NIKI: My story – and I’m sticking with it – is that we met on the glamorous No. 14 UBC bus. I was immediately taken by the pensive look on Nabeel’s face and wanted to know what was going on in his mind. We’ve been dating for just over a month now, but have spent many hours (almost each day) together. They say Bikram Yoga attracts some pretty intense types …
NABEEL: Niki’s story sounds better, but the truth is we met on OKCupid.com. I got a vibe from Niki and wrote: “I like the sound of you.” Before we knew it we were on the glamorous No. 14, near Broadway and Stephens.
How has Bikram Yoga fit into your lives – and your relationship – so far?
NIKI: On our second date I awkwardly but obstinately told Nabeel that a “pre-requisite” to dating me is that you must try yoga. I explained that he needn’t fall in love with the practice, but at least give it a good week’s kick at the can with an open mind. It wasn’t long into our relationship that Nabeel trepidatiously walked from my place to the Kits Studio and found himself sweating on a mat. I was nervous, too. He kept threatening to be disgusted by all the sweat!
NABEEL: I’ve done about six classes now; it’s been intense, challenging, unsettling, liberating … a mass of physical and emotional feeling that I’m still working through. I haven’t quite decided how long I’m in this for, but I’m listening for signs. It certainly is inspiring to have Niki in the studio with me … even though I continue to threaten her with the possibility that I might in fact be afflicted by a pathological fear of diaphoresis.
To practise alone or as a pair – which do you prefer?
NIKI: Both, for different reasons. No preference. There’s something very special about doing it on my own and being completely ensconced in my own world. Then again, there’s something equally precious about having Nabeel next to me during and after class and share that space together, physically, emotionally and spiritually strengthening our bond.
NABEEL: I’ve done all but one class with Niki. I see her sort of as my guide in this process. The one time I practised alone was probably the most difficult of all.
Does Bikram Yoga provide any benefits to you as a couple?
NIKI: It is definitely very meaningful to me that Nabeel pays attention to, is curious about and wants to take part in my spiritual growth and self-care – Bikram Yoga plays an integral role in that dimension of my life. Benefits as a couple? Yes, but I won’t go into detail! Ask me privately and I’ll give the long answer …
NABEEL: Since it’s such a big part of Niki’s life, just being part of Bikram Yoga takes on a lot of meaning for me. It means a lot that she’s invited me into a space that’s very much hers, in which she feels safe and alive. At times when I see myself stumble and struggle in the mirror beside Niki’s graceful energy, I can almost feel her willing me on and back up on my feet. I feel our bond strengthen in those moments.
What do you admire most about each other’s practice?
NABEEL: The grace, the poise, the harmony in Niki’s movements. It’s simply amazing and inspiring.
NIKI: His intentions. His focus. His stability. His inner and outer grace … do I sound like a gushing cheeseball or what? Love is making me this way!
What do you love most about each other, in and out of the hot room?
NIKI: I could write an entire dissertation about this, but I’ll sum it up simply with these words: I love how Nabeel loves and cares; the nature of his gentle, warm heart. I love how he sits and walks with me.
NABEEL: Yeah, this could go on, so I’ll keep it short. I like the gentleness in her eyes, her strong yet sensitive nature. I also like her fashion sense ?
Any special plans for Valentine’s Day?
NABEEL: Umm … yoga?
NIKI: Yoga, and a surprise romantic day and night planned by yours truly. That may or may not involve the No. 14 UBC …
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