120 Day Challenge
Today is Day 120 in my 120 Day Challenge to improve my health and well being. These photos are of the beautiful flowers my husband bought to celebrate this step in my personal development. Aren't they intoxicating?
I definitely do feel like celebrating. There is a new person that has crawled from the inside out literally and figuratively. I have an inner strength that tugs at the corners of my mouth and makes me smile. Somehow I've begun to understand that I can do whatever I set out to do.
One thing that I haven't mentioned before on my blog because it felt a too daunting was that my process included 120 days straight of Bikram yoga. I took one class of hot yoga a day that was a 90 minute moving meditation in a room heated to 105 degrees. Normally people choose to do a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge or 60 day Bikram yoga challenge, but I was compelled to follow the philosophy that at 120 days you become the new habit. This idea of becoming a physical process inspired me to move forward and do the 120 day Bikram yoga challenge.
It changed me. It changed my muscles, my bones, my body chemistry, my mental health, and physical energy. It changed me so much that all the other lifestyle improvements such as food, sleep, and less TV/computer were easier to implement. Of all the modalities of therapy and sports I have encountered, this prescription of intense, emotionally charged Bikram yoga for 120 days straight has been my most powerful life altering experience.
It was not just one thing that changed me, but the 120 day challenge doing Bikram yoga was the center of the wheel that my process spun around. Here are the things I did for my 120 Day Challenge, and the tangible and not so tangible changes that I have noticed.
120 Day Challenge
1. Four liver and gallbladder cleanses and one kidney cleanse (one per month) as outlined by Andreas Moritz in his book The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: An All-Natural At-Home Flush to Purify & Rejuvenate Your Body.
2. 120 day Bikram yoga challenge = one yoga class each day
3. A primarily vegetarian or vegan diet (no sugar, flour, dairy)
4. Raw food cuisine as 20% of my diet
5. Implemented lifestyle changes: consistent sleep, meals, and water intake, while minimizing work, TV, and computer stress.
Benefits & Visible Results
1. More energy and vitality.
2. Experienced weight loss.
3. Easier to fall asleep and experience restful sleep.
4. Crave more fruits and vegetables and have less desire for dairy, sugar and flour.
5. Eyes and skin are more vibrant.
6. Eliminated many of my reoccurring conditions that were signs of ill health: skin rashes, allergies, ear aches, and joint pain.
Nevertheless, of all the things I have learned from my 120 Day Challenge, one of the most enlightening lessons has been surrounding the concept of tolerance. My 120 Day Challenge was originally motivated by something very physical and internal, but here on my final day the biggest concept I'm walking away with is a new found practice of tolerance for what I perceive as shortcomings in myself and others. I hadn't intentionally put together a 120 Day Nonviolent Communication Challenge, but ultimately of all the elements woven together in my prescription for well-being this was the place I lacked the most strength.
Learning to tolerate the physical discomfort of a hot yoga room and endure painful cleanses; re-conceptualizing emotional discomfort when changing my diet and resisting yoga instructions; practicing self-empathy and empathy for others when placed under demanding emotional and physical conditions while in a hot yoga room are all starting points for me. This 120 Day personal prayer was the tool that showed me where my true work begins.
I am deeply thankful for the support of my husband, family, and blogging community who were always willing to listen and encourage me during this process as well as the many yoga teachers who showed up every day to teach me something new.
I hope some day you find a 120 Day Challenge that has your name on it, because I know you'll get hooked! I'm already searching for my next one :)