How did you first discover Bikram yoga?

Thirteen years ago, my friend Katherine told me about this yoga she started doing that was practiced in a hot room and how she was in love with it and thought I would be, too. It turns out she was right! I went with her to Bikram Yoga and fell in love right after my first class. I signed up for a membership and brought everyone I knew to try Bikram Yoga out! While I was in Australia (and practicing at Bikram Yoga Fitzroy), my studio transitioned to a hot vinyasa studio. I became a certified Vinyasa instructor and eventually found my way back home to Bikram Yoga San Jose when I moved to California.

What have you gained from your yoga practice?

A healthy mind and balance. Being a yoga practitioner for so long, I have gone through levels of transformation; physical, mental, and spiritual. With every changing moment in life, my practice helps me gain strength and endurance, both on and off the mat. At first, I thought yoga was only about physical benefits. Then I realized the benefits went beyond the physical (and beyond my mat) and started seeing the changes at work, with my mindset and eventually my well-being.

Michele baking with her mom
Michele baking with her mom
Camel pose
Tere in front of a waterfall

What has been your greatest struggle or accomplishment?

At first, it was resisting the urge to leave the room! Through the years, it has evolved into getting on to my mat. I thank myself every time after class for showing up. One accomplishment is that I keep showing up and giving my mind and body the ability to bend and be agile. After my knee surgery at 20 years old, it took me about four years to sit and get back into Supta Vajarasana (Fixed-Firm pose) and over two years to straighten my leg in Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing Head-to-knee).

My greatest accomplishment was overcoming my ego – every day is different, and so is how my body will respond to my practice. During my pregnancy, I missed practicing Standing Head-to-knee pose. I honored my pregnancy practice and learned to never take the pose for granted on my mat because I never know when I will get the opportunity again.

What advice would you give to new students or those struggling with their practice?

I feel that yoga is very similar to a video game. You want to keep advancing the levels, yet you never want the game to end. Always show up, know that your yoga “game” may never be the same, and cherish it! Oh, and stay in the room!

What do you like to do outside of yoga?

When I’m not at work or yoga, I’m at the park or swimming at the beach with my kids and husband. You can also find me in my kitchen baking something I found on Pinterest or reading a book. Always smiling with my face towards the sun 🙂