So you’ve decided to embark on your 30 Day Challenge…NOW WHAT? 5 tips from a survivor.

Congratulations for showing up to class, the hard part is already over. Or is it? It takes incredible patience, determination, and courage to show up in the hot Bikram yoga room day after day, pushing through mental and physical resistance, schedule conflicts, and self-inflicted limitations.

Meet Malkia Stampley: actress, mother of three, and conqueror of the 30-Day Challenge.

Malkia practiced at Bikram Yoga Park Slope for two months before diving in to the 30-Day Challenge. After taking four classes in one week she thought, “I can do this!” and made the commitment to 30 consecutive days of practice.

Driven by her 30th birthday, Malkia wanted something to heal body: an old knee injury, and spirit: re-focus her priorities on what’s really important in life.

1. No excuses allowed, create a warrior spirit

Working as a freelance actor and mother of three kids, fitting class into her schedule was a major challenge. Doing what seemed impossible, Malkia created the time in the morning by attending 6:30am at South Slope with Robbin. Consistency was part of her momentum for creating a positive routine, but once she got into the hot room it was anything but routine.

2. Find a teacher that challenges and inspires you

Robbin guided Malkia to the spiritual and personal side of Bikram yoga practice. Robbin focuses on the mind-body connection, and infuses spirituality into her dialogue. Malkia also thrived on physical adjustments Robbin made in class, nuanced changes that opened up the entire posture. Malkia has incredible respect for all her teachers, admiring their ability to be simultaneously loving and firm.

3. Meet your smiling happy face in the mirror, every day

Malkia remembers to celebrate her accomplishments in the postures, and enjoy the practice in the present moment, without taking herself too seriously. Even though every class is the same sequence of 26 postures, every class is entirely different. Malkia would eek out a smiling happy face, even when she was struggling, and that’s when the change would begin.

It wasn’t always easy to wake up early or to deal with things coming up during the class. Sometimes you just don’t want to be there. Some mornings Malkia would look for a way out, asking her husband “are you sure this is okay with you?” but he’d provide his unwavering support and care for the kids, making the decision to continue all her own.

4. See the bigger picture: 30-days builds your mental power on the mat and off

For Malkia, keeping it real meant finding emotional balance. Sometimes taking class would instill a resolute, inner calm that she carried into her life. Sometimes she would leave class feeling angry, emotional, ready to burst. Taking it day by day, Malkia challenged herself to be present with what’s real at every moment, and through consistent practice she found her power to control these emotional reactions. For example, Malkia’s practice positively affected her parenting, calming her temper when reacting to her kids or her husband.

5. Expect the unexpected: change your practice, change your life

Whether it’s your newly toned, lean muscles; glowing skin; restful nights; creative energy, or mental prowess, the 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge is designed to change your life from the inside out.

For Malkia, her physical form improved throughout the challenge, but the real challenge is mental, and she now knows it’s only just beginning.