Friday 15 June 2012

Student profile - Tiffany

1) Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class…
My Bikram Yoga journey began in May of 2010. One of my best friends had recently been exposed to BYG and she thought that it may just be the one thing that could balance out my life. I like to keep busy, be efficient, and generally seek adrenalin-inducing challenges. I am also a veterinary student – a demanding program no less, but one in which you really need to learn how to take time for yourself if you intend to live in the present and have a balanced lifestyle. She was right, Bikram began to recentre me from the very first class. 

2) How soon did you come back for your second class?
I believe it was only a couple of days later that I returned to the ‘torture chamber’, as my first teacher referred to it. I will be honest, I sought the day where the heat would be a benefit instead of torture – and to me, that would only happen if I kept giving myself a chance to adjust. The first year of my journey I practiced about 2-3x per week, but in that last year I have discovered that 5-6x a week is a better fit for me.

3) What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
For me, it is combination of physical and mental exertion. By returning to the heat and trying to put every unit of energy you have left into the postures, while observing how you are feeling that day – you experience a moment of relaxation and concentration. The concentration that develops as you practice regularly is one of the most appealing benefits of Bikram Yoga in my opinion. I try to carry this skill into my work and school, knowing that overcoming the many distractions in life may not only benefit my career, but help me to be more attentive of the great small moments that pass us by daily. Along with the relaxation and concentration comes an appreciation of your health. I suffer from a condition called Samter’s syndrome that consists of obstructive sinusitis and asthma, among other things. I am able to feel the difference in my breathing when I am practicing regularly. About a year ago, I had a severe episode and was unable to practice. When I finally was able to breathe through my nose I returned to BYG, and found the recovery to occur much quicker. It was like a daily dose of symptomatic treatment both for my lungs and airways – which led to me seeking daily practice. 

4) What keeps you coming back for more?
While the benefits are undeniable, the practice is addicting – it becomes part of your life. For me, requiring the health benefits is a major pull. I also find the release that comes with the physical aspects of yoga desirable, as sometimes that exhausting relaxation just refocuses your day and enables you not only to do more, but concentrate on the present. Bikram Yoga really is a full body/mind practice – each part benefitting differently, but requiring it all the same.

5) What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
Focus is both a result and deterrent for my practice. From family to friends to school to the little things that are always occurring – maintaining focus while in class in order to obtain a more sustained concentration outside of the studio, is most challenging for me. Regardless of the importance of the daily obstacles that one faces, it needs to stay outside of the studio. Well, it would be ideal. But, you learn to work through it – or at least just observe the topics clouding your focus while Bikram Yoga works to recentre your attention to both the physical and mental 
 requirements of your body, that day. 

6) What is your favourite posture? What is your most dreaded posture?
I would have to say all of the backward bends are my favourite. Certain days these bends are better than others depending on how I feel physically, but I find they are my most craved postures. The strength that is both a requirement and a result of backward bend, camel, etc. challenges my body while giving it the stretch that it desires. My most dreaded posture is without a doubt Awkward pose. From day one this pose is like a race from beginning to end. I do not regard my practice as a countdown, but in Awkward I cannot help it. I challenge myself every day to appreciate this posture – but this needs practice, much more practice. 

7) Any tips for new people?
First off, ensure you are feeding your body the nutrients that it needs to take part in this experience and be sure to hydrate – it will literally keep you standing. Secondly, I would like beginners to be aware that we all have been there – that very first time you step into the studio, feel the rush of heat envelop you and you wonder - can I stay in here for even 20 minutes, let alone 90 minutes? Well, just get through the first class – be gentle with your body and really try to make it into a learning experience. We are all still learning, we all still feel the heat, and we all still feel that pain in our hamstrings. The only thing that really changes is your perception of it – it not only becomes something that your body/mind craves, but a means of improvement as you develop an appreciation for the heat as it protects you from the pain, and the pain as it recentres your mind to take care of those parts of your body. It is always challenging, but that’s why we do it.

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