Does Your Life Ever Feel Like Bikram Yoga?

Does anyone else save smaller sizes of clothes in the hopes of one day losing all that weight? Well, before coming to Manila, I donated 10 bursting-at-the-seams-sized garbage bags full of clothes. I’d been saying I was going back to the gym for 3 years without ever stepping a foot inside the door (ouch!). So, I figured it was time to clean house and get rid of those very cute, smaller-sized clothes.

Something about moving to Manila—maybe the change in scenery or the fact that I didn’t have a car and got to walk most everywhere—made me think there was no time like the present to kick my goals into high gear and in true Jyl fashion, I jumped right in with both feet. And wow! Has it been wet! Literally!


I set some no-joke goals that could only be fueled by pure motivation. So, I set out to find ways to change my mindset.

Today, for example, I watched a talk by Terence Vinson from a bi-annual conference my church had about being true disciples of the Savior Jesus Christ. Whether you subscribe to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s religion or teachings or even believe in God or Christ or not, I found this talk about giving your all to be chock full of motivation. What’s more, is that it has already come in really handy. And that brings me back to my previous comment about how diving into accomplishing my goals has been wet.

After not working out for 3 years, I decided to go back to the gym this week. It’s 2 blocks away from my condo. How could I turn that down? I sneeze and I’m at the gym. So, I signed up. And a few days later, I turned right out of my condo wearing my new gym clothes with a popular pop song from 10 years ago blasting through my headphones with the speed amped up (think wannabe Zumba dancer here). I enter the gym and make my way over to the eliptical where I’m sure I can do at least 30 minutes (let’s not push it). 5 Minutes in, I’m literally dying but am committed. “Fair dinkum!”, I tell myself. (Be who you said you would be … someone who would stick to their goals. Listen to the talk. I promise it’ll make more sense.) To encourage myself, I commit to allowing one break at the 20-minute mark (light at the end of the tunnel, right?). I continue while virtually heading down a path in New Zealand on the elliptical machine that looks really tough (why did they make such an overwhelming pathway, I wonder?).

5 More minutes in at the 10-minute mark, the waterfall of sweat flowing from my brow into my eyes (slight exaggeration) causes me to notice only very low air conditioning is going with absolutely no fans in the gym. In other words, I’m basically Bikram elliptical-ing it. It must have been at least 104 degrees by this point (another exaggeration though maybe more than slight this time). How will I make it through the next 20 minutes? “Fair dinkum! Fair dinkum! Fair dinkum!”, I tell myself.

Then, I start wondering, “Aren’t our trials like this? We are going along doing something good just living our regular lives and suddenly we find ourselves in a lot of heat—adversity. We don’t feel like we can keep going. Water and cool rags and even a much sought after break in the distant future don’t seem like enough to sustain us. And even telling ourselves Fair dinkum! Fair dinkum! Fair dinkum! over and over seems hollow. Who cares about an Australian catchphrase when we’re literally about to pass out (physically or emotionally or both)? As hard as it is to admit, it’s difficult to care about being disciples of Christ and focus our energy on what that means—the actions associated with it or even tapping into God’s grace—when we’re in the midst of really difficult trials.

Comparing trials to my workout while I studied the motorcycles in the parking lot out the window and across the street with the Killers blaring in my head (ironic name, don’t you think?) tied me over for a bit until I really felt the burn. Fortunately, a break was within reach and then arrived. The much-anticipated break went so fast I didn’t really have time to catch my breath before climbing back up again. And that’s when my face turned into a river (a river of sweat, that is), my calves were on fire, and I got mad because I thought the workout should be easier if I were at sea level. #NotFair

The last 2 minutes were excruciating and then I noticed I was just about to exceed 3 miles. Woo hoo! Not bad for my first time back to the gym. I know that Terence Vinson, in his talk, talks about intentions and actions over results, but why couldn’t you have both? Being the results-oriented person I am, I couldn’t go without getting excited about exceeding 3 miles. I stopped the elliptical at 30 minutes, gave myself a big pat on the back (inside my head, of course), and that’s when I saw it. I went 3.15 KM, not miles. Oh! Well! Good thing intentions and actions count more than results, at least in the Lord’s eyes.

Vanessa Carlton accompanied me home where I walked in, excepting to see myself in the mirror at least 5 pounds of water weight skinnier. I mean, feeling the heat (and sweating it all out thanks to the equivalent of Bikram elliptical) has to equate to less weight, right? Wrong!

My takeaways?

  • Fill your reservoirs of positivity. You never know when you will be 5 minutes into a workout (or life’s trials) and need to dip into it.
  • Surround yourself with uplifting people. Whether it be family, friends, or pop stars from 10+ years ago, upbeat and solid support systems are critical, especially in trying times.
  • Be prepared with the essentials, such as a towel (they don’t provide them at the gyms here) or the things you’d need in life’s calamities.
  • Never give up. Allow yourself to take breaks, celebrate your wins, and feel the pain, but keep going.


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