100 Day Challenge – How do I feel?

by Tim Clark on May 14, 2017

100 Day Challenge  – 100 Hot Yoga Classes in 100 Days
 
Years ago, when we were all Bikram Studios, the 30 Day Challenge was ‘A Thing’.
This coincided with all ‘Intro Offers’ being £30 for 30 days and Studios encouraging Students to see and feel the benefits for themselves by building a regular consistent practice.
There were ‘Challenge Boards’ in Reception and you got to stick a little star up each day so everyone could see it and support you and maybe as an added incentive you may get a month of free yoga upon completion. Great idea and a wonderful way to consolidate your yoga practice .
Bikram used to say ‘Practice every day for 100 days and you will have a new life’ and we’d hear reports of Studios in New York running 100 day Challenges, but that was just craziness. Occasionally, there’d be a Student who was going thru a major life change who might bust out a 200 or even 365 consecutive day Practice but, ain’t nobody got time for that!  
Even on Teacher Training, you get Sundays off, right?
 
It had been a few years since I’ve done a 30 day Challenge. Teaching in the Hot Room daily over 3 different towns, spending 15 hours a week travelling, running my own business, being a single mum and the only hot yoga teacher in my town means that it’s a challenge to get to practice more than 3 times a week. 
But after one of my Students complained that she didn’t have time for more than one practice a week, I arranged a schedule for both her and I to practice every single day for 7 days in a few studios from the South Downs to London, arranged around both of our work schedules. My point was to prove that despite being working single mums, if we really wanted to do it then we would make it happen. 
 
The Rules…
The classes could be 60 or 90 Minutes in the Bishnu Ghosh/Bikram Method, Intermediate & Advanced Classes could count but only as 1 practice. If you miss a day, then you have to do 2 the next day. Simple.
 
 
Nevertheless, dear Student fell off the wagon for whatever reasons, hey, it’s also OK to say ‘I don’t want to Practice that much.’
But I remained resolute (aka stubborn) and completed the whole week. 
But nearing the end of that first week it dawned on me that if I could do a week, then I could do a month. Holy Crap
So a month it was and the 30 Day Challenge proved interesting. Aside of the usual tears on Days 11 & 17, I felt high as a kite most of the time! But as the giggles and silliness faded, I noticed that I hadn’t had single menopausal hot flush the entire month. My digestion improved and I wasn’t waking in the night for a 3am pee. But most importantly my Knee Pain TOTALLY vanished  – so much so that my Surgeon refused to give me the scheduled Steroid injection as there was now no reason for it. 
In short, I felt FABULOUS!
 
 
THEN as I completed my 30 Day Challenge a few other Yoga Teachers started throwing down the gauntlet –  ‘If you’ve done 30, then you might as well carry on to 100 days!’
I was slightly dismayed. It wasn’t that I felt they were dismissing my previous efforts – I felt really proud of myself, light and strong. But I needed to attend to Paperwork, I had a Yoga Holiday or 3 to organise. What about my son? Why was I doing this? Surely I would get burnt out? 
But I just carried on (actually, I felt too good to stop) I became SUPER ORGANISED, warned friends and family that I was on a mission now so don’t bother inviting me to anything ever again, paid attention to my diet & rest, and showed up on the mat every single day. Because that IS the challenge.
It’s not about how good your practice is, how much weight you lose, what new postures you can do now. Sometimes I really REALLY didn’t want to go to Yoga.
It is about just showing up on the mat, no excuses, every single day, WHATEVER else is going on in your life. 
I thought ‘Nomes, if you cannot arrange your life to do something amazing for your own health & you are in the health industry helping others then you are in the wrong job.’
 
 
You just cannot let anything else get in the way!
 
 
 
 
So now I’m on Day 99 & I’ve done 100 Classes (101 tomorrow to finish  – the extra one covers my ass in case I was in anyway lazy along the way!) & I’m looking back on the last 3.5 months of Yoga Every Damn Day.
 
So what did I get out of Practicing 100 Day Challenge?
 
  • I have no pain anywhere in my entire body. This hasn’t happened since about 2006
 
  • I feel like I can hold my head up high – achieving something just for ME has been such a shift
 
  • My strong practice is back again – its not deep or fancy, but I’m not AS fazed by the temperature in the room being too high/low or a bored-sounding teacher 
 
  • I still fall out of Head to Knee & Left Side Toe Stand is dire but hey…
 
  • There is a quiet efficiency to Practice (and LIFE) right now, that’s reduced the internal chatter
 
  • I still have a mum-bod but I wear shorts & bra top anyway – hang the judgement
 
  • I’ve enjoyed surprise random breakthroughs in Splits, Headstand, Handstand, Lotus – all nemesis postures for me check my Insta
 
  • Energetically, I feel very open to saying ‘Yes’ to new things

 

  • I feel ok about saying ‘NO’ to things I don’t want to do/prioritise my own needs
 
  • Obsessed with eating Salad, particularly Salad Niscoise even for Breakfast (sorry Vegans) I can’t get enough Eggs, Tuna & Cucumber or Olives!
 
