Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yoga, 7 days a week

I started going to Bikram yoga classes about 2 1/2 years ago. I immediately loved it. I love the heat (104 degrees), I love to sweat, and because Bikram yoga repeats the same 26 poses (twice), every class, the repetitivness appealed to me. (hey, anyone that can do thousands of swing repetitions obviously likes this sort of thing, lol)

I weighed around 138lbs. the day I started my practice, and I could see right away two things, I wanted to have a really good practice and get good at the poses quickly, (gee, me in a hurry to get good at something? lol), and I knew if I lost a little more weight it would beneficial to accomplish those things. And with my kind of luck, this happened a few months before my RKC, perfect timing to meet a new bodyweight goal for the snatch test portion of the Certification.

So in usual Tracy fashion, I threw myself into Bikram yoga (but not before my kettlebell training, which will always take priority), buying a monthly unlimited membership and going to class as much as possible, probably attending class 6 days out of 7. That was in late November 2005. In January, 06, my yoga studio has a "60 day challenge". 60 classes in 60 problem, I love to be challenged! So, for 60 days, the challenge was to not miss a day. Well, sometimes you just couldn't get to class, so another option was to double up in one day. Wow! Try doing 2 classes back to back!

That was over 2 years ago, and since then I continued to practice regularly for that first year, at least 3-5 classes a week, until I switched yoga studios. I switched to a studio that offered fewer than 1/2 the class times as the previous studio, and that greatly affected my practice. No excuses....I guess I let the fewer classes, combined with less convenient class times, affect my yoga practice and the last few months before my December '07 surgery I was only getting to class 2 times a week, if I forced myself!

Well, all of that has changed! I got off of my "high horse" and went back to my original yoga studio....I decided to take the good with the bad (I'll explain another time!) and I've been able to get my practice back to at least 5 days a week.

So, I've started a new goal that won't stop at 60, 7 days a week! And that can mean I have to 'double up' some days, like yesterday! Really, the hardest part is spending the time away from home! Two 90 minute classes with a 30 min. break in between, travel time included adds up to 4 hours of my day!

I'll write more about my yoga on Food and Thought.


Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

Mrs. Rif,

Nice post. I too am a Bikramite and a lover of the kettlebell although I am on an exclusive Bikram's diet these days.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Why? I think all of my chosen forms of exercise compliment eachother.

For instance, I'm really strong in the standing poses, especially the second, and third parts of awkward pose, because of the leg strength and conditioning from my KB training. Most of the other students, men included, cannot get the depth or control of those parts of that pose.

Unknown said...


Why I am exclusively Bikram's right now? Mostly due to injuries and needing a break from the weights. I felt a 30-day challenge would help me establish some flexibility, flush out some scar tissue and get me back in shape to start k-belling again. I couldn’t agree with you more that the combination of Bikram’s and k-belling is a winner…at least I hope so. I’m on day 22 so I will soon be incorporating ETK back into my protocol. I did notice that there were some poses that I immediately took to like the awkward pose. I had done many, many Hindi squats over the years.

I do have a question for you if you will indulge me. I love Bikram’s and I love kettlebelling but my family life and responsibilities are such that I can only do one activity on a given day…well maybe I could do two some days. I was thinking of Bikram’s Monday thru Friday at 6:00 am as I have been doing and then on MWF pm doing k-bell presses and swings ala ETK. I could then take the weekends off for family time. From my past experience I know that 3 days of k-belling works for me. In your opinion will 5 days of Bikram’s cut it in terms of gaining all the alleged benefits? Will the kettlebells counter gains made in Bikram’s in terms if flexibility.



LizLuvsCrochet said...

That's a great picture of you at the ocean

Tracy Reifkind said...


Well, in my opinion, only based on my own experience...two thoughts...

I DO NOT believe 7 days of Bikram a week is ideal! Over the past 2 years, my practice has always been better, strength and flexiblity, when practicing no more than 4-5 days a week. Preferably NOT every day but, broken up at least twice during the week.

And, flexibility is always better in the evening time Bikram classes. So...I would reverse the order of workouts.

But, personally the evening yoga classes were not convenient for me, the times never seemed to match up with my eating.

But if push comes to shove, your plan sounds good, because I could never do KB's before yoga (in a row), it just wouldn't leave me enough leg strength to get through class, When the opposite is true, Bikram warms me up for KB's.

In the beginning however (of starting a Bikram practice) it helps to go as often as possible. By the time I had been practicing about 6 months, I had built a base that gave me a really good maintenance practice.

As far as KB's being counter productive to flexibility, it's about trade-offs. Yes KB's make you tight down the back (hams and glutes), but I's rather have some good beefy muscles TO stretch out than a weeny little yoga body...just kidding, I know I'll get in trouble for saying that! But it's true, there is NO ONE in yoga class that I would want to trade bodies with! I like mine, and I get it from KB's, not yoga!

Tracy Reifkind said...


You made it! Cool!

Jordan Vezina said...

Great post Tracy, just the kick in the ass I needed. I used to do Bikram at Funky Door up on Haight and have developed about 1,400,304 excuses since moving down to the peninsula to not go back. I mean, it's not like I work a block from a studio or something...
Oh wait, I do.

Tracy Reifkind said...


So I'll see you in class right? I think Yoga Source PA has a Saturday noon time...I'll go if you go!

Jordan Vezina said...

Hmm... you know I might just do that. I'll figure out my schedule in the next week and update you. During the week I think I'm going to use the Burlingame studio in the mornings as it's pretty convenient.