I started Bikram Yoga this month and am currently taking part in a 30-day (30 classes in 30 days) challenge. That first day was exhilarating! I've taken many yoga classes in my lifetime mostly involving Vinyasa Flow. I'd never experienced Bikram when I signed up for it and for the challenge. I only knew that a few of my friends love it and that it is hot! Hot like 105 degrees hot (Although today I noticed that the thermostat read 108.6 degrees!). Considering this heat, I was concerned (though not greatly) about breathing, claustrophobia, and vertigo. But mostly I was concerned about keeping up the commitment. I know myself. I know this is a challenge for me.
Day one went lovely. Fears negated, I didn't have a problem with the heat, didn't have a problem breathing, didn't get claustrophobic, and didn't experience vertigo.
On day two, I was fatigued. This was to be expected, getting back into some sort of physical activity usually carries on me for a few days even if I've slept well. This is good. This is change.
Day three felt good but day four struck me. I cried through most of class. Positions were difficult, muscles and tendons were sore, the extent to which I had let myself go was horribly apparent. I had to let it go. And, I did. I left it there on the yoga studio floor.
Since mid-June, I've taken a renewed approach to eating clean. For me this means doing more research on eating Paleo. My household has been largely Paleo for a few years now but since a flu over the holidays, I had slipped off my strictness and had allowed daily consumption of bread back into my life. Regular amounts of bread is not a good thing for me. I see an immediate difference when I introduce or eliminate bread from my diet. And boy do I love to eat bread! I love toast with my coffee, or buttered toasted bagels. This is a great discipline for me for resist the temptation of good bread. But, I did it. I may indulge from time to time but mostly I avoid it and I certainly don't allow it into my home. Sure, there are many other things that I am addressing at the same time, but bread has been my greatest immune system assault.
So, with this combined effort of eating clean and daily Bikram, I feel a tremendous difference. The weight is shedding slowly. My endurance and breath is improving. My definition is returning. My endorphins are kind to me.
I joke that I brought my luggage to yoga class with me and set it down on my mat. This because I am 44 years old now. When I went through this in CrossFit, my friend Rob sent me a CrossFit Journal article about age and the life span of injuries you accumulate over the years and how you address this in your workouts. Its simple fact that we accumulate a list of challenges and so we need to face them, work through them. I've mentioned a short list of these personal challenges above, but I more recently encountered a couple more and big ones at that. Two years ago, I stopped CrossFitting, hiking and yoga-ing because of extreme pain in my ribs, lower back, hip, and emanating around my side, through my groin and almost all the way down my right leg. The more fitness I pursued, the more pain I encountered, but not during the workout. The pain would wake me in the middle of the night, like a dagger in my ribs, bringing me to tears and eventually sobs and cries.
|Deadlifts at Paradiso CrossFit (2010)|
The doctor said, "Oh! You've got quite a case of arthritis in your back and a nice little sway in your lumbar. Did you know you have lumbar scoliosis?" At this point in my life, I had been expecting the arthritis but the scoliosis took me by surprise. Once I got past the shock and to the point of acceptance, it was, however, nice to have an answer, nice to have something to work with.
But I have to tell you, that pain is a major bitch. I set-out to conquer it. And when I CrossFit my ass off or yoga regularly, the pain remains. My attitude and proclamation is such that I would rather be fit and in pain than to sit around crying about it and in pain. No matter what I do, the pain is there, so it is better to fight through it.
|Sit-ups at CrossFit Zen (2013)|
So this is where I am in my Bikram and clean eating regimen. Every day when I attempt a Bikram position, the position comes easier for me. As I check my position in the mirror, I see a me that is changing shape. I don't yet feel lighter, but things are definitely moving. And, Sunday afternoon I put on a blouse that I hadn't fit into for about 3 years. Happy me! I keep pursuing the clean eating. After discovering that my new found love for peppers in my morning scramble was actually causing [night shades] inflammation that was waking me in the night with stabbing pains in my hand and feet, I simply made another adjustment, eliminated the night shades, and in a few days time the pain subsided.
I'm pushing through. My body hurts but my mind and my mood is benefiting tremendously.
With that, I share with you a little something that one of my mentors shared today. A moment of thankfulness for all that I've got, a message from Nina Simone: