You Have Now Left Your Comfort Zone; Please Enjoy the Ride

My nutrition has been status quo since the beginning of the week. It is pretty easy to plan meals when you make a dozen and a half mini meatloafs and own three different flavors of protein powder. Breakfast shake and a bar midmorning, followed by meatloaf and frozen peas for lunch, dinner was a quick protein shake before going to yoga, and post work yoga I had a Quest bar and some frozen grapes. Pretty boring but tasty and with in my nutritional requirements.

My exercise choice today was yoga. Not just any yoga, but Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga, sometimes refered to as “Hot Yoga” is a practice of 26 poses, each performed twice. The practice begins with a breathing exercise followed by 12 standing poses and 12 floor poses and completed with a final breathing exercise. The practice is performed in a room 104 degrees farenheit, with 60% humidity. This is to mimic the environment of India where founder, Bikram Choudhury, developed and practiced the sequence of poses designed to detox the body while developing strength, flexibility, focus, and discipline.

Savasana (aka Corpse Pose) is the most relaxing and rejuvinating pose in the series!
Savasana (aka Corpse Pose) is the most relaxing and rejuvenating pose in the series!

The first rule of Bikram Yoga, is you do not talk about Bikram Yoga… no wait, that’s not right… that’s Fight Club. The first rule of Bikram Yoga is stay in the room. It didn’t really occur to me until I had gotten through a handful of classes, it is really the only thing you MUST do. It will take a while to get the poses down (it is why they call is a Yoga Practice, not a Yoga Perfect… common quote heard in the studio) you just have to do your best you can for that day. The real challenge of Bikram is being present in the moment, in the posture, without being distracted by the world around you. Its hot, you are sweating from places you didn’t know could sweat, you stink to high heaven and back, you’re sliding all over your towel and mat and you have 90 minutes and 26 postures to get through. However, If you can get over come all these distractions, you begin to realize that you can get though pretty much anything. You can survive difficult and uncomfortable situations with out a crutch. You don’t need to reach for a drink, a pill, a scoop of ice cream, or just fold under the pressure. You can persevere

I look at Bikram Yoga the same way people look at Cold Shower Therapy. (If you are not familiar with CST, check out my boy Joel Runyon’s TEDTalk about them HERE)  A five-minute long cold shower just sucks… just not as much as you think. After a minute or two, your body begins to adjust and you can tolerate the uncomfortable feelings. It is the idea and the fear associated with leaving your comfort zone that makes it a challenge. Same thing with Bikram Yoga. Being uncomfortable, (aka hot, sweaty, and smelly) for 90 minutes increases your tolerance and gives you a passport out of your comfort zone.

Try challenging yourself with a class sometime soon. You can get through it… just stay in the room!


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