Practising Bikram Yoga at the old Cambie studio in 2008, Adam had no clue he’d eventually be running the whole show. As Bikram Yoga Vancouver’s CEO, you can find Adam just about everywhere doing just about anything, from greeting students to fixing leaks to working on his mean backbend in the hot room. We figured it was about time to get to the bottom of his story …
BYV has grown in leaps and bounds since it’s inception in 1999, and we wouldn’t be able to operate without the team that works behind the scenes. Though they may be happy making things tick from the shadows and recesses of our office, the time’s come to expose these invaluable staff members to rest of the BYV community …
Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …
I wanted throw up the second I got in the hot room. Jerome, who was teaching, told me that staying the full 90 minutes was my only goal, so I was determined not to leave and to be a pro on my first day. During the breathing exercise, I wanted to laugh. For Standing Head to Knee, I just wanted to balance on one foot for more than three seconds. By the time we hit the floor … I wanted to cry. Construction, running, skiing, baseball and basketball had killed my body, and I didn’t know it until the two-minute Savasana. I thought to myself, “I’ll never be able to do this, but I need it.” I walked out of class not remembering what day of the week it was, or what had me so stressed before class. It was awesome!
What do you do at BYV now?
Everyday is different, that’s why I love my job. I’m a manager, a maintenance man, a defensive tackle, a greeter, a coach, a money manager, a scheduler, a problem solver and a student who wants to see his school become the best.
How often do you practise these days?
Since going on the AutoPays in 2008 I try to practise between three and five days a week. I should practise more, though … we all should!
Which studio do you practise at most?
Because I work for BYV I try to spread my practice out between all three studios. But my favorite spot is in the West End hot yoga studio, right next to the steamer.
What do you feel are the main benefits of Bikram Yoga?
It helps me sleep better, de-stress and see the brighter side of life. It’s also improved all my sports and makes me feel 10 years younger than I am. In terms of my favourite aspect of the practice, it’s the high – I love feeling my heart racing out of control, following a single bead of sweat as it runs down my arm and the tingling sensations I get in Fixed Firm and Camel Pose. This yoga does things to my mind and body for 90 minutes that I’ve never experienced before. The buzz you receive is beautiful and, five years after I started practising, I still get the same high – and am amazed every time.
Why do you think Bikram Yoga works?
Bikram Yoga pushes you. The teachers are very well trained, and Bikram Choudhury is a genius. Read an interview with Bikram Choudhury here.
What do you like best about working at BYV?
The people. Between the owners, the teachers, the desk staff and our office, we’re a strong team of 55-plus people. All the different personalities, goals and beliefs make for fun times and no dull moments. As a student, I like the smiles I get when I enter a studio and I love the teachers for not letting me slack off – they genuinely care about my practice. I like seeing the changes that happen to people when they commit to this yoga. And you can’t forget the change room banter … all the people at BYV, staff and students, are what make our studios great.
What do you wish students knew about the studio/your job?
How hard everyone works. The desk staff cleans up SO much sweat – they go out of their way for service and customer satisfaction. The teachers use up a ton of their energy every class. It can be easy to think that teaching is easy but it is actually very taxing on the mind and body. As for the owners, Danny and Lisa do more than anyone will ever know to ensure BYV is happy and healthy. I owe BYV, not just because it provides me with a steady paycheque, but because it allows me to learn, be me and grow with a collective group of people.
What’s your best “insider secret” about BYV?
The escalator on P2 at City Square Mall is way faster than waiting for the elevator on P1. Renee likes sweets and Cassie likes jewels. Lisa likes tea, Laurie likes sugar cookies and Jacob L. likes Americanos. I’ve noticed that when the staff gives the world to the students, the students give treats in return.
Funniest moment in a BYV class?
Chengman, for sure. I’ve always wanted to be a prankster and thought it was pretty funny when a guy with a ghetto blaster and a powder-blue tux danced his way into Gaby’s 8:15 p.m. class at Cambie. She clearly didn’t know what to think; the look on her face was priceless!
Wanna give a student shout-out?
I’ve got two: first, to Morgan D. for pushing me to attend my first class. Without Bikram Yoga I’d probably be fat and miserable. Second, to Jo, our accountant, who is going on maternity leave and will be missed. She’s helped us a great deal and has had to put up with Danny and I. Sometimes both at once.
What’s your top practice tip for students?
Drink water. I’m an idiot and rarely do it, but when I make the effort to drink two litres throughout the day my class is always better. I’m pretty sure smiling through the postures helps, too.