Ready, set... blog!

So I’m a little late to the blogosphere, but here it is: My blog chronicling the Bikram 101 Challenge. I had debated about whether or not to start a blog, as I felt that keeping up with the demands of the challenge itself might be enough; I didn’t want to feel added pressure to have to post. However, curious friends, family and colleagues have expressed interest in knowing the progression of my seemingly gargantuan and maybe-a-little-bit-crazy-but-still-totally-awesome undertaking. The whole thing seems that way to me too sometimes, and so therefore I think I should attempt to share my experience. I may not post every single day, but I’m hoping for a few times a week.

For those of you who don’t know what Bikram Yoga is, and/or haven’t caught wind of what I’m up to, here’s a little background:

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures (asanas) and 2 breathing exercises done in a room where conditions are intentionally very hot and very humid. Just how hot and humid? Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 40% humidity! The extreme heat allows one to safely achieve a much deeper stretch in the postures. The goal is to stimulate internal organs and deliver highly oxygenated blood all throughout the body- healing it from the inside out.

Bikram is a demanding practice, and during the 90-minute classes it is natural that participants will be sweating buckets, breathing hard, and getting their heart rates up. And yes, we’re still talking about yoga here- it is a serious workout. Given the intensity it is, of course, natural to experience some discomfort- nausea, dizziness, a sense of being overwhelmed, etc. But as regular practitioners adjust and grow more attune to their own bodies, they usually overcome these symptoms. As any Bikram teacher will tell you, most people only experience difficulty with the heat for the first couple of classes. From then on, their only issue will be when the room is not hot enough.

Although it’s fair to say that Bikram is a challenging form of yoga, it is still, for the most part, a "come one, come all" type of practice. Within the same class there will often be students who’s fitness and ability levels vary greatly. Also, contrary to popular belief, yoga is not only for those who are flexible. Flexibility will improve with continued practice, but it is not a prerequisite.

The physical health benefits of regular practice are as plentiful as one could expect from a rigorous workout such as this. However, beyond that, there are mental and emotional benefits galore that Bikram provides. This is actually the reason I started practicing some months ago. I was looking to lift my psyche, regain focus, commit to something that was personally fulfilling and just for me.  Just for me.  It is OK to put ourselves first sometimes. We deserve our own time just as much as anybody else, and sometimes our own self is the person most in need of it. After all, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we cannot effectively take care of anyone else. And to me, being personally fulfilled means I have more to offer others anyway.

These thoughts are what brought me to
Bikram Yoga Northampton to begin practicing, and it was there that I came to believe in Bikram’s restorative powers. So much so that on 1-1-2010 I took my commitment to an even higher level by becoming a participant in the Bikram 101 Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to do 101 Bikram classes in 101 consecutive days. As I was previously only practicing 2 to 3 times per week, this considerably ups the ante. Recently there was an article featured in O Magazine written by a woman who was attempting to makeover her life by doing a 60-day Bikram challenge. In part 2 of her narrative, author Paige Williams has this to say:

“One afternoon in the middle of ustrasana, or camel pose—a killer backbend that some consider the toughest posture in the whole practice—it occurs to me that if I can remain calm and focused while in such a physically stressful state, I can get through anything. The studio around me is full of people who know just what I mean. They practice not because a Bikram studio is a particularly lovely place to spend 90 minutes a day but because without it, they would be angry, inflexible, immobilized, fatigued, intolerant, petty, pained, and maybe even dead. The type-A personalities feel calmer. Every student has a story.”

So, here I will tell my story.

The challenge is already well underway and day 30—an anticipated milestone—is right around the corner. However, I’m going to post some of my journal entries from the earlier days. I’ll be trying to keep up with regular postings here going forward.


  1. Terrific!! I love forward to following you, especially since you're practicing in my hometown! I hope you go to Haymarket after class sometime for a juice... I really like the "gin and tonic" one myself. Can't remember what they put in it, but it's super delicious. :-) Can't wait to hear your stories...

  2. thank you! i love YOUR blog! i just got myself set up on here and officially became a follower, but i've been reading it since the beginning of the challenge... along with other challenge blogs, and the the main Bikram 101 blog of course! (read: i've become a yoga junkie) so you're from 'Hamp- that's awesome! i grew up in Western MA not too far away and now work and practice there. i'll have to try your recommendation from Haymarket- i've never gotten a juice from there!