8.16.2010

120 Day Challenge

bikram yoga 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.


bikram yoga 120 day challenge
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.


bikram yoga 120 day challenge
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 :)

12 comments:

  1. congrats, you did it! i need to start something like this. may i ask what made the cleanses painful.

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  2. This is awesome Beth. You are so inspiring! I'm glad you stuck to it and that you can enjoy the lasting effects on your health, well-being, mind, body, spirit... Thanks for sharing... cheers to your newly cleansed and vibrant self!

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  3. Wow. There is nothing more that I can say except KUDOS! You really did it, Beth! I am in awe of what you set out to do and I think that it is really fantastic that you stuck with it and persevered. I know I wouldn't be able to do something like this. Your willpower must by like iron. I am really intrigued at the lessons that you learned from this experience that had little to do with diet and exercise. You should write a book about this, Beth. You are an engaging writer and your truth of this process could inspire others to undertake their own 120 day challenge in many different ways.

    So...what charm will you make to commemorate this milestone?

    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  4. a most heartfelt congratulations to you beth... i know that this is not an easy thing to do and am so proud of your for sticking with it and through it... i would imagine you almost exude a certain light as things are more clear and pure... i am in awe of the fact that you did the yoga for 120 days straight! wondering how long your mind struggled against it...

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  5. I'm so happy for you, Beth! Congrats! And thank you for the inspiration!

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  6. Completing that successfully would feel like training for and competing in the Iron Man and winning! Many, many congrats and kudos to you! You are my hero! So I can't help but wonder what the first thing was that you ate after the cleanse was completely said and done...?

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  7. Congratulations, what an accomplishment! I'm in awe of the discipline you have to do 120 days of Bikram (not to mention everything else too) :)

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  8. Thanks everyone for all your enthusiasm and encouragement! I definitely feel like I have a new found mental discipline that didn't exist before and this is making the most difference in my life.

    Mary Jane, my mind is still struggling over getting to yoga class!

    Erin, what an awesome idea for a charm. I hadn't thought of that. Now I've got something to ponder for the fall :)

    Haha! I wish the cleanse was over. Sara, the cleanse unfortunately is not complete :( I've probably got 4 more liver cleanses to go if I stick with the Moritz book. Having 120 Days behind me is definitely helping me go the distance with the liver cleanse though!

    Sandra, the cleanse is hard to explain in a post. Mainly you have to drink a lot of unsavory concoctions that lead to some heavy duty toxic feeling side affects. However, the worst part for me was the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes from doing one of these. You're expelling a lot of waste from your body and so it feels like inducing sickness for a week. You might check out this woman's experience: http://www.erica.biz/2008/liver-flush-liver-cleanse-gallbladder-flush-experience-review/

    For me, the key to the cleanse is to experiment with finding the right malic acid solution to use in the first 6 days of the process because the apple juice was difficult for my body to digest. Also, follow the cleanse exactly as outlined in Moritz' book and don't alter or skip components like many people do. It's a very regimented process which is also subtly difficult to implement.

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  9. Inspirational and motivational! Congratulations on reaching your goal and thank you for sharing with us…

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  10. Your whole process is so inspiring.
    I think I will go back to some of your Challenge posts for some motivation as well.
    I feel like I really need to think and set my own challenge, but don't really know where to begin yet.
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing journey here !

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  11. Congratulations on your awesome journey. I have been doing Pilates for the last three years and some Yoga, and really enjoy it. Now if I can just wrap my brain around the cleansing I know I would feel so much better, having allergies as you mentioned. I will have to try Bikram, don't know if I possess the stamina for 120 days though!

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  12. Thanks Marsha for your kudos!

    Flo, I'm so glad this post inspired you and now I wish I had written more about the process :) I hope you find some tidbits of insight and start something that changes a part of you.

    Sharon, wow girl! Pilates for 3 years!! That is so awesome :) I've always shied away from Pilates because for some reason I'm skittish about core training...go figure. I can't tell you how much relief I've gotten from hay fever which is all the rage around here. These cleanses and my neti pot have been keeping the allergies at bay.

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