So you launched the new year with a great attitude and a commitment to your wellness. Maybe you even signed up for your first – or second, or third – 30-Day Challenge with Bikram Yoga Red Deer.
Then a few days in, your best-laid plans are at risk of derailing thanks to sore muscles or a busy schedule.
“When starting a fitness routine, you’ll always have days when you just don’t want to do anything,” says Breanna McCubbin, co-founder of Bikram Yoga Red Deer.
The key is how you respond:
DO “Practice with the body you have today,” McCubbin says. To avoid disappointment that can derail your efforts, “go in with the body you have and see what it can do.”
DON’T Be discouraged if your poses aren’t as deep as others. “Bikram is a therapeutic form of yoga designed to bring our bodies to their full range of motion and it doesn’t happen right away,” McCubbin explains.
DO Listen to your body. Pain sensations are the body’s way of telling us if we’re working to hard, McCubbin says, but adds that working on poses that may not be easy will also help you see and feel growth.
DO Remember to breathe. “If you feel tight, focus on just holding still and breathing, and see how it feels – ‘hold in stillness, breathing always normal,’” McCubbin suggests.
DO Embrace the heat: Bikram Yoga is the original hot yoga – 26 postures, two breathing exercises, 90 minutes and 105 degrees. By embracing the heat, you’ll not only sweat, but you’ll be able to stretch a little deeper and feel more invigorated as the dilated blood vessels allow oxygen can move more easily around the body. “So many people say they can’t do it because of the heat, but you’re really setting yourself up to fail. Our bodies adjust,” McCubbin says. “Start slow, do one set, then start working harder.”
DON’T Give in to negative self-talk. If you’re in a posture and you start shaking or falling out, concentrate on balancing and celebrate the small things – catching yourself before you fall or falling out of a posture and getting right back in.
DO Celebrate good days. The flip side of forgiving yourself for days you’re not feeling great is celebrating those days you are – up the intensity of your practice, stretch deeper or hold longer, for example.
DO Be happy you showed up. Try your best – give yourself permission to take a break if you really need it, but commit as well to getting back to it right away. Choose something you haven’t worked on or pay attention to your alignment rather than always working to deepen your pose. “It’s the quality of movement, not quantity. The goal of yoga is to hold still, keeping your muscles in a state of isometric contraction. By holding still you will help strengthen all your supporting ligaments and tendons. Find the space in your body that will help you create movement.”