I thought I'd share a little bit more about the idea of the challenge, where it comes from, and what people have to say about it.
There are a couple different schools of thought. Mary Jarvis, one of the most (if not THE most) senior teacher of Bikram Yoga in the United States, insists that a 101 Day Challenge is the only way to go. Her explanation:
"Practicing 100 consecutive days of Bikram Yoga will change your life!!! Buy why 100? Why not 30 or even 60 days? Isn’t that enough? The answer, quite simply, is no. While 30 or 60 days is a great start and no small feat, in and of itself, it is still not enough. The first 30 days are basically a readjustment of the entire body’s cells, muscles, bones, and organs, setting the stage for the next 30 days. Day 1-30 deals almost solely with the body.
"Day 31-60, we start to get into the emotional “stuff”. As in the first 30 days, where we readjust the entire physical body, the next 30 days we readjust the entire emotional body while simultaneously regenerating and rebuilding every single cell in the body. We also begin to get into some serious realignment of the spine and the entire central nervous system. These next 30 days, you really begin to feel mentally fatigued, even in spite of the fact that you physically feel better than you ever have in your entire life!!!! This is the emotional readjustment.
"Day 60 -90, your body shape seems to suddenly change at an exponential rate, though you may not notice. These are the days when you start to hear all the “Wow, you look great! What are you doing?” comments. These 30 days are usually your best 30 days. Then there’s the final 11 days where you look and feel absolutely amazing, like a brand new human being."
101 Days sounds like an awesome, awesome experience. One that I hope to embark on someday. I plan to keep practicing consistently after this challenge ends, but another 41 classes in 41 days sounds a little difficult to organize with school beginning again.
However, I got the idea for 60 days from Bikram Choudhury himself. On his website, he suggests that new students "practice yoga religiously for 2 months 60 days" to experience a transformation of the mind, body, and spirit. Oprah actually chronicled one woman's 60-day challenge about a year ago, which you can read here. (Yes, it's two parts, but it's still a pretty quick read.)
From the perspective of a new student, it sounds like any amount of yoga will transform your life in some way. The 60/100 day challenges simply serve as a goal and a concentrated effort to do it in. With that in mind, I'm trying to just enjoy the challenge and get to class as much as I can. Maybe I won't make it to 60 classes in time. That's OK. Even if I don't complete "the challenge," my goal is just to keep going back and reaping the benefits.
As I continue with the practice, maybe I'll work toward a more strict challenge or longer ones. For now, this seems like a good place to start.