise would have been and reflection, as it turns out, was just as important to me as being present at class. Thank you Mike for letting me blog! And thanks to all the instructors for being so motivating and helpful (and for taking so many of the mug shots!). I am so happy to have done the Challenge and am already plotting out when my next one will be.
Congrats to those of you who wrapped up the Challenge. I hope you feel accomplished and proud! To those of you considering taking on a Challenge in the future, I would absolutely encourage you to give it a try. It’s an interesting experiment if nothing else and hopefully that’s incentive enough!