When did you start practicing?
What brought you in?
I was shopping at the pet store right around the corner and saw you guys! I’d been working out with other forms of yoga for about 8 years after throwing my back out in 2005. While the other yoga helped, I never saw a lot of progress. I was looking to try something different to deal with weight gain, depression and to relieve some pain from arthritis. I was seeing a chiropractor regularly and while the other yoga helped, I wasn’t seeing the benefits I now see with Bikram. I just wasn’t happy with the way things were going. Before I started doing any yoga, I was a gym rat, but in pain all the time. I didn’t know I was screwing up my knees and shoulders. Doing Bikram has changed my life – this yoga keeps me centered and feeling good. I was so glad I found you guys! I will be doing this yoga for the rest of my life!
Why do you keep coming back?
At first I was all about the physical benefits. I lost weight pretty quickly, 15 pounds in the first 6 months. I didn’t have to take Aleve daily for the arthritis pain, I started to feel good – and feeling good is addictive! Now I’m all about the mental benefits. The longer you practice, the more you realize how much it helps you outside the room. I am claustrophobic and learning how to breathe has helped me stay calm. When I have a consistent practice I have more energy, I don’t have to drink coffee in the afternoon, I don’t have to take naps!
You do a 30-Day Challenge every year, why?
I think it helps you get your practice back on line. From time to time you start to slack off, life gets in the way of your yoga! I find that a challenge helps you deepen your practice. You discover so much about the poses, the stuff that didn’t make sense before.
Attend a posture clinic, you gain so much from them! If you want to get the benefits from the class – attend twice a week. 3 times a week helps to maintain your postures and practice. And if you truly want to improve and deepen your practice, I recommend taking class 4 times a week. And don’t stay away too long! If I’m gone for a couple weeks – I start to feel bad, I have to take Aleve again, my arthritis flares up. On the days when you don’t feel like coming, just drag yourself in for class – those are sometimes my best classes!
What would you tell a new student?
Take 3 classes in a row when you first start! If you give up too quickly, you’re not going to see the benefits of what the yoga is going to do for you.
The first year I practiced yoga, I was all about the perfect pose. Lately, I haven’t really cared what the postures look like. When I stopped caring, I noticed that the mental chatter was starting to slow down. I am go-go-go at home with my family, with my volunteer work – during class everything finally slows down and I feel relaxed. It kind of sneaks up on you! I’ve learned that as long as you’re doing the posture correctly and trying the right way – you’re getting the benefits. It’s a challenging class, they don’t dim the lights, play music, make things easy for you. You have to work. But it pays off with how you feel after class.
And the best part of all – you are learning to create that calm space for yourself.