Laurie has been teaching with us since her training in 2007. She hopes that students take away a “good experience” from her class. She says, “Sometimes a “good” experience doesn’t look or feel how you think it should and there is beauty in the hard classes that you don’t want to do… For me the details in the practice are really what it Bikram Yoga is about.” We are featuring Laurie this week because her passion for Bikram Yoga and biking! Read on to find out more about her Bikram inspiration and the new business she is starting!
When/where did you take your first Bikram class? Who/what motivated you to try it? Who was your first Bikram teacher?
9 years ago, with wide eyes and a thirst for adventure, I strolled into the Cambie studio. I had been looking for something to replace my intense athletic program as a Provincial and University field hockey player. Sun Wu was the best teacher one could have for a first class; both warm and encouraging. I remember her coaxing me to me get down into Toe Stand. Out of breathe and confused I thought, “I can’t do that! This crazy girl is trying to get me into this weird position!” however I tried and I did it and I have never looked back. After that I would lug my yoga mat and wet towels around everywhere, talk about all the crazy yoga postures that I could do or try to do. At the time yoga wasn’t as popular in my circles as it is now and I would get weird looks about my enthusiasm all the time. Some things never change!
What kept me coming back was that I knew that I had more in myself that I wasn’t utilizing so I just kept on looking in the mirror for it until I saw it. Years later in teacher training (Hawaii 2007) during the hardest, hottest, and most challenging class I have ever taken I truly saw myself; I realized that I have all the resources that I need to do anything that I want. I live by this.
How many years have you taught Bikram? What is your favourite thing about teaching Bikram Yoga?
I have been teaching for 4 years! I can’t believe it! This is probably the first job that I have been doing for that long! I went to the first teacher training in Hawaii and it was really special (but all teachers say theirs was special, so that is nothing new). Spending 3 months in a hotel on the beach doing yoga twice a day with like-minded positive individuals was such a pleasant experience. At that point in my life I had been working in real estate and wanted a different experience. At that time I didn’t want be a yoga teacher, I just wanted a break from life! Two weeks into the training I realized how powerful this yoga is and how it transforms lives.
As for me being a yoga teacher, more than anything I consider myself a teacher, and at this moment in my life I am teaching yoga. I love to inspire students to do what I did on my first day and try something they have never done before. Hopefully that motivation reaches beyond the yoga room and into life. I love to see students work hard, heal an injury and have a good time. Teaching enables me to interact with students on a deep level and it is extremely gratifying.
Describe your teaching style/philosophy.
My teaching philosophy stems from my strong work ethic. When you come to my class I expect students to work hard and in return I will do my best to teach a directive clean yoga class that enables students to go deep into their own yoga practice. When you work hard at something there is the most transformation. Whether a student has had a good or a bad class, the satisfaction of giving your all and finishing the class knowing that you have worked hard is rewarding. Many students don’t realize how good they really are and I try to push beyond those mental and physical barriers to see the beauty on the other side.
What do you hope your students take away from your hot yoga class?
A good experience. Sometimes a “good” experience doesn’t look or feel how you think it should and there is beauty in the hard classes that you don’t want to do. I hope that students value the detail in which the dialogue is delivered. For me the details in the practice are really what it Bikram Yoga is about. If you pay attention and make the connection, even if you think that you are doing what I say, check, you would be surprised at how often students think that are they crossing their thumbs and aren’t.
In honor of Bike Week we thought it would be great to feature you and your beautiful bike crates to our community! What was your inspiration for designing them? [and any other details you might want to add]
I love my bike crates! Four years ago I bought an old cruiser and started riding around the seawall. Back then summers on the wall were not as chaotic as they are now and I had the lay of the land! I wanted a basket but never found one that truly exemplified my style as a cruiser. One day in March I was in standing bow at the West End and I thought, “I should design bike crates made from wood”. By the end of the class I had the look planned in my head, I called my dad after class and we collaborated that weekend on a design. Two weeks later I was selling worldwide! As this blog is going up they are being used in advertising in Berlin in billboards and subways.
Selling, designing and marketing the crates originate from the same concept as putting your mind to an idea and going with it. This is similar to a yoga posture in that I had to make up my mind, focus on the outcome and be fearless in my execution. Selling the crates helped me realize that when I try something with a little hard work, anything is possible. I put my mind to something and now I am doing it! Sometimes there is a fear about putting yourself out there but you just got to it.
Click to purchase one of these beautiful wooden bike crates.
If you could give three bits of advice to Bikram Yoga beginners what would you tell them?
Keep coming. Even if you hate it. Just take the first step to come give it a try for a month; you will be amazed at what your process is.
What advice would you give students starting to plateau or beginning to lose focus (get bored) in their practice?
Details. Details. Details. Like I said above make the connection between the dialogue and the body. The mind will trick you. Don’t buy into your suffering, pain or any other reason why you can’t do something. If you are getting bored you are not trying hard enough. The truth hurts.
What advice would you give longtime practitioners?
Go with the flow. In my own practice there are periods that can last for months or days where I am hyper flexible, strong, focused then there is the flip side of the coin. Try not to attach to what it is and enjoy each class like it is your last.
Do you have a life mantra or motta that you live by?
“Love who you are.”
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” Marilyn Monroe
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” Gandhi
Have you read a great book or heard any great music lately that have inspired you or your yoga practice?
I find inspiration EVERYWHERE! Riding my vintage 10 speed Kuhawara excites every cell in my body. I love to ride around at dusk into neighbourhoods that I don’t usually go to and just cruise around and take it all in. I am very kinesthetic so it is important for me to be stimulated with more than one sense. The way my tires glide over smooth pavement and the way the sun streaks through trees is breath taking. I am even finding yoga inspiration in Calculus! As for music and books I am into I am loving the Cave Singers and reading Krishnamurti and Plato.
To listen to “Summer Light” by the Cave Singers click here.
Remember, bring your bike helmet into the studio to receive 20% off time and class series packages until the end of the summer!