Bikram Yoga : My First Class (in two years)

I thought it'd be cool to document my experiences with Bikram Yoga! :)

I chose Bikram because of the serious health benefits it brings, plus I do love a challenge and pushing my body and mind beyond it's comfort zone gives me such a high. To be honest 90 minutes of yoga in 104 degrees Fahrenheit - 40 degrees Celsius - and 100% humidity is about as challenging as it gets for me.

My philosophy towards exercise has always been if you're not sweating, you're not doing it right. Bikram will make you sweat in places you didn't know had the potential to sweat - your shins for example! There are 26 postures, which doesn't seem like a lot but my god you will have to keep your focus to stop your mind from going to the "please make it stop" place.

What I found interesting during the class I took on Monday was that I was able to keep control of my breathing a lot better and push through moments of serious anxiety and borderline panic when my nervous system was being activated by the postures. I also had no option but to look at my body in the mirror to adjust into the correct form, and accept what I was seeing was the truth. That was very, very hard and a lot of scary thoughts began to surface.

When I was last attempting Bikram, in 2012, I was skirting around 50-53kg, struggling in sobriety and anorexia was still very much present. My body and mind were very sick and I just could not complete the class. On Monday I was 77.6kgs, fast approaching 2 years of sobriety and off all medication for the first time in 18 months. I completed the 26 postures and stayed an additional 5ish minutes to gather my thoughts and meditate before attempting to stand up and shower.

In an ideal situation, I'd attend every other day but this week has been crazy busy again so I haven't gone back yet. I'm not afraid to, like I was in 2012, I just physically don't have the time which frustrates me to no end, but we have to just accept these things and work with what we have....

While I'm talking about acceptance; I truly think that the most challenging part of Bikram is going to be accepting my body and the condition it is in right now. This is something I am definitely going to have to work with my CPN on; I'm very much stuck in shame and frustration which isn't exactly helpful. But I am determined to use Bikram as a recovery tool rather than just a weight-loss aid as with my previous attempts!

It's now Friday, and I've lost 2kgs (4.4lbs). I'm monitoring my calories but not actively counting them, there's no point when it's pretty automatic and has been for a long time! I'm well hydrated, drinking at least 3 litres of water a day and absolutely not restricting or cutting out food groups.

As much as I'd like to but a number on when I think I'll be more comfortable in my body I don't think that's a good strategy to have when I honestly don't know. I used to think 55kgs was my 'set point' but that may well have changed given my current situation... My point is, it's not about the number on the scale. When I feel happy, fit and have strength in my body I'll know I'm on the right track. It's just interesting to me at the moment to see how my body is reacting to this.

Before I became seriously unwell, exercise was my medication. It was successfully controlling my depression and anxiety symptoms. That is what I'm working to find again, everything else is an added bonus. I know I won't be able to return to how things were, but if Bikram can at least lessen the impact of M.E/CFS then I'll be very happy. Asking for it to be 'cured' is probably too much, but a reduction in pain and other symptoms is a pretty reasonable request.

I'm hoping next week will be less busy and I'll be able to commit more time to Bikram - and the blog!

Side note: It's my first shift at my new job today. Let's hope I don't break anything or freak out and embarrass myself. Eeeeep.

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Samantha Nicholls. Powered by Blogger.


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