Remember Jean, the pharmacist from France who took his very first Bikram Yoga class while visiting Vancouver last September and changed his life forever? We’ve got an exciting student profile update for you … read on to find out Jean’s weight loss with Bikram Yoga (you’ll be shocked!) and find out where he’s planning on taking his practice next!
Hi Jean! What’s new with your practice since we spoke to you last spring?
Bonjour BYV! I’ve been practising Bikram Yoga a bit in Antwerp (Belgium) and Paris, but mostly in Gent (also in Belgium). Back in September I did a 30-Day Challenge (actually, 33 classes, including some days off, a few doubles and even a triple on the very first day, which happened to fall on my one-year Bikram Yoga anniversary!), but in general I’m trying to do at least three classes a week, plus a few bikram yoga poses at home on a daily basis.
How has your practice changed since you first started?
In my mind it hasn’t changed that much. I mean, from the very beginning I’ve been trying to stay focused, accept myself, not judge my body and accept that EVERY class is different. None of that has changed. It might sound complicated, but to me it’s become so simple: once you’re in the hot room, you forget about frustrations of any kind!
Physically, things have changed a lot in a short time. I’m more balanced and flexible now, able to go deeper into the postures and getting more used to the heat (that took me months to do, but I’ve finally disconnected the heat from any breathing issues I thought I was having or an increased pulse rate). I’m really fine with it now. In fact, the hot room has felt like “home” to me, ever since I completed my hot yoga challenge. I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 88 pounds – quite a lot in about a year-and-a-half! It’s been a huge, measurable transformation, made even more obvious when I look at old pictures of myself or put on my old clothes. My flexibility and balance have also improved as a result.
What are some of the other changes you’ve experienced thanks to Bikram Yoga?
The main changes are about my self-confidence and my fears. I’m way more confident and have learned to accept myself as I am. Before starting Bikram Yoga, I was a bit scared to appear almost naked in the hot room, and to face myself in the mirror. But since then, all my fears have disappeared, even ones that have nothing to do with yoga and body shape.
I’ve also noticed that I’m interested in some Buddhist stuff, always maintaining respect for my Christian upbringing. On a practical level, I’m more sensitive about environmental things, eating organically and learning about Ayurveda.
How do you stay motivated?
In my case it’s very easy indeed: I just put on some old clothes, look at myself in the mirror or look at the numbers on the scale. Also, I’m looking forward to a skin-removing surgery when I’m done with all the weight loss, and that definitely keeps me going!
As your practice advances, do you find yourself facing any new challenges in the hot room?
These days, as I’m going deeper in the postures, I need to accept that I have to back off at times. With such tremendous weight loss from Bikram Yoga, one obstacle still remains, especially on forward bends: my belly (that’s why I’m planning a skin-removing surgery in the future). Also, since I can’t go as deep forward as I can back, my lower back feels unbalanced when I push too much. But, you know, it’s just yoga! All you need to do is accept what’s coming to you, face each challenge head on and work through it safely and conscientiously.
Why did you decide to start blogging about Bikram Yoga?
Since my very first class people have been curious about my practice and my transformation. The feedback and support was so amazing, I decided to share my experience through writing. Like I said, the hot room feels like home to me now, and friends in Canada, France and Belgium inspired me to start my blog. I may be a pharmacist by profession, but blogging about Bikram Yoga makes me feel even more inspired when it comes to other people’s health.
In terms of your many accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
My greatest accomplishment is the fact that I’m still keeping it up after one year of regular practice! I still remember the first day I grabbed my heels during Camel Pose – I really felt a huge opening of my heart, in a good way, kind of like a door to a treasure opening itself after you’ve spent years searching for the key …
Do you have any new goals when it comes to Bikram Yoga?
My goal in the short term is to stay strong enough to keep it up. If I can do that, every other goal, including more weight loss and better balance, will follow. For the long term, my goals haven’t changed much since I gave you my first interview: I still want to share Bikram Yoga with as many people as possible. This includes going to teacher training, and I’m dreaming to open my own studio in France (there’s many more studios in Vancouver than there are here – we need to catch up!).
Do you plan on coming back to Vancouver – and BYV – any time soon?
I’m not sure, hopefully, but I can’t wait to use the new Bikram Yoga Vancouver app when I do!