Bikram Yoga Student Profile: Aaron J.


Aaron Johnston

Aaron, 37, is a makeup artist and manager at MAC Cosmetics who loves cooking, reading about nutrition and doing Bikram Yoga. Find out how this front-row regular got hooked on hot in less than a year!

When – and why – did you start practising Bikram Yoga?

I took the dive in May 2012 after buying a BYV Groupon. My goal was to gain some flexibility to compliment my gym workouts and weight training but, interestingly, the reverse turned out to be true! I still go to the gym, but many of the exercises I used to do seem unnatural now. Bikram Yoga has changed the way I look at traditional training.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …

My first class was with Danny at Cambie. I’d done hot yoga before and thought I knew what to expect. Well, Bikram Yoga was much hotter … I’m glad they told me to stay by the door! But I managed to stay in the room for 90 minutes and try all the postures. Walking down Cambie Street after class I felt energized and calm at the same time.

What was it that finally got you “hooked” on Bikram Yoga?

At first my progress in poses like Half Moon was very subtle, and I wasn’t coming to class that often. Then, one day, my depth in that first backbend must have increased by an inch! That provided great motivation to keep coming back. These days I’m in the hot room at least three times a week.

Aaron Johnston What are some of the main benefits you’ve received from Bikram Yoga?

Physically, I’m stronger, leaner and more flexible. The mental/spiritual benefits have been more subtle, but I’m more focused, calm and patient and I’ve become far more comfortable with my body. Facing your half-naked self in the mirror for 90 minutes can be intimidating. I had to learn to stop comparing myself to others and realize that we’re all in the hot room together.

What do you love most about Bikram Yoga?

I really enjoy the heat, especially in winter. I also love that Bikram Yoga works my entire body; I’m not a fan of traditional cardio at the gym and like that I can get it all in my practice. Not only does this yoga help my flexibility, it balances it out with strength. I also really enjoy the studio community; I’ve met some of the other students and the staff is always so friendly and welcoming.

What have some of your biggest challenges been?

When I first started to practise I felt very vulnerable; it was hard having to stare into my own eyes, trying not to compare my body and my practice with anyone else. Since then the challenge has evolved. These days I’m working on not allowing myself to become overly confident. If I come to class feeling like I’m great, yoga kicks my ego down a notch. Being in the moment, listening to my body and accepting whatever happens to be going on at the moment is an ongoing challenge for me.

Got any good tips about making it through class?

Vega helps me a lot. I drink the Pre-Workout Energizer to gain energy before practice and add the Electrolyte Hydrator to my water to replace lost electrolytes during class. The thing that helps me most, however, is the Recovery Accelerator, which seriously saves my ass after class! I think I should own shares in that company …

Have any BYV teachers made an impression on you?

I love Jacob’s talks during the two-minute Savasana and Cedric has given me some great help in improving my poses. Lisa also helped me with my shin splint; after a class with her, it felt so much better.

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