Solitaire, who walks with a cane, says Bikram Yoga helped him discontinue his use of medication for his fused knee. “It hurts; the hips, thighs, gluts, knees, all just hurt,” he said in his student profile. “It’s just the way the arthritis is deposited now. It used to hurt in all of my joints, but now it’s getting a lot better. [Bikram Yoga] has made the pain much less in my shoulders, wrists, elbows; I can almost ignore them now. My hip joint still bothers me, but I’m walking.”
Balance, he added, is key: “I can now balance on either leg, on the atrophied leg or good leg, and I have achieved the whole posture of Standing Head to Knee
Solitaire’s accomplishments are truly incredible, considering his first visit to the hot room. Limping in on crutches, he took one look at students doing Half Moon Pose
, their bodies bent at near-90-degree angles, and thought, “You expect me to do that?” He couldn’t even straighten his arms.
His goal, however, was not perfection. “It was plainly obvious I wasn’t doing that right then and there, but it didn’t stop me going for it,” he said. “I didn’t feel overwhelmed.”
Halfway through his 1,000-class streak, Solitaire reflected on his practice: “I come every day because it’s the best thing I can do any day. If this improvement continues it will come to a point where I can get a connection with my body, in every muscle and every pore, then there must be a way to levitate. And that is a pain-free state. So that’s my goal: to get my body right, to get my body light, to take flight. It’s clear to me that it’s mind over matter. If I get my mind right, and practice with focus, concentration and meditation … I mean, the things I do now, two years ago, were not happening! I got into the habit of counting when 1,000 days will be – and by then I should levitate. Just take it 500 days at a time.”
In an interview with the Brooklyn Daily, Solitaire said, “I’ve seen unspeakable levels of expansion in my psychology, my physical being, and spiritual side. It makes me feel good – and value life every day.”
Keeping a steady smile on his face despite “a certain level of pain,” Solitaire (despite the singular nature of his name) says connection to others is an ever-present and important part of his practice – in the yoga studio and in life.
“The real deal is what’s in the Vedic scriptures by Pantañjali
: the essence of anybody is everybody else. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the community. That’s who we are and, to expand that, the more you embrace community, the more of you is in everyone else. Serve other people, and they will be more in you.”
Take a look at our very own Christine P. with Solitaire in NYC. Solitaire took a staggering 777 of his 1,000 classes with Christine! BYV is lucky to have snagged her from the Big Apple and now you can find her in our studios. Do we have any BYV students ready to start their very own 1,000 day challenge?
Christine Park and Solitaire Macfoy in NYC.