Posted by: kerryalina | 9 April 2012

Challenge Class 48: Rest Days

My 60 Day Challenge is a commitment to attend six Bikram classes a week for 60 days.  The more mathematically astute of you will no doubt have realised that this leaves me with one free day a week.  Maybe, like me, you assume that if you do a challenge, you’ll save this rest day for when you just don’t want or can’t be bothered to go to class.

One word of advice: DON’T.

Before starting this challenge, I went to class around three times a week.  As I walked home from work I’d run through a daily inventory of my aches, energy and mood, all (hopefully) culminating in an answer to that grand question: “Will I go to class today?”  My thighs are sore… but I got a good night’s sleep… it’ll mean going two days in a row… but I should go today because tomorrow I’m catching up with friends… I really want to just sit on the couch… but I know I’ll feel better for having gone to class… and so on.  A neverending cycle of will-I-or-won’t-I, absorbing so much thought, energy and time and in the end, not materially benefitting me in any way.  Sometimes I decided to go to class.  Sometimes I didn’t.  The reasoning was only ever vaguely based in reality and I was never quite convinced that I’d chosen the correct answer.

One of the really beautiful things that I’ve learnt over the past eight weeks is this: None of that matters.  Ditch the introspective monologue; you can pretty much go to yoga regardless of what’s happening to or around you.  (Once I grabbed my yoga bag as I left my very secure second-floor apartment and when the door latched closed behind me, immediately realised I’d forgotten my handbag, keys and phone.  I ran around panicking for ten minutes, then I figured that since all I had was my yoga gear, I might as well go to class.  I came back and dealt with the situation – calmly – afterwards).

I covered my initial epiphany about this here… but in relation to my rest day, I realised fairly early on that saving it for when I couldn’t be bothered was a recipe for disaster.  Not only did it just encourage the incessant inventory-taking, it was also a very slippery slope.  After all, if you decide you can’t be bothered going to yoga today and have to skip your class… what happens when you have the exact same amount of “can’t be bothered” tomorrow?  What will you do if it’s even worse in three days time?  Because I can guarantee that you’ll feel like this way more than once a week.  Especially after you’ve done ten straight days of Bikram and you can’t quite manage to pry yourself off the couch.  And once you’re able to convince yourself that *this* amount of cbf is enough to prevent you from going to class, then I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be able to convince yourself to finish a challenge.

So, to expand on my one word of advice:

  • Schedule in your rest day: don’t leave it to the vagaries of chance.
  • Make it the last day of your week: I started my challenge on a Monday, so I pencilled in rest days on Sundays.  This gives you some leeway if you unexpectedly miss a class earlier in the week (like when my teacher didn’t show up, or if you have to work late) as you still have a chance to make it up on your original rest day or with a double.  If you’re depending on that last class on Sunday and for whatever reason you can’t make it?  You’re kind of screwed.
  • Be flexible, but not too flexible: If you want to do a daytrip with friends on a Saturday, by all means take that day off instead.  But if someone wants to catch up after work on Tuesday, see if they can do it after class.  Or on the weekend.  Or maybe do lunch instead.
  • Most importantly… don’t change your schedule to pander to your energy levels: If you take days off because you’re tired, injured or sick, you’ll miss out on some of the most important classes you’ll ever take.  I promise.

And now it’s confession time.  I wrote the above after yesterday’s (completely awesome) class, but I forgot to hit “Publish.”  And today?  Well… I took today off.  Even though it’s a Monday AND the last week of my challenge.  Because I’m nauseous and dizzy and much too busy shivering on the couch under my blankie to brave the hailstorms going on outside and drag myself to class.  I know, I know I’m the world’s biggest hypocrite.  But life’s no fun if you follow ALL the rules.  Even the ones you make up yourself ;)



  1. I’m starting a 60 day challenge on May 4th. My studio does not give rest days. I have to go seven days a week until my challenge is complete. They do allow you to make up one class for every 30 days. So if something comes up – a true emergency – I can do a double once each month. I’m aiming to just do the straight 60. Happy I found your blog! Can’t wait to read more.

    • Good luck and have fun!! I’ve found it one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve ever done (and that’s WITH a rest day!). Sounds like an over-exaggeration, but I swear it’s not :)

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