Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?
My first Bikram Yoga class was actually in 2009 in Kingston, ON. I was in my first year at Queen’s University and I had heard about the benefits of “hot yoga” and, since I’m the least flexible person around, I knew it would be a challenge and wanted to try it out.
How soon did you come back for your second class?
I went again two days later but after that, it was a year before I ever went back and began practicing in Guelph regularly.
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
There are so many benefits to be had from regularly practicing Bikram Yoga. It really is unique for each person though, I think. I have a definite increase in my flexibility, a stronger body, and a stronger mind. My most appreciated benefit is improved breathing. I’ve found that in practicing Bikram Yoga regularly I’ve learned to regulate my breath. This is substantial for me because I struggled with anxiety and lightheadedness prior to beginning and I’ve found myself able to breathe deep and remain calm through stressful situations – a skill which I attribute to Bikram Yoga. Another benefit that is very important to me is its positive effect on my mental health. Having struggled with depression, Bikram Yoga is an important part of my lifestyle that helps calm my mind.
What keeps you coming back for more?
To be honest what keeps me coming back for more is what repelled me in the first place! My first Bikram Yoga class blew my MIND. I had never experienced such a challenging, exhausting workout!!! I had fancied myself a pretty athletic girl leading up to it and it completely kicked my BUTT!! I had so much respect for people who actually went on a regular basis. I loved and hated the fact that it was so difficult for me – I wanted to work up to being able to come often. Even if you’re repelled at first, I would strongly recommend you give yourself a month of coming at least twice a week before you write it off because with each class, you get stronger!
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
I think for me the poses themselves are definitely a challenge since I have terrible natural flexibility – it really takes me a long time to improve in my postures. It’s challenging but its also such an excellent environment to improve in because there is no judgment and everyone is at different points in their practice – it doesn’t matter if you can’t do all of the postures well as long as you’re trying your best.
What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
My favourite and least favourite postures are always changing. For the longest time my most dreaded posture was the Locust pose, but recently my back has become strong enough that I don’t feel like I’m dying when I’m doing it. So now Head to Knee is my most dreaded because I’m still really bad at it. But! I know that one day I’m going to have a break through class and be able to finally lock my knee! My favourite posture is savasana because I love focusing on my deep breathing and trying to relax as efficiently as I can.
Any New Year's resolutions for 2012?
To continue to work on a well-rounded and healthy life!