Yoga for Seniors: Naomi M.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …

My first class was at Danny and Lisa’s first studio on Broadway near Arbutus. I had practised some types of yoga, but not Bikram Yoga or any form of hot yoga. Danny and Lisa were so excited about Bikram, I thought I would try it out. My first reaction went along the lines of, “This is crazy,” and “You have to be out of your mind to endure this!” But after I took five or six classes (with, I must say, quite long breaks in-between), I started to “get” the wisdom about stretching in the heat. The proof didn’t come through my head, but more in how my body felt about it.

What benefits have you gained from Bikram Yoga?

I am a big believer in keeping fit and active, and I have found that Bikram’s 90-minute classes are the best way of following through with that goal. As I am approaching 70, I find myself experiencing more aches and pains in my body. The biggest personal benefit is that I’m pain-free when I do Bikram Yoga four to five times a week.

Also, after a class I find there is less time or space for emotional distress; what’s left is more openness and caring. I also find that my practice brings me to the now. So the benefits to me are clear: no pain, reduced stress and more inner presence. I just have to get to class and all the rest works out.

What advice would you give to a beginner?

Stop trying so hard and just let your body be with the yoga; let the yoga work you. Remember to breathe. It’s never too late to be in a Bikram Yoga class. There is no competition or comparison – it’s a very personal journey. Just get to a class and follow through at least a few times to see for yourself. Listen to what your body wants.

Which do you prefer: practising with Danny or taking his class?

I prefer practising with Danny because when he stands next to me, I learn from his practice (and he likes to whisper in my ear about how to improve mine!).

What was Danny like as a kid?

Danny was a very active child from the moment he was conceived. From an early age, he loved to dance and he loved music – overall, a very social character. At times he would retreat and be very pensive, and then he would burst out again in dance! He has always been curious and sensitive. I think he learned to be in life by having a sense of humour.

What changes have you noticed since he started practising Bikram Yoga?

Through his practice I see that Danny has gained a deeper understanding of life and others. He loves to help people and teaching Bikram Yoga, which he is very passionate about, has given him a great vehicle for being able to help others and promote healing.

Tell us a little more about yourself …

I am a teacher also. I have worked with people for many years. My husband and I have a retreat centre near Taos, New Mexico, where we work with individuals and couples. I am halfway through 67 and have not made enough time for myself. In my older years I want to remain healthy and vital, and I see that as my primary responsibility now.

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