Last night was great. Why? Because I finally went to Bikram Yoga. I was looking forward to it literally all day yesterday. I have so much going on at work and in my personal life that it seemed like a dream to be able to take 90 minutes and just practice yoga. I was nervous because I had never experienced the heat of bikram and didn’t know how my body would take it- but I was definitely more so just excited to get there and let my mind be taken over by it all.
I’m happy to report- I SURVIVED. Not only did I survive but I liked it more than I thought. My best friend Kate (who is probably Bikram’s number one fan) told me that I would love it, but me being skeptical wasn’t quite sure how I’d feel. I did love it. She was right. I loved it for a lot of reasons that I’ll get into. But I will say, it was great to go through my first bikram experience with my fitness partner in crime (and best friend) Nick.
When I first got to Bikram Yoga Dupont on Connecticut Ave and was walking up the stairs to their studio- I felt the heat coming out of the yoga studio- I almost decided to leave. I was thinking- nope… that ish is WAY too hot for this girl. what am I doing. But I of course knew Nick was already there and I really wanted to give it a shot so I stayed and prepared for class.
Maybe preparing for bikram for some people is easy, but for me, it was a challenge in itself. I’ll explain. In bikram you can wear whatever you want I suppose, but they recommend wearing a sports bra or really thin tank top and biker shorts or short workout shorts (and for good reason- they aren’t lying when they say the studio is HOT and you sweat your buns off). Now… I’ve NEVER worn a bikini. In fact, I’ve never had my stomach revealed in a public space. Sure I’ve rocked the tankini which covers my midsection for the most part and yeah I wear tank tops at the gym- but this was the closest I had come to wearing next to nothing in public. My whole life I’ve covered up my body because well, I didn’t want people to see it. Even changing in the locker room at my gym is slightly painful.
For someone learning to re-love their body and who is working on their overall body image issues, it wasn’t easy for me to take off my sweatpants and baggy red sox shirt and stand in a huge classroom full of people in my sports bra and short exercise shorts. I may have looked calm and collected but I was freaking out inside. Although I felt scared and nervous and self conscious- at the end of the day it was the most liberating experience I’ve had in a long time.
During the 90 minute class you’re constantly looking at yourself in the mirror. Yeah so not only are you close to naked but you’re staring at yourself. Instead of tearing myself down (which I thought would be the case), I only built myself up. It was amazing to focus on me. Just me. Only me. And it was amazing to appreciate every single inch of my skin in a space that felt safe.
I also briefly thought of the “Week of Love Challenge” that my friend Sara posed for this week while in class. She summarized this week of love (so aptly taking place because of Valentines Day coming up) by saying:
In honor of Valentine’s Day and in honor of loving yourself and your body, I’m challenging my dear readers to take this week as an opportunity to express love for your family, your significant other, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors – whomever! But, as always, loving yourself is first.
Yesterday’s “challenge” was to point out something you love about yourself every time you look in the mirror. It may sound silly, but man did I embrace this challenge yesterday. It was so nice to say hello to my good ol’ self and tell her why she is amazing and strong. Needless to say, as I practiced bikram last night and spent a lot of time with myself and a mirror, I found a lot of reasons to love me. And that never comes easy.
So yes. The room was hot and for the first ten minutes I still was uneasy about being there for eighty more minutes, but as the class progressed I got more and more into it. I wouldn’t say I forgot about the heat- it’s kind of hard to do that when you’re sweating buckets- but it definitely was something that only added to the practice and didn’t take away from it. As someone who doesn’t handle heat well, I can honestly say that the type of heat and fire you feel during bikram is completely different than walking around DC in the summertime.
Afterwards I felt calmer than I had in… days? weeks? I don’t even know. Let’s just say it was a different type of rush than what I feel when I leave my normal gym after a beastly workout. Nick and I celebrated with the February Seasonal Salad from Sweetgreen! It was everything I hoped it would be 🙂
When I was eating dinner I realized that I had inadvertently eaten like a vegetarian all day- no meat! You may have heard of “meatless monday,” which is now a worldwide campaign that advocates for going meat free one day a week not only for health’s sake but also to reduce the effects of meat consumption on the environment.
Many of you probably don’t know that the term actually was coined during World War I by the United States Food Administration when food was tight as a way to remind citizens of the sacrifices they could make to support the war on the home front. Yup, good ol’ war rationing. Don’t forget I graduated AU with a history degree, readers 😉
I’ve never thought to participate (and have even scoffed at the idea… sorry everyone) but yesterday without giving it any thought I was a vegetarian! I always thought it would be a challenge to go a day without chicken or some type of animal protein but I did it without trying. Woodrow Wilson and Hebert Hoover would be proud. This goes to show you that you shouldn’t judge any thing before you try it out yourself!
For breakfast I had greek yogurt, almonds, and grapefruit alongside some scrambled eggs and spinach. Then for lunch I had a big bowl of Sara’s Roman Lentil Soup (which is divine by the way- go check out the recipe and make it immediately) with avocado and kale mixed in alongside a bag of strawberry slices. And then for dinner I had the salad above! Oh and snacks were apples + GrohNola and then veggies + hummus. Can’t forget snacks.
You never know what your body and mind can do until you try something. Yesterday was living proof of that message.
WELL before I go, the historian in me must say…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEST ABE!
I know today is also Mardi Gras, so whether your celebrating Bourbon Street style or like its the early 1800s (oh yeah Abe Lincoln)- I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!
Keep it wicked healthy xoxo