Why I Hate the Heat, but Did a 30-Day Bikram Challenge


I never thought of myself as an athlete. Running makes me feel like my body is decaying one step at a time and I never participated in sports (hate competition). It might surprise people then that last month I participated in my own personal 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge. I spent roughly the equivalent of one full work week in a room set to 105 degrees with other semi-clothed insane people.

Why would I do this? Well the basic reason I chose to was because I could. I would also note that I went into it as someone who already had a regular practice for over two years. However, when my husband and I moved to Philadelphia I disconnected from the two styles of yoga I loved, Bikram and Jivamukti, and started using ClassPass. I went from practicing Bikram 5 times a week to a few times a month with ClassPass. Last month I decided that the only way to rekindle my love of being sweaty was to commit to doing it #everydamnday.

Again, I go back to the fact that I chose to do 30 days because I knew I could do it and why not. It wouldn’t kill me. The worse that could happen was that I fall back in love and want to pay for a monthly membership.

Bikram tests me unlike anything else I have done. In fact, there are many stories of professional athletes going to a class and dropping like a fly. But here is the thing, having to sit down doesn’t mean anything except the meaning you place on it. The 26 postures in hot temperatures shatters the ego. Yes, you will gain flexibility, strength, stamina, shed some lbs/gain muscle, but it does not mean that you will be perfect after years of going.

Every day is different, every day like every pose is also temporary. If you get hung up on falling out of a pose you will miss out on the other 25 postures you improved from the day before. You do each pose twice, once for a minute, once for 30 seconds. You learn patience while staring at yourself in the mirror. You learn to let the poses wash over you knowing that they are only held for a few breaths and then you move on. My first class back I had to sit down–a lot. At first my loss of flexibility and tolerance to the heat bothered me. However, I knew if I kept going that would only be temporary.

After 30 days of class I did a lot of laundry. I also learned to enjoy the process. It is a marathon anyone can do, but not everyone may want to try. Give it a shot! So what if you have to spend the entire time seated? You are the only one judging yourself.

I feel like a sweaty warrior after finishing a class. Dare I say I feel like an athlete?

by Kristie DePippo