How did you first discover Bikram Yoga?
I started Bikram Yoga in 2008. Before this, I heard a lot about it and wanted to do it for weight loss. A friend told me that we had Bikram Yoga 20 minutes away from me. Since then, I continue with this yoga until today. I practiced an average of three times per week for a few years. After I took my early retirement in 2016 and moved here to be with my husband, I practiced an average of six days per week unless I was on vacation. I continue with my practice six days per week during the pandemic, inside my tiny bathroom with space heaters and humidifiers. Of course, this can’t compare to the practice in a hot room with our wonderful teachers.
What have you gained from your yoga practice?
As I mentioned, before starting in 2008, it was more about weight loss. Once I started, it became a lifelong practice. I noticed that I was calmer, and it relaxed me. I had a demanding job; I was an accounting professor prior to my early retirement. The combination of mind and body awareness was very beneficial to me.
What has been your greatest struggle or greatest accomplishment?
For the first few years, my shoulders hurt badly in the warmup series. It got better after a few years. Still, I am struggling with many of the postures. But I noticed that doing the postures correctly is so important. Even today, I am still learning to correct my postures with the help of our teachers.
At the end of 2018, I had a heart attack. Looking back, I am so glad that I went to the emergency room on that day, as I did not know I had blocked arteries. I listened to my heart and knew that I felt different that time, and told my husband that we should go to emergency to check it out. I had the procedure done right away at Kaiser, with two stents inserted at the arteries. I still ask myself the same question, what if I did not go to the emergency room that morning? I am thankful that I am alive, and I’m grateful that I listened to my inner voice, which I believe was enhanced by the Bikram yoga practice. My siblings and husband also attributed my resilience to the heart attack to my many years of exercise.
What advice would you give to new students or those struggling with their practice?
Bikram yoga is not easy for many people, but it works. This mind and body workout will bring clarity to your thoughts, relaxation to your body, and happiness to your life. It is a lifelong journey.
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I love swimming, walking, gardening, good food, and traveling. I began to learn piano last year, at 64! Life is indeed a journey.