Congratulations Bikram Yoga San Jose instructors, Nicole Duke and Paul Knisely, for placing First in the Women’s and Men’s Divisions respectively of the Northern California Yoga Asana Championship, January 9th, 2010: and to Bikram Yoga San Jose instructor, Shawn Taylor for placing Second in the Men’s Division. It was an amazing day for Bikram Yoga San Jose. All 12 BYSJ participants did absolutely incredibly including: Cori, Huong, Shoko, Yuka, Baldo, Ban, Chris, Jason, and Michael. It was a culmination of months of training, all coming together on stage for three life-changing minutes seven postures, all with impeccable technique and grace. What courage! And, If that weren’t enough, BYSJ instructor and yoga champion, Cynthia Wehr, along with current yoga champion Courtney Mace performed a stunning eight minute yoga routine that was recognized with a standing ovation.

“Having a deeper yes burning inside us gives us the courage not to run away from our fears but rather to run away to “something better,” including our dreams and the principles we stand for.” –Everyday Greatness, Stephen Covey.

Congratulations also to all our 60-Day Challengers. It’s our most ever with over 130 of you coming in day after day to accomplish a very challenging goal – 60 consecutive days of yoga. Yes, it takes courage, physical endurance, mental discipline, will power and more to keep this goal alive. But, it also takes a surrendering and a vulnerability to rise to the emotional challenges that present themselves during this 60 day passage. It’s hard but necessary. Your job is to not only pay attention to sore tight muscles but also to catch yourself during those “ugly” moments when inner conflict arises, and to do so with compassion and unconditional love towards yourself. Questioning your anxiety and tending to it with newly acquired insight and understanding reaps rich rewards. At the end of 60 days, you’ll not only have a clean, healthy, lean, yoga body but a crisp, loving, and attentive mind.

“Some of life’s greatest lessons suggest that before we can attain a success in the world around us- our communities, workplaces, homes – we must first achieve success within ourselves. The most important element we put into any goal or relationship is not what we say or what we do or what we have, but who we are.” –Everyday Greatness, Stephen Covey

BYSJ recently celebrated seven years as a powerful yoga community on Saturday, January 23. Each year, the festivities get more meaningful as we become more closely knit as partners in our yoga journey. Each year we offer complimentary yoga during the day, enjoy a huge pot-luck dinner at night, followed by entertainment, that for me, keeps a smile on my face and a glow in my heart for weeks to come and I hope it does for you as well. This year was exceptional because it included so many of our talented members: thank you Loren Wright for your gifted humor; thank you Cindy Lau for your talented voice; thank you Mike Johnson for your hilarious improvisations; thank you competitors for allowing your fellow members to see your competition performances; and thank you members for your hugs, your stories, your families, and your love. As I look back on January, I see how the month perfectly captured what has been maturing these last seven years. It may have started with my own search for meaning in my life after the passing of my mom 11+ years ago, but it has resulted in so much more not just for me but for all of you who have contributed to the growth of BYSJ. I was lucky enough to find a vehicle which enables me to not only know myself but to also express myself. And you have too – as competitors expressing yourselves on stage, as members expressing your talents at our anniversary party with humor, song, and homemade favorite dishes; as our 60 Day Challengers expressing your courage and dedication; and – our new students expressing desire for change in mind and body, are all manifestations of a passion simmering within each of us. As one member put it to me the night of our Anniversary, “we have become one big family.” Yes, our environment has given us a place to discover that which gives us meaning and test drive it until we feel a sense of comfort and fulfillment in our outward expression. But it starts with a long journey from within and the yoga is “the way.”

Here are thoughts shared by members about our community

God, I love my yoga studio! How can I focus on one aspect? I have found a way to make it mind over matter and that changes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-I-n-g. Thank for having us. –Nola

I still remember my first class, the first day that this studio was open – seven years ago. You’ve changed my life. Thank you. – Lana

Thank you for creating this space! Yoga has allowed me to open my third eye, reconnect to my higher self and manifest the divinity within. Yoga has taught me the true power of mind through breath to channel S-P-I-R-I-T. –J.P.

The yoga has taught me that there are no limits, that I am powerful, that I am one that I don’t exist outside of or separate from the rest of the universe. Thank you for creating such a uniquely vibrant, precious source of wisdom and community. Congratulations on seven years. –Cindy

I sleep better, my mind is calmer, I’m skinnier, my skin feels cleaner, I’m more bendy, I neck and back pain has almost disappeared, I am happier, I love yoga –Jane

From bones to the skin, everything is better four years and counting. Thanks for a great space to practice, work and grow. –Jonathon

We are one spirit, one humanity with the power to bring peace into the world through our practice –Lisa

Thanks for the opportunity. Today was my 118th day out of 128 days. I have only missed 11 days. The experience had been transformational in all aspects of my life. Thank you! – Shahin

Yoga is my health insurance. This studio and my practice has transcended my life. –Bill

Our responsibility together is to keep it going and to welcome in more to the yoga. “You are his highest creation – what are you doing to reach beyond yourself? –Yogananda

Thank you to over 17,000 of you who have come into the yoga studio. ALL of you have played an amazing role in making our studio the success it has become. If you missed any of our events, this newsletter and this month’s website are committed to giving you the full experience through videos, links and blogs. Be inspired as if you were there. See all links below.

I am so grateful for YOU and for my life. I acknowledge and appreciate you who are with me now and know that seven years is simply the beginning of many more years of collective and individual expansion.