How did you first discover Bikram yoga?
I discovered Bikram Yoga through Groupon in April 2012. It took me four months to finally use the Groupon, because I had heard that Bikram Yoga was extremely hot, temperature wise, and that Bikram Yoga was very difficult, but once I got started, I was hooked. That was six years ago. I just celebrated my 6-year anniversary on August 9th.
What have you gained from your yoga practice?
For me, yoga has helped me lose weight, has helped me improve my running speed and distance, has improved my posture, has given me more flexibility and a very strong back, has significantly improved my stress level, has helped me sleep better, and overall, it has made me a better person. When I step into the yoga room, I know that I am going to walk out feeling like a million bucks, despite of how I felt when I first walked in.
Two years ago, after 20 years of marriage, I filed for divorce. Divorce has been the most difficult experience of my entire life. However, thanks to Bikram Yoga, I have been able to navigate through the divorce process with my head held up high, by being the best single mom that I can be to my two sons, Thomas, 14, and Lucas, 12, and by beginning a new career in real estate.
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, before I became a real estate agent. I am a people person and I love to help people, so real estate is a great career for me. Before becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I worked at NASA Ames Research Center for 20 years.
Other than Bikram Yoga, I enjoy running. I have been running for 18 years, but in the past, I was never fast, nor could I do very much long-distance running. Thanks to yoga, my running speed improved quite a bit and my long-distance running got longer and longer. Last year, I experienced a knee injury due to running, and although I couldn’t run for a while, and I required surgery, I still had my Bikram Yoga. I don’t know what I would have done without the yoga!
My other passion is baking. I am a horrible cook, but I love to bake, especially anything chocolate. When I am not in the yoga room, or out running, you will find me baking in the kitchen.
What has been your greatest struggle and/or greatest accomplishment?
My greatest struggle has been finding the time to practice my yoga every day. I know that I desperately need my yoga, so if I could wish for one thing to do every single day of my life, I would choose Bikram Yoga.
For me, Bikram Yoga means “Peace”. When I don’t practice, I don’t feel like I am at peace with myself. Instead, I feel out of sorts. To remedy this, I challenge myself to do the 60-Day Challenge at least once per year. This year, I completed my 5th 60-Day Challenge, and this year, for the first time, I continued my challenge for an additional 40 days, making it a 100-Day Challenge. On day 100, I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt better than I have ever felt in my entire life, both physically and emotionally.
What advice would you give to new students or those struggling with their practice?
I would advise new students to keep practicing. Don’t give up, even if you feel that it is too hot and too difficult, because your body will get used to it, and before you know it, your body will begin to crave it. Plus, if you stop too soon, you won’t get to see the benefits that I have mentioned above. In the beginning, I would only practice once or twice per week, but seven months in, when I started to practice 3-4 times per week, that’s when I began to see and feel significant changes in my body, like weight loss, strength, stress reduction, etc.
I would also advise new students to ask questions after class, because our instructors are here to help us improve our postures. It doesn’t matter what you ask, our instructors are the best of the best, and they will take the time to teach you, so don’t be shy.
Finally, when you are in the room, listen very attentively to the dialogue of our instructors. Try to be truly present. Don’t think about your do-to-list, what you did yesterday, or what your are going to do after class. The more present you are, the more you will enjoy and appreciate your practice, and the more at peace you will be with yourself!