Thursday, March 25, 2010

The 60-day versus 60-class debate

I'm currently doing a 60-day Bikram Yoga challenge. Over the weekend, I did a double and when one of the other students at the studio asked me why, I said so that I'd finish the challenge sooner. A teacher overheard and reminded me that it's called a 60-day challenge, not a 60-class challenge. And part of the challenge is to carve out 90 minutes each day during those 60 days to practice. According to Paul Askew, "If you do a double or triple one day, then good for you. Makes you stronger, but it does not count for 2 or 3 days." (See Oh My Bikram for more on this topic.) I'm a purist at heart, so I've had to recalibrate.

I started this challenge on February 14 (for reasons related to the day that I won't get into here), which makes today day 40. I've done four doubles during this time. Because of all these doubles, I actually went back to count a couple classes I'd done before February 14. I realize now this is cheating. So using February 14 as my starting point, tonight's class will bring me to 44 classes. But I still have 20 more days ahead of me. And because I'll have to add one extra day for good measure, I'll officially finish my challenge on April 15 with 65 or so classes under my belt.

Can you believe I was late for work yesterday morning figuring all of this out?

Truth be told, I'm glad I still have another 20 days to go. I'm enjoying this challenge immensely and the journey's been incredible. While I struggled to get to class in the first 20 days, the 20 days since then have been a real joy. Practicing yoga is the highlight of my day. Friends and family have commented that I look happy and healthy. And it's true. My eyes seem brighter and my skin is glowing. My body feels amazing, my outlook is positive, and I'm sleeping like a baby.

It's also done wonders for my practice, as everyday I try to focus on something new. I've seen improvements in my standing bow and believe I'll be able to touch my forehead to my knee in standing head to knee for longer than two seconds by the end of this challenge. It's also given me confidence that I'll be able to survive teacher training, where you practice 96 classes in nine weeks. And hey, now I can check that box on the application that asks if you've ever practiced Bikram Yoga for 30 continuous days -- not once but twice!

Two-thirds of the way through my 60-day challenge and all is well. I look forward to what the next 20 days will bring!


  1. I'm glad the challenge is working for you, C. But I wouldn't sweat (ha, ha) missing the occasional class and putting others in the bank. I don't understand the rigidity in the "must practice every day" mandate. What if you get sick? What if someone gets married and you need to spend the day out of town? Are you really supposed to put your whole life on hold (or health, as in the case of being sick) to do yoga? Isn't it supposed to support your life? Doubling up a couple of times seems like a legit way to compensate for that. I remember reading a similar idea in Bikram's gold book: he even says you DON'T have to practice every day for the rest of your life--that's not the goal, self-improvement is.

    I guess I do see their point in general--consistency is important. Looks like I just got on a soap box!

    I also admit I have never done a challenge, so I hope you took that with one giant grain of salt :-)

  2. Oops. I just looked at the OMB site you linked. All of my points were made there, much more eloquently than I just made them ;-) No original thoughts here!

  3. I agree with Yolk E... Doing the 101 Challenge, I am currently three classes behind. But I will more than be able to get on track to meet my April 11th deadline of 101 classes in 101 days.

    If someone can get into a daily practice, it's great! But in modern world, there are going to be commitments outside of the yoga that require our time. I think you're doing an AMAZING job! You are so committed...

    And, with all your back-to-back classes, you will MORE than be able to handle the schedule at training.

  4. Why stop at 60, Christine? Keep going to 90, 101, or until the end of time :)

    As for the skipping a day thing, most of my points were made in that OMB post. If you don't want to take your medicine the right way, you will not get the same results; part of the challenge is 30, 60, 90, 101 consecutive days -- regardless of what is going on in your life, no excuses.

    It's about priorities and in this challenge the priority is the yoga, not X, Y or Z.

    Doing this challenge in no way prepares you for training. Nothing will.

  5. I will have to stop at 60 days because unfortunately I don't have the luxury to make the yoga my number one priority for any longer than that. It's been a real challenge to bolt out of work in time to get to yoga and my social life has been almost non-existent. It's simply not sustainable.

    I am following the rules, Paul, so you should be proud! :) I've never been able to commit to any sort of challenge before, so this is my time to do it.

    And I do think it's preparing me for TT because it's teaching me commitment and discipline -- both of which TT demands.

    I'll be in your 7 pm class tonight. I'm looking forward to studying your dialogue, but don't pick on me too much!

    Missus: 101 classes in 101 days is an amazing feat and one I couldn't commit to myself. You've been an incredible inspiration to me and to countless others in the Bikram Yoga community worldwide!