I met Chris Caffey seven or so years ago, when we were both new to personal training.  Even though she no longer trains clients, she still lives a wellness lifestyle and encourages others to do the same.  Chris is a single-mama who works a full-time office job, so I was inspired by her self-organized 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge. I asked if she’d share the lessons she learned with Running On Balance.

chriscaffey

Last Friday, I finished my 30-day Bikram yoga challenge at Pure Bikram that I started at 10:30 PM on New Year’s Eve. That’s 45 hours (more than a work week) of yoga at 105 degrees and 40% humidity every day for a month. (I skipped 2 days and then doubled up on 2 other days). On top of that, this required an additional ~40 hours of driving, warm up, showering, and laundry. I did it to see if I could and to determine exactly what the benefits of my practice are to me.

Here are the top 10 things I learned:

10. Doing Bikram every day is really hard on your body, but I knew that going in. I think 2-3 times a week is plenty.
9. Bikram is a great way to clear your lungs and sinuses when you have allergies; clear up your skin; get rid of spider veins; dehydrate yourself; and get callouses on your chin, knees, and knuckles.
8. Bikram makes your legs rock hard, your back strong, and your waist look amazing, but you still need to supplement with upper body and core strength training.
7. Bikram is a great fat burning workout, but it doesn’t raise your heart rate long enough to give you full cardio benefits.
6. You can lose a fair amount of weight doing Bikram. I lost 10 pounds (~7% of my starting weight).
5. My housemate and daughter are awesome. They tolerated a lot of clean laundry lying around, my messes not getting picked up, and the Christmas tree up way too long. My daughter walked to and from the bus stop several days without complaint so that I could get my classes in and fixed her own meals more often than normal. My closest friends tolerated not seeing me much and dealt well with my exhaustion when they did see me.
4. I have three wonderful friends who are AMAZING for going to class with me.
3. Everyone is awesome for cheering me on– keeping myself accountable on Facebook gave my friends a venue for supporting me.
2. Prioritizing yourself above everything else is a real challenge. We all need to do it more often.
1. Doing the thing is more important that doing the thing perfectly every time. Sometimes, you can’t do the thing at all, and you need to let yourself off the hook.

What about you?  Have you done a 30-day challenge that has given you a new perspective?  Share it with us in the comments!