Finding himself in a city he didn’t want to live in and a job he wasn’t sure he wanted to do, Tim sought clarity in the hot room. As a Bikram Yoga teacher, some of his top tips for students include: pay attention to every move you make, listen as best you can and ask plenty of questions after class.
Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class …
It was back in Toronto in the fall of 2002; a bit depressed to be back in a place I didn’t want to live in and doing a job I felt conflicted about doing (playing baroque violin in an orchestra). Also, my neck, back and shoulders ached and I wanted a deep, interesting practice to help my spinal alignment and clean my body out. I saw a flyer with a man practicing Standing Head to Knee Pose on it and thought, “Wow, that looks intense.” After I took my first class, I was on Cloud 9 …
How long did it take you to get into a regular practice?
I was definitely hooked that first fall, practising about four to five times a week. But I fell off the rails a bit the following summer. Something that really helped get me back in the room on a regular basis was doing a work/trade at my home studio on the Danforth in Toronto, as well as doing a 30-day challenge. I felt surrounded by people who were on the same wavelength as me. Currently I practise every other day.
When did you decide to make the transition from student to teacher?
I used to read Bikram’s book and fantasize about studying with him and becoming a teacher. By the summer of 2004 I had finally extricated myself from that work I didn’t like, and decided to attend Teacher Training with encouragement from Divi Chandna, who owned the Victoria Bikram Yoga Studio at the time.
Training was very intense; at times it felt like I was in jail, which made the Saturday afternoon and Sunday free time sweet beyond anything in the world! But then I would be filled with joy for having made it to a place where I could study these postures and this series in depth, with the absolute experts in the field.
What do you love most about teaching Bikram Yoga?
I love the fresh, clean slate that each class represents. I love to help students have a meditative focused class – and to encourage that extra bit of energy and strength that creates a breakthrough. The number 1 thing I want students to develop is concentration, so I do my very best to teach in a non-distracting way (occasionally deliberately distracting to make them laugh) and to give as much physical instruction as possible, in order to direct the mental strength to physical strength.
What are your top tips for students of various levels?
Pay attention to every move you make in the room; listen as best as you can during the class; and ask teachers questions after the class.
Are you still working on improving any aspects of your practice?
Yes; apart from the postures, which I’m always trying to improve, I am trying to move my feet less and eliminate looking down at my feet between sets.
What do you do outside the hot room?
I’m a real estate agent specializing in vintage apartments. You can visit my website at www.timhaig.com.