Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: results, benefits and a recap

About two weeks ago I wrapped up my first 30 Day Challenge, meaning I practiced Bikram Yoga 30 times in 30 days. I skipped 2 days and caught up by doing 2 doubles on other days (taking two of the 90 minute classes on the same day).

I am quite proud of myself for having finished this challenge successfully, esp. because work has been pretty busy during that time. In this post, I want to give you an overview of the changes I have seen and the benefits I have received from this Yoga Challenge.

Food cravings:
Overall, I think my food cravings have stabilized in the second half of the 30 Day Challenge. I have realized though, that I really needed to take electrolyte supplements. Coconut water, lemon, salt, and foods weren't cutting it anymore with that much sweating every day. (How did I know? When you have too little electrolytes in your body, your muscles will feel VERY tired and weak. You might also experience muscle cramps.)

Energy and Sleep:
Bikram says, Yoga makes you need less sleep. I have not experienced that during my 30 Day Challenge. I have, however, experienced that before when I was practicing three to four times a week.

Body:
I feel A LOT stronger now and I have definitely toned up everywhere! My arms, legs, core, butt, back, shoulders, feet, everywhere! I am particularly thrilled about my back muscles (most back problems have disappeared!), my core strength (good posture! and abs are always good, of course!), and strong feet! You might think, huh? Strong feet? Yeah, most people's feet muscles are way too weak, because we wear shoes every day. Weak feet muscles can lead to over-pronation and thus knee pain or even hip pain and back pain! I have noticed stronger feet means no more over-pronation for me :))
Also, as I have mentioned in a previous post about this challenge, my skin is now SO amazingly soft... I haven't used any moisturizer since before the challenge! Not even on my elbows or knees and they feel baby-soft now. (I do use moisturizer on my hands due to frequent hand washing, and on my face for sunscreen.)

Mind:
The 30 Day Challenge has definitely helped me become more calm and less moody. It also gave me a great sense of accomplishment :)

Yoga:
The 30 Day Challenge has been great for my postures! I've become much stronger and also more flexible (in muscles AND joints) and can balance so much better now (thank you, strong feet), so almost every posture has improved. Still makes me very happy when I can do stuff that I couldn't before!

However, I still struggle with the heat. It is much hotter in this studio than it was in my German Bikram studio. On some days I wonder, if it really has to be THIS hot. I've barely had any classes in which I did every set/side of every posture.

Weight loss:
Many people ask me about weight loss with Bikram Yoga, so I want to address it here. First of all, I do not own a scale or take my measurements, so I cannot give you any numbers. This yoga is not purely about exercise, but if you have weight to lose, you will definitely see some great changes in your body if you practice regularly.
This yoga will help you balancing: balancing on one leg or your toes, but also balancing your mind and your body. For your mind it looks like this: you will feel less stressed, less anxious, less depressed, and you will be able to handle difficult situations better. For your body/weight, more balance will look like this:
  • you will crave foods that are good for you,
  • overeating or "undereating" will not happen so often anymore,
  • you will build more muscle and become stronger.
All of this will add up to a healthier and stronger body. If you are underweight, you will gain muscles and strength and probably crave protein to help you get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you will become leaner and stronger, fat will slowly be replaced by muscles. Whatever your current state is, Bikram Yoga will help you get your balanced body (and mind).
Personally, I don't really have weight to lose. I do have some padding ;) and I have definitely seen a reduction in that. I can definitely feel less padding (read: fat) between my skin and the muscles when I push down on my stomach or butt. I doubt that I have lost any weight though. I have probably gained some, because I have gained quite a bit of muscle mass. That's perfectly fine though, because it's about balance and I was pretty well balanced when it comes to fat even before I started the Bikram Yoga.
If you have any questions about this, please don't be shy! (No account needed to comment.)

All in all, this challenge was great for me! It was stressful, because I was working full-time (and more). But it was great to see that I could do it and that my body LOVES this yoga!


If this made you curious about Bikram Yoga, you can find the closest studio location on Bikram Choudhury's official website here: Bikram Yoga studio locations.

4 comments:

  1. I'm in my last week of my 30 day challenge and I have to say, everything you just said, I totally agree with! I feel so good, I'm considering doing a 60 day challenge. I'm addicted to Bikram for sure!

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    1. That's wonderful, good job! If you can swing the the 60 Day Challenge time-wise, do it! I haven't been able to do one so far, but I hear you really work through some stuff in days 30 through 60. Good luck!

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  2. As a Bikram teacher and nutritionist, I was really happy to hear you mention needing to supplement with electrolytes! And yes, most people practicing every day really DO need to supplement electrolytes with something other than fruit, coconut juice, lemon, salt, etc., or you're going to be in for trouble! Hope you enjoy the rest of your challenge!

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