One of our latest and greatest Bikram Yoga teachers, Christine, tells us, in her own words, about her journey to the hot yoga room.
I was a computer animator for 10 years before I became a Bikram Hot Yoga instructor. In 2004, when I was living in California, I began to suffer from a severe shoulder stress injury. I did everything that I could think of to get rid of the pain, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, my German massage therapist told me, “Do yoga.”
YOGA? I’d never done it before in my life! But the very next day I went to my first Bikram Yoga class – and I did not stop. For an entire year I couldn’t even put my arms over my head for backward bending (I was the person in class saying, through all the hot yoga postures, “I am not crazy; I am not doing this”) but I didn’t stop going to Bikram Hot Yoga classes.
It went on like that for over a year, maybe more. Finally, I let my EGO and any FEAR whatsoever that I was holding on to go. Finally, I was able to go beyond myself – whoever I used to be. God knows I wasn’t flexible. But I just let it go.
I practised and practised and practised, and my body healed and changed. In 2005, in New York, I reached a turning point. I really wanted to become a Bikram Yoga teacher, to tell other people how I changed my life, inside and out, body and mind, by practising Bikram Yoga.
I made up my mind, put aside my dream of “becoming a famous animator,” and, in 2007, headed to Hawaii for Bikram Yoga teacher training. Since then: Aloha! Hawaii; Loving Brooklyn; Sassy New York; and, finally, Sweetest Heart Vancouver, my home.
I am still teaching hot yoga. I am blessed. But, when I practise, I do not feel that I am a Bikram teacher. I am, and always will be, a student. And when I practise, I try to listen to my own advice as a teacher. For example, I tell my hot yoga students every time, “Your mat is your house for the next 90 minutes. Do your best, whatever you can, don’t judge, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t reject … and have some fun!”
I did. And I still do.
Remember, it’s your practice. All yours. It’s all about YOU.