Friday 17 February 2012

Student Profile - Laura P.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?
I went to my first Bikram class in July 2011. I had never been a big fan of “typical” yoga but my sister had been going to Bikram for a while and really enjoyed it so I figured it’d be worth a try. During my first class, I remember the heat hitting me before even walking into the room. Lying down in savasana before class, I couldn’t imagine how I was going to survive 90 minutes in that room…let alone practice yoga moves I didn’t even know I was capable of. But I managed to survive and walked out of that sauna feeling exhausted but better than I’ve ever felt about myself.

How soon did you come back for your second class?
I can’t remember exactly how soon I came back for my second class. It was probably within the next day or so because I wanted to make the most of my 2 week pass and try the postures all over again, now that I had a taste of what they were all about.

What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
After about 7 months of being a dedicated Bikram Yogi, I feel like this practice has strengthened me physically and mentally. I’ve always been an active gym rat and casual runner and I’ve noticed that yoga has helped make running and other cardio activities easier, as I’m able to control my breath a lot more. I feel like I’ve gained a new awareness of how my body is feeling and try not to let my mind convince me I’m not capable of something – whether it’s workout related or life related. I’m also drinking a lot more water than I used to, even on days when I don’t make it to class.

What keeps you coming back for more?
The sense of accomplishment and physical challenge that I gain from every class is what keeps me coming back for more. I’ve never worked my body so hard in my life, but I’ve discovered that the harder you work in class, the better the results will be. 

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
What I find most challenging about Bikram Yoga is the amount of focus and bodily awareness you have to maintain throughout the class. With other types of physical activity, you can often just workout and let your mind wander, thinking about the problems or stresses in your life. With Bikram, you have to devote your entire body and mind to the practice for 90 minutes and I often find myself losing this focus during specific postures or over-thinking some of them. I always remember Jeff saying that thoughts are just distractions, which I think is definitely my biggest challenge in yoga and life.

What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
Ever since day one, camel has been my favorite posture. Maybe it’s because it is so close to the end of class…but I also feel very strong in this posture and love the meaning behind it, how it exposes your heart and releases emotions. When I’m not in class, I often find myself craving a deep back-bend. My most dreaded posture seems to change on a daily basis. I used to despise standing separate leg head to knee, as I found I it impossible to breathe properly while sucking in my stomach, touching my forehead to my knee, and balancing with my hands in prayer. Thankfully, I’ve discovered that the postures get easier with practice and I look forward to almost every one because I want to see myself improve in the poses I previously dreaded.
Namaste :)

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