I took my first hot yoga class on Wednesday, March 16 (6 months ago). I had known about Bikram for about 4 years but I was really scared, like really, really scared so I took class prior to the challenge because I wanted to get that “unknown” over with. I would say what drew me in was I had this deep feeling that this therapy would be highly beneficial for me. I’m a healthy person in the sense that I have a strong immune system but practitioners over the years had always told me that yoga would be good for my body, mind and spirit. It was time for me to take action and give it a solid chance to transform my body.
What was your biggest fear when you began practicing yoga?
I turned 45 this year and I needed a significant restart. I had been exercising 4 times a week leading up the challenge but I needed a level leap that didn’t involve impact like jumping or running. I think the acclimation period was the hardest part. I just had get over the fact that this practice was so different than anything I had ever done before. After about 25 classes, I could simply notice how my body was feeling, breathe and let it go into stillness.
Did you have any health issues at the beginning of your practice? Were you on any medications?
I had rosacea on my cheeks and forehead. I had a patch of dry, itchy, cracking skin on my left palm, I was about 50 lbs. overweight. I had a very concave spine from carrying two very large babies in utero. I had had significantly improved my diastasis recti but there was still more work to do. I had lower back surgery when I was in my early 20’s due to a ruptured disc at which the surgeon just removed the ruptured part of the disc.
I was not on any medications, but I was taking the following supplements a couple times a week; collagen peptides or bone broth, bentonite clay, diatomaceous earth, fermented cod liver oil
Any recent updates to the above?
The rosacea is gone. The patch of eczema on my left palm is gone. All of my skin is incredibly soft even though I’ve been dry brushing 4x per week for years and it’s never been as soft as it has from hot yoga. I’ve lost over 25 lbs. I feel taller now and I can lay flat on my back with my heels together and my left thigh doesn’t fall asleep. I feel like I can lay flatter on the floor now and it feels good. My stomach pooch is smaller and the skin is getting tighter, less flabby than before. I still take the supplements but not the cod liver oil anymore. I definitely crave more fresh vegetables and fruits. We do minimal processed foods in our home, but even when we have treats or chips, I’m less likely to consume them because I don’t crave it. I drink substantially less wine and cocktails because I’m very conscious of staying hydrated for class (I go 5x per week). I go to sleep around 9:30pm most nights which is about 1.5 hours earlier.
Do you have a favorite and/or a least favorite posture?
Ever since Jessica encouraged me to try grabbing my heels in camel posture, I’m suddenly falling asleep easier at night. Before getting into that expression of the posture, I was having a difficult time getting still at night to fall asleep, but not anymore!! My least favorite posture is the cobra series during the 60 minute class because it seems so rushed, I don’t feel like I get enough out of it, especially Shavasana in between sets.
What's your greatest challenge in class currently? Have the challenges you face in class changed over time?
After my 100th class, I decided to move to the front row. I keep my glasses on the shelf in the back of the room so I feel a little shook up with balancing now because I can see myself better in class. My right side seems a bit unstable in Triangle and Floor Bow.
I remember just rejoicing that I made it through class. For months, I would still get nervous before class but that has shifted. There are so many things I’ve weaned myself of and that feels really good. I come hydrated to class and I don’t bring a water bottle into the room with me. I use to wear more clothes and care what I looked like, but now I wear as little as possible (a sports bra and shorts). I completed the 3 month Total Transformation Challenge and set another 3 month challenge for myself because I was happy with my results and I want it to continue. Hopefully, I’ll be able to transition into “maintenance mode” by the end of the year. I value the stillness between postures and avoid moving my body because my hair or sweat is tickling my skin.
On a side note, after the initial challenge, I articulated to my older sister that when I walk out of the studio after class, I have sweated and exerted myself to a parallel as I did in my youth when I competed in sports. It’s that energy lift or feeling at that very moment that I can revisit what it felt like to be in my skin in my youth. It’s a brief and bizarre feeling that I can actually access my youth even if it’s just while I walk to my car. But wow, it’s pretty incredible.