When and why did you take your very first class?
My first Bikram Yoga class was last March. Prior to that I had been doing a little bit of hot yoga – one of my best friends was in the ICU at the hospital after a really bad bike accident and I was willing to try just about anything to distract me from the situation and help get me out of my own head. When Dan passed away, I fell into a deep depression for months and gave up yoga completely.
Finally, in March, my manager at work convinced me to try Bikram Yoga with her. We did a 7 a.m. class with Tanya; I did every single posture and, even though I’m sure that I did more than half of them wrong, I wanted to push myself. By the time, we got to Toe Stand I remember thinking, “This is it; I think I’m in love!” I was instantly hooked and, to this day, I dedicate each and every class to Dan.
How long did it take you to get into a regular practice?
After that first class I practised every single day for almost a month. I was slowly beginning to feel like myself again and I was becoming more open to accepting my loss. I still try to practice every day because, for the first time in my life, I’m learning to love, accept and respect myself and my body. I’m also continually inspired by students with really strong practices; they make me want to push beyond my limits and strive for improvement. I honestly think sometimes that I’ve found my “soul mate” in Bikram Yoga.
What’s your studio of choice?
I love all three studios but practice mostly at Kits because it really feels like home to me. Cambie is big and beautiful but, like moving into a new house, it’s going to take a little getting used to until it feels just right.
What do you love most about Bikram Yoga?
When you’re in the hot room you’re forced to stare at yourself in the mirror under bright lights, half naked and sweaty, for 90 minutes. The people around you may be taller, skinnier or, in your own mind, better looking than you. It can be really intimidating at first, but if you come every day you eventually overcome your insecurities, learning that although there are many things you can’t change, what you can adjust is your outlook on life and on yourself. All you have to do is try your best and always put in 100% effort. Like some of the teachers say, “Who you are in the hot room reflects who you are in real life.” I truly believe that, if you can improve yourself in the yoga room, you can and will improve many aspects of your personal life.
What do you find most challenging about the practice?
Other than all of the obvious challenges of this yoga, trying to balance my social life and my practice has been difficult. I’ve brought many friends to class but not many have maintained a regular practice. It can be very frustrating (especially for your friends) when you’re always planning around your yoga schedule.
Also, because I practise primarily in the evening, I find morning classes pretty difficult because my body feels so stiff. But I’m trying to come earlier these days because I know it will only improve my practice. (I still dread that 7 a.m. though!)
You recently completed a 60-day challenge: how did it go?
I’ve done a few 30-day challenges since starting my practice. Actually, my 60-day challenge was supposed to be 30 days until I decided to up the challenge. Around Day 50 I started counting down the days (when you start doing that, each day seems further and further away); by Day 60 I was definitely ready for a break! But I felt strong and stayed positive the whole time. I still can’t believe I did it, actually … but it’s a great thing to do if you’re looking to move further with your practice. Just make sure you’re really ready for it. Sixty days is a huge commitment and you will lose your social life for a couple of months. But if you’re up for it, I highly recommend it.
What’s your favourite posture?
My favourite postures right now are the backbend portion of Half Moon and Standing Head to Knee. These two have been a struggle for me since Day 1. I honestly thought I would never be able to do them, but I’ve really started to improve within the last few months.
Do you think you will go to Teacher Training at some point?
I think I knew in that very first class that teaching was something I wanted to do. Right now, however, I’m just trying to focus all my time and energy into my practice rather than rushing into something I may not be ready for. Teacher Training is a big commitment and definitely a lot of money. I’m saving up for it, but it’s going to take a while. But one day it will happen – I know I want to share with others what this yoga has done for me and what it continues to do for me.
As the person in charge of merchandising for Bikram Yoga Vancouver, what are some of your favourite looks for the hot room?
I’m loving the new Chikum shorts for women; they’re so different from everything else we carry. I’m also trying to expand the amount of men’s yogawear we offer at our studios – why should women have all the fun when it comes to yoga fashion? Guys: look for a new line of men’s gear from New York called MAX in studios soon, and let me know what you think!