So Hi,

I’m Claire.

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t start writing this in the first place. I wrote, but only on the computer in a private journal. Why do that when it is so much more fun sharing my personal business with the world? Well anyway, as you may already know from reading the info about this blog, I have decided to do Bikram’s yoga for 30 days in a row. Bikram’s yoga, for those of you that are unfamiliar, is a form of yoga that includes 26 postures and two breathing exercises in a period of 90 minutes. It works every muscle in the body from the inside, to the outside, and is organized in such a way that every posture warms you up and prepares your body for the following posture. This form of yoga is done in a room heated to about 37 degrees celcius, which mimics the temperature and the conditions of the human body. For more information about this practice you can watch the short video below or go to http://www.bikramyogavancouver.com, which is the website of the school where I practice.

How it has been going so far:

Today will be day 4 of my 30 day challenge, and already I am noticing some changes in my body, both in the yoga room and outside of it.

I am used to being easy on myself. If I am sore, have a headache, am tired, or am in a grumpy mood I will usually skip class, but the teachers always say half the battle of Bikram’s is just making yourself go to class. I try to remind myself of this, and I try to remember that even if I just go and lie there for 90 minutes, at least I will have made it to class. Hopefully it wont come to that! But as long as I’m going to class I feel that I am successful in my challenge.

The more I go, the more in tune I am becoming with my body. I have noticed how important breathing is. For example, one posture I have always struggled with is Triangle pose. I really focused n my breathing in class yesterday and was impressed at how deep I could go and how much easier it was to sustain the posture for the full 60 seconds. It is still a challenge, but something as simple as breathing can help me get through it. The same goes for other postures, focusing on the breath throughout the entire series makes a huge impact on how deep into something I can go, my balance, and my ability to sustain the posture for the full amount of time.

As far as balance goes, I feel like my balance has been worse on certain postures that are especially difficult for me. For example with standing head to knee pose I tend to fall out of it when my standing ankle starts to ache. I want to try to not have this happen, because I feel like it could be a subconscious excuse to come out of the posture when it is getting too difficult, as opposed to a genuine loss of balance, because I actually feel that balance could be one of my strengths. Again, focusing on my breath does help, as does certain kinds of imagery, such as imagining my leg is attached to a pole, imagining I don’t have a knee. The teachers always say that before you even start a posture you have to make up your mind to hold it no matter what. This helps too.

One really fantastic thing I have noticed, is that my flexibility is really improving. I had a back injury from a snowboarding accident years ago that was severely aggravated by forward bending. As a result I never did any, and the flexibility in my hamstrings basically disappeared. I think this in the long run really messed up the balance of my body and made my back pain worse, but I never knew what to do about it. Since I’ve been practicing yoga, I have made vast improvements in my hamstring flexibility in particular, and my back pain has mostly disappeared. in the floor postures meant to stretch that area of the body, I am able to hold them, and go fairly deep into them. I can straiten my legs and I can grab underneath my heels in forward bending poses. I am so proud of myself, and it is exciting because this is such a measurable improvement.

I am pretty sore today and I have quite a headache. This could be due to the amount of sweating I have been doing, so I should definitely try to get some electrolytes. My teacher has mentioned that headaches are a sign of electrolyte imbalance, so I will try drinking a little gatorade and see if that helps. I am going today at 4:15.

That is all for today as I am sure you have already stopped reading my boring observations. I am really excited to continue this thirty day challenge, and to see where this practice takes me. I am so lucky to have found an exercise that is so fulfilling.

More updates later! Thanks for reading!

-Claire