  • My clothes fit better. I never weigh myself as size is not how I measure happiness, but enjoying having some room in there & feeling comfortable…
 
  • I remember how much I LOVED Bikram Yoga 20 years ago & how GOOD I feel in the mornings when I wake up smiling and stretch ALL the way down to my toes 
 
  • I confidently rode a BIKE for the first time in about 35 years & now am going to buy one of my own as that was SO much fun riding with my son in the sunshine!
 
  • Realised that when my mothering duties are somewhat reduced I would like to spend 6 months of the year in India and want to open a little seasonal Hot Yoga Studio in Goa 
 
  • Being firm with myself (& others) in creating 1 day off a week for myself (Sunday) & now I’m only going to Teach workshops & classes 1 Sunday per month & let the others be a chill day.
 
  • Have a sense of ‘Possibility’ that feels A-MAZING!
 
  • Self Practice happens reliably & after 20 years is now something I know is always there for me as long as I can use a Hot Room/be in India in April.
 
  • I’m not asking my Students to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself – when I say ‘Try Practicing every day’ it’s because I KNOW it’s gonna work for them!
 
 
Teachers, walk your talk! 
 
I think it’s harder for Yoga Teachers to get their Practice in. I keep hearing ‘But now I’m Teaching I don’t get to Practice so much.’ This is OK for a short time only but needs to be shifted in the long-term. You cannot continue to serve your Students without having Yoga in your Mind, Body & Heart, let alone yourself. Life doesn’t stop with daily practice; the child will still keep growing, eventually the car will get washed, the house will get cleaned, the bills will get paid.  Actually, the world will still keep turning, and maybe your inner world a little smoother since you process all your emotional crap along the way rather than let it build up! 
 
What would I do differently next time?
 
Yes it IS difficult Teaching 15+ hot classes a week AND then going in to Practice yourself.
I think it would be ideal to complete a Challenge having a regular 9-5 job then perhaps doing 1 or even a double class after work in the same town I live in to get into some kind of routine.
I am glad to have my own Studio in Eastbourne which I can use for Self Practice & grateful to have online recordings of other Teachers teaching Bikram Yoga class so that I can press play & off I go. Sadly, I must confess I have also Practiced to my own recording which is a little weird but hey ho, needs must. I work harder to ‘Dialogue’ than I do to Music or a Counted Breath even if it’s my own annoying voice from 2011.
It would have been easier to have a wider range of classes in my local area, but I’m grateful to both The Hot Yoga hub in Brighton (who’ve been very welcoming & not charged me for Class even tho I don’t teach there!) & Hot Yoga Society at London Bridge who have fulfilled my Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & occasional Sunday Practices when I’ve needed the energy of a Public Class.
I really miss the 90 mins Beginners Classes on the Schedule at most ex-Bikram Studios. Most are offering so many 60 mins, Vinyasa, Advanced, Intermediate Classes, that its hard to get into the rhythm of ‘same thing, same time’ that the traditional 30 or 100 Day Bikram Yoga Challenges were about.
It would have been wonderful if the Airport employee at Mumbai had allowed me to Practice in the Prayer Room on my 5 hour stopover. The room was perfectly quiet, empty & carpeted with a cute little shoe cubby outside – but it was not to be.
It was hard to keep on top of my own practice WHILST leading a Yoga Retreat and that’s where I fell behind 4 practices (including 2 days of flying), but made them up by pulling some doubles when I got home.
I would also have appreciated 10 hours sleep a night, a few massages and a personal Chef but those are on my list for the next Challenge, right?!
 
Does it feel like the end or the beginning!
 
So, am I going to carry on to 365? Honestly, I have no idea. I quite fancy not practicing on Tuesday, but know I’ll be in Advanced on Wednesday! 
Ultimately, I want to see what it feels like to have a day totally FREE of the Hot Room, but actually I feel that I’ll probably be back to 5 or 6 Classes a week as I was as a new Teacher. Probably, I am stronger and have marginally more range of motion in places, but Body asks for Yoga after having it daily & walks itself into Class!
Knowing that I CAN Practice every day without quibbles if I want to is HUGELY liberating & ‘Being on a Challenge’ put a magically protective, almost sacred, bubble around my time on the mat. People in the Studios where I practice got that, those most important to me also got that. If I need that again, then I can do it again. My life again feels like my own to make choices about – there is now room in there for ‘me’ either side of being a Mum & Teaching Yoga to as many people as I can. 
 
So, maybe Bikram was right about this thing  – not that you will have a whole new life after 100 days, but that you will have YOUR LIFE back again.
 
From the bottom of my wide open heart I want to THANK YOU if you’ve been one of those special wonderful people supporting me on this journey – or even joining me as one or two of you have – you know who you are and you INSPIRE me daily!
 
I do hope you Yogis try a Hot Yoga Challenge of your own…
 
GOOD LUCK & ENJOY!
 
Namaste, 
 
Naomi x
 
 
 
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosalynn May 14, 2017 at 9:32 pm

I miss you and my practice. You are an inspiration as from the first day I had the pleasure of attending your class! Thank you for sharing. 🙌🏻🤗

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Tim Clark May 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Hey – what a lovely comment! so great to hear from you! Don’t I remember you completing a challenge yourself? xxx

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