BYSJ member since 2021, Jayki Levy shares her yoga story.
How did you first discover Bikram yoga?
I have always been active and became bored and tired of the gym. I desired a challenge and was looking for something incorporating a mind-body-spirit connection. My colleague always spoke with me about her yoga practice and encouraged me to try it, so I did. I found a Bikram class a couple of blocks from my apartment, and the practice spoke to me immediately. I had also just begun meditating, and the two practices aligned beautifully and enhanced one another. I learned shortly after beginning yoga that the Sanskrit translation for yoga is unity, as in “the union of the soul with its higher self or ultimate source of consciousness.” I believe I was led to this practice by my divine source and felt like I had found my home. I realized that Bikram Yoga provided everything I had been searching for in the other forms of exercise I tried.
What have you gained from your yoga practice?
I have deepened my connection to an endless source of inner peace, grace, self-love, transformation, and healing. The discipline of committing to myself every time I set foot in the studio has transcended the yoga room and permeated my daily life. Every time I talk myself out of leaving the room, or assure myself that I’m going to be OK despite the heat and exhaustion, or push myself to withstand a posture (unless there is a valid reason like injury, which I just went through,) or encourage myself to give 100% to my practice, I reap the rewards outside of the room. Each of those examples translates into me showing up for the difficult things in my life with the same dedication and perseverance. My practice has mended areas within myself I couldn’t reach through the various other ways I nurture myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It has also improved my relationship with myself, my partner, and others in ways I can’t understand or explain.
What has been your greatest struggle or accomplishment?
Self-love and unconditional self-acceptance have been my greatest struggles and greatest accomplishments. Some days I’ve got the juice, and some days I don’t. Some days my balance is on point, and some days I fall out of every posture in the balancing series. Some days my body feels agile, and some days I’m stiff and feel as though my back might give out during standing-head-to-knee. However, two things remain the same each day; I show up and try my best. I practice love towards myself equally on the days I think I had a great class as on the days I don’t, and I accept that every day is different, and every day is teaching me something.
What advice would you give new students or those struggling with their practice?
Most of these gems are a collection of my teachers and fellow yogis. I encourage you to listen closely to the teachers in this studio.
- Just show up.
- Focus on your form and let the depth in the posture take care of itself.
- Listen to the instructions every time – operating on autopilot disconnects us from the present and inhibits change.
- If you fall out, get back in.
- Consistency is key, and there is no substitute for it.
- Motivation doesn’t exist, so don’t rely on coming when you feel like it.
- Discipline leads to habit, and habit will get you to do it, whether you want to or not.
- Breathe, and think about your breath when you’re holding your postures.
- Sleep is essential, and nutrition has everything to do with everything.
- Hydration happens outside of class.
- If you can’t do it, don’t do it, and don’t change it.
- Practice patience and love towards yourself through the process. You’re SO worth it!
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
My partner and I love going on adventures in our Sprinter van and exploring! I also enjoy being home, watching movies or shows, doing creative projects, and hanging out with friends and family. I love the theatre (especially Broadway) and live entertainment. I am obsessed with dogs and have a dog boarding business as my side hustle that brings me immense joy. I have been involved in the rooms of 12 steps for many years; being a part of that community is a source of love and serenity. I enjoy trying new things outside my comfort zone – challenging myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.