Over 90 days this summer and fall, I completed 90 Bikram yoga classes – each 90 minutes long and each clocking in at between 105 and 113 degrees and 40 percent humidity. I took my first Bikram yoga class about five years ago while I was still in law school, and I started taking classes at Bikram Yoga Dupont (BY Dupont) about 2 ½ years ago. I never could have predicted that I would ever attempt, yet survive a yoga challenge. And while it may sound cliché, the 90-day Bikram yoga challenge truly did positively impact my mind, body, and spirit. The teachers at BY Dupont are amazing and the studio is welcoming.
We can all admit that at least once we’ve searched online “How much weight do you lose from Bikram yoga?” and “How much weight will you lose from a hot yoga challenge?” Every body is unique, but over the course of the 90days I lost about 10 pounds and saw a trimmer physique. I’ve suffered from acne for years, and I’ve seen my skin clear up and brighten. But my favorite change has been my bigger smile!
The 90-day challenge also pushed my body to new limits and helped me regain some of my strength and flexibility. Growing up, I did ballet and other forms of dance, and I played division one competitive rugby in college and continued playing on a competitive women’s team while in law school. All of this was sidelined a few years ago when I developed arthritis in my back and hips that made me suffer constant pain – it was difficult to tie my shows and some days I could barely walk. In 2014, I was diagnosed with ankylsing spondylitis – a form of rheumatoid arthritis with no cure. Under my doctor’s supervision, I started using Bikram yoga classes coupled with medication and physical therapy. Towards the end of the 90-day challenge, I finally started to feel “normal” again – pain-free and mobile!
The 90-day challenge helped restore focus, discipline, and preparedness in my life. Aside from one morning when I had an event, I took the 6:15 a.m. class every weekday. This required me to wake up at 5 a.m. — something I haven’t done since law school. It took discipline for me to make it to each class and hydrate and nourish my body properly. Of course, I did not do this alone – I had the encouragement of the teachers and students at the studio, my family, and my two kittens, Rocco and Blossom, who made sure I was up and out of bed (at least to feed them!).
The morning of class #90, I literally ran up all four flights of stairs to check-in for class and I had a bag smile on my face that only got bigger as the class proceeded. Over the course of the 90-day challenge, I only had a few goals – to finish and to smile. I think I succeeded at both. There were multiple classes in which I laughed and I constantly tried to absorb positive energy from my classmates and, hopefully, spread some of my cheer. I was also encouraged by anonymous notes left on the challenge wall.
One of the downsides of my arthritis treatments is that I have low immunity. Just after finishing the 90-day challenge I developed an upper respiratory infection that kept me out off the yoga mat for most of November. But I will begin taking classes more frequently starting this week– hopefully at least 4 to 5 classes per week. I’m also breaking in a new yoga mat. I hope to do another 90-day challenge next year, and my hope is to keep going beyond class 90. Come join me!
I was only able to finish my 90-day challenge because of the community that surrounds me. I am truly grateful!
Rocco and Blossom – These kittens are better than an alarm clock!
Family, Friends and Colleagues – Yes, I made it past class #10 lol
BY Dupont Teachers and Classmates: Carolan, Lauren, Julie, Yasmin, Bob, Jennie, Mark, Fiorella, Stephen – Each of you are inspiring
Gail and the Karma Yogis – Your encouragement was essential
Rajashree – Thank you for sharing your practice and expertise
Meet me on the (pink and purple) mat!