Recently, I was speaking to a photographer friend of mine, Jessica Dozois, who runs her business out of Chilliwack, BC, about an hour outside of Vancouver. Jessica is a single mom who works hard to both live her dream of being a photographer, but also to look after and provide for her adorable son Max. So between long photo shoots, looking after her son and spending all night loading and altering pictures in the evenings, Jessica doesn’t get a whole lot of time to herself to relax or otherwise.
But when the Chilliwack Times started the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, as a New Year’s Resolution in which participants must do hot yoga at least once, each day for 3o days, Jessica was quick to jump on board, noting that it was something she felt she had to do for herself. So yoga mat in hand, she made her way to the studio to bend and stretch in a high temperature room.
When I asked Jessica how she felt about the challenge, she had this to say, “When I first tried Bikram yoga they give you a form to fill out. And under ‘Why you are coming?’ is a multiple choice answer…I choose ‘To lose weight’ but after only going for only a short while, I realized how it made me feel mentally, which was amazing and is why I continue to go.” Some days, she didn’t feel like attending and her muscles begged for a break. On other occasions, it was her mental saviour when inevitably, life gets a little bit hectic. But most of all, Jessica discovered that taking time for yourself is a vital part of mental and physical health, be it in a yoga studio or in your bedroom with a good book. “Being in the hot room for ninety minutes of sweating like you’ve never sweat before, pushing yourself to do the best you can and when you come out of there it is the best feeling of accomplishment. Not just with the 30 day challenge, but overall, bikram yoga has changed my life. It makes me happier and healthier than I’ve ever felt before.” Jessica quickly found that if she missed a day (you are allowed to miss a day in the challenge, but it means that the following day, you must do two classes), she often craved being back in the studio, surrounded by the supportive atmosphere that the owners create.
So what did Jessica do when her 30 Day Challenge was over? She signed up for another one, which completed on 29 Feb. And although it’s no longer a “challenge,” Jessica embraces yoga in her life every day, to find peace and relieve stress. As it turns out, the 30 Day Hot Yoga Challenge wasn’t just about going to a class each day, but rather, it’s about making the resolution, no matter the time of year, to take time for yourself, in any form. It isn’t until we give to ourselves that we are ever able to give fully to others.