Think back, way back, to your first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?
My first class was just before Christmas in 2009. My good friend was raving about the benefits of doing Bikram Yoga and I mentioned I would like to give it a try; his girlfriend, Michelle, was managing the Kits Studio at the time and hooked me up with a week-long pass.
Did you love that first class, or loathe it?
My initial impression of Bikram Yoga was: man does this place ever smell bad! I wore a T-shirt to hide my skinny/fat body; that lasted until Awkward Pose when I quickly realized why everyone else was wearing as little as possible. I had done yoga before and found other styles a little boring … but as I was getting my ass kicked in the hot room I remember I kept thinking, “This is my type of exercise.” I am very competitive so I tried really hard to keep up with the class and managed to make it through all the postures. I was obviously exhausted at the end but that feeling I had was like nothing I’ve experienced. I knew that I would come back and that this was something that would change my life. I’m going with … love it!
How soon did you come back for more?
I came back the next day and think I ended up going five days out of that week, including Christmas Day. As soon as I could afford it I bought a month unlimited and started going as often as my schedule allowed. I was hooked right from the get go; I noticed the change in my mood and that was really what I needed in my life. Somehow over the years I had become very negative and I tried different things to change my attitude; Bikram Yoga was definitely the cure. If I get too busy or lazy and miss class for more than three days I start to notice the negative creeping back into my mind – not at the same level that was there before I started my practice but enough to remind me what got me hooked in the first place.
Where do you practise these days?
I find myself going to the new Cambie Studio most of the time; it’s closer to home and that double-headed shower is mind blowing (sorry for wasting water but I just love a good shower). I try to make it down to Kits every now and then as it feels a bit like home and I really like to catch up with Cassie … plus, it’s kind of nice to hide out in “pregnancy corner” and have a “Bikram light” class.
How has Bikram Yoga improved your life?
As I mentioned, the most important benefit for me is the balance in my mood. Having a strong state of mind has enhanced my relations with friends, peers and clients. I have newfound control over my stress levels and find myself capable of focusing on projects at levels like I have never experienced before. With this new mental focus my work has excelled and my life has improved immensely. I am also a big fan of becoming physically stronger and more flexible. It’s sad to watch my skinny/fat physique slowly melt away, but my new extra-soft feet somewhat make up for that.
What do you find most challenging about Bikram Yoga?
The most challenging part of my practice is maintaining my energy levels/watching my diet. I have never been very good with a scheduled diet and I still find that I am not eating at the proper times. I will eat too close to class or I won’t eat enough during the day before I go to class. It’s a real drag when I start a class strong and find myself dying before I even make it to the floor just because I haven’t eaten enough, or when those cute little tacos start having a fiesta in my belly during Hands to Feet Pose.
Any special challenges you can think of as a guy?
There are so many challenges – I’m not sure if they are so different for men and women. The one thing that I think is pretty cool (and I hope this doesn’t come off as sexist) in the yoga room is that men and woman are physically total equals. I would challenge any of my overly macho man friends to spend 90 minutes on the mat beside some of the ladies I practise with; they would get their asses kicked!
What’s your favourite posture? Your most dreaded?
My favourite posture right now would have to be Tadasana (Tree Pose). It gives me what I like to believe is a glimpse into my future: a strong confident man that is continually growing upward into the light. Ustrasana (Camel Pose) is a real killer for me. Once I am in into it I feel fine but there is some serious barrier I have to cross to even get there … just thinking about it makes me want to lie in the fetal position and cry.
Easy question to end: how old are you?
Old enough to have a receding hairline, young enough to care.