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90 day natural fitness challenge: Day 2…Beginner Bikram lessons learned

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Insomnia has been a painful issue with me for some time now.  I’m hoping that 90 straight days of exercise will help me fall asleep earlier and that I can experience deep rest.  Deepak Chopra says that dynamic activity begets deep rest which begets dynamic activity…

So this morning I crawled in bed at 3AM and lay there unable to fall asleep until about 4:30AM.  It was real TOUGH to get my ass up at 9 for yoga.  But that’s the great thing about a commitment to something bigger–like the 90 day challenge–I got up.

And I am really glad I did.  I was able to take Damon’s class (he is one of the owner’s of Bikram Yoga Palm Desert) for the first time.  Damon is hilarious and his class is fun while still being focused on max exertion.  When I used to practice on a regular basis I was always blown away when I learned something entirely new.  Today Damon taught me two things in class that I had never heard before:

  • In the balancing stick posture Damon actually did a breath count with us!  I’ve heard teachers simply say to make sure you breathe in this posture, but he literally guided us through 3 or 4 deep inhalations and exhalations.  It changed my entire perspective of this posture and what I could potentially do with it as I progress.

The man and the pose...Damon doing balancing stick pose

  • The other thing he said which blew me away has to do with a pose that’s almost at the end of class and that in the past I always payed little attention to and sort of treated like a “cool down” stretch.  It’s called janushirasana with paschimottanasana or “head to knee pose.”  But the last part of this poses name is “intense stretching posture.”  I had NEVER heard that before and a light bulb went on and I did stretch more “intensely” and it was amazing!  So thanks Damon.

The other thing I love about being a beginner with Bikram is that it’s actually easier as a beginner.  Sounds weird, but when you are new, just trying to breathe and stay in the heated room is an intense workout.  You get a little better and just doing all the postures is a big thing.  When I practiced every day and got a little more proficient is when it got really difficult.  Suddenly I was flooded with nuances that make the practice even more hard core.  So I’m going to relish being a beginner again!!!

One last observation about Bikram has to do with listening.  We all suck at it.  Seriously.  And Bikram is this place where you can practice listening, not just to the instructors voice, but your body too.

Today is a 100% raw food day for me

My plan is to continue eating a ton of raw fruits and veggies every day.  But several times a week I will eat 100% raw for the entire day.  It’s such a powerful way to not let food cravings get out of hand and I have a lot more energy when I go all the way…

Today so far:

  • Quart of water before yoga
  • Coconut water before yoga (only thing I like having before a Bikram class, a little natural sugar & tons of electrolytes)
  • Another quart of water during class
  • Shopped at Farmer’s Market
  • Made a delicious smoothie: Juice from 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  1 cup frozen blueberries.  Packed the remaining space in the blender w/ organic spinach.  Blended and drank down this perfectly flavor balanced combo!
  • A tropical tango smoothie from Luscious Lorraine’s Juice Bar in Palm Desert.  It’s packed with coconut water & coconut meat and tropical fruits!
  • Tonight when I get back from a late night working at the bar I will make raw nachos.  I top Leaf Organics  raw corn chips with heaps of fresh guacamole, cut up black olives, cilantro, and my favorite raw hot sauce made by Cafe Gratitude which I bought extra bottles of last time I was up in the Bay Area!
  • And then for desert I will have Uli Mana’s raw chocolate truffles with a glass of organic red wine!

I’m not sure yet what I will do tomorrow for the fitness part of this challenge.  But I’m looking forward to putting my body to work again tomorrow.

Cheers! And I hope you are enjoying this long New Years weekend.

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Author: Gray

Son of a traveling salesman who infected me early with gypsy wanderlust and the urge to move somewhere new every couple years to try on new identities. All my fantasies are escapist and in them I am free to never have to call anyplace home.

3 thoughts on “90 day natural fitness challenge: Day 2…Beginner Bikram lessons learned

  1. Awesome post Ken! I’m glad your back in the hot room with us, staying committed to it and your goal. Much respect to you doing this for yourself.

  2. I am not sure if you have legit sleep issues or if your insomnia has recently started but I wanted to share this with you in case it helps. When I first went raw, one of the first things I noticed was the need for less sleep. I was waking up at 6:30am refreshed and ready to go, which trust me has never happened so it is freakish. Also, I find that if I don’t do much during the day – workout, etc – it is hard to fall asleep until later at night. So that is that. Hope it helps. ❤

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