Lauryn, a tried-and-true BYV regular at just 25 years old, is prepping to go to Bikram Teacher Training this spring. Find out more about her practice and what motivated her to take her yoga to the next level!
Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …
My first class was with my mom, when I was 16, in Victoria. I was doing a lot of musical theatre, cross-country running and squash and thought a change of pace would be good. We both love the tropics, too, so yoga in a heated space sounded like the best of both worlds! We had no idea what to expect really, and neither of us had done much yoga before. I remember kneeling down a lot during class and looking around the room in awe; the energy was intense and it was so hot, but I liked it. I also remember thinking everyone there was completely insane … until after class, when I felt euphoric and wanted more. I got a weekly pass and was hooked after just a few more classes.
Practising Bikram Yoga brought mental clarity and lots of positivity to my life. I felt energized all the time. But when I moved to Toronto for school about six months later I didn’t keep up my practice. (Looking back I wish I had; it would have made the stress of school much easier). When I was finally back in Vancouver I remembered how much I liked this yoga, even though it had kind of fallen off my radar. I was also fresh out of a relationship and not in a great headspace; I needed an escape. I went to the Kits Hot Yoga Studio; Cedric was teaching and I wasn’t able to think about anything other than the yoga postures. There was no room for other thoughts during class and it let my brain shut off. I left the studio buzzing and have been practising ever since.
How often do you practice Bikram Yoga these days?
Around four to eight times a week, depending on my work schedule. I normally go to evening classes but have been trying to do 6 a.m. when I can muster up the energy. It helps that I live with Tierney and she encourages me to go when she’s teaching – she’s already up, so why not go? I practise in the front row as much as possible because then I have no excuse not to give 100%, considering I’m truly face-to-face with myself. I’ve also been lucky enough to experience other studios when travelling. I went backpacking for a year and kept up my practice at the Burliegh Heads studio on the Gold Coast and in Katmandu, Nepal. It felt like coming home even when I was so far away.
What are some of the main benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
Practising puts me in tune with my body, and using it as a means to gain strength and flexibility is pretty cool. On days I don’t practice I notice my mood changes and it feels like something’s missing. I literally feel naked in public without my yoga mat in tow! Emotionally it’s been the best method of recovery. It breaks you down and clears your mind, allowing you to refocus and reconnect. I’ve turned to my practice when other aspects of my life have been difficult. By the end of class the issues don’t seem nearly as daunting and I’ve either worked through the problem or decided to just let it go.
I also love to rock climb and find Bikram Yoga really helps with all those tricky moves and balance.
What do you love most about Bikram Yoga?
I love the heat. If I could I’d practise on top of the steamer! I also love the patience it brings out and the confidence I’ve gained. I’ve heard a few teachers say. “Don’t rush the posture, you have your whole life.” In other words, enjoy the journey. I’m continuously inspired and amazed by the success stories I hear from other students. I also love how years later I still get that same incredible energized feeling after class. That feeling is like the Eighth Wonder of the World!
Got any tips for making it through a Bikram Yoga class?
Definitely hydration. On days I’m not hydrated enough I notice how stiff I am – but that might also be the chocolate I eat. Positivity is key, too: what you think about, you bring about. Before class starts I set my intention to have a wonderful class; it really IS mind over matter! I try and focus on the details in the dialogue and working on things I don’t even notice I’m doing, like furrowing my brow or clenching my teeth. I find that reminds me to relax into the postures and go beyond any fears. And smiling, because we all need to learn to not take ourselves so seriously.
- Related Post: Monday Motivation: Drink Water!
Got any favourite Bikram Yoga instructors?
All the teachers have made an impact on my practice and in my life. Everyone brings something different to class and they have all been encouraging, challenging and inspiring. I’ve also really enjoyed the posture clinics with Craig Villani and Ida Ripley; I’ve picked up some great corrections from them and return to class refreshed.
When did you decide to go to Teacher Training, and why?
I’ve always wanted to go to Bikram Teacher Training but money and other ambitions have sidelined it until now. I finally have the funds and am ready to take on the challenge. I’m looking forward to meeting people from all over the world and being sucked into a yoga bubble for nine weeks. I’m also excited to be doing something I’m extremely passionate about. Though I’m going without many expectations, I’d like to see where I can strengthen my practice, learn more about the entire process and meet the man behind it all!
Got a favourite yoga moment you’d like to share?
My brother and I did a Movember Challenge together last year: he grew the ’stache and I did a 30-Day Yoga Challenge. We ended up raising almost $700, which was awesome. I’m still, however, determined to get him in the hot room!
- Related Post: How to Complete a 108 Day Yoga Challenge
Want to follow Lauryn’s journey at Teacher Training?
Comment below and let us know where is the most exotic place that you’ve practiced Bikram Yoga!!