How did you first discover Bikram yoga?

I first discovered Bikram Yoga 12 years ago in New York City at the 72nd street location. At the time I was studying music and was increasingly in need of a counter exercise to the physical demands of classical piano. I have been practicing ever since and truly can’t imagine a life without this practice.

What have you gained from your yoga practice?

A companion and confidant. In the time that I have practiced Bikram Yoga many things in my life have changed, but one constant has remained, the yoga! It has become a pillar, anchor and rock in my life, and my best friend. The yoga is ALWAYS there for me and fills my spirit, mind and body with rejuvenation and vitality.

What has been your greatest struggle or accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment is in progress at the moment. This year has been a turbulent one for me and I have made the choice to hit the reset button. As of March 8 I quit smoking, which was a habit I enjoyed but one that was not the healthiest. With the love and support of my partner, I was able to see that it was time. But time does not equal easy.

I knew many things in my life would change along with this decision and so I turned to my yoga, as I always do in the face of adversity, and said I would start a 365 challenge from the day I quit on March 8. In 80 days I have done 92 classes and I feel terrific. The smoking was a leech on my stamina and I wasn’t even aware. I have realized since quitting that I am so much stronger in my practice.

Standing Head to Knee pose
Rabbit pose
Triangle pose

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

The hardest part of the practice is just getting yourself in the room. So many thoughts and things can arise that distract, convince or prevent us from just showing up. Just get yourself in the room and you will always feel better.

As Michele so profoundly shared in one of her Daily M’s, we GET to do this, everyday! What a sense of empowerment, gratitude, and fulfillment that is. There are so so many times where I am stretching in the room or in a posture and I am flooded with the intense emotion that I have the use of this gift that is my body.

Give yourself and others space and a view. It can be easy to forget that we are sharing this space and experience with others when we run into class with that pre-Bikram excitement. Setting your mat up with consideration for your fellow yogis is always a nice thing to do.

What do you like to do outside of yoga?

I really like to be outdoors and we are so blessed that in California we can enjoy that opportunity nearly everyday. In addition, I’ve recently taken up cooking and that has been great. I also like to garden and watch movies and shows.

Standing Head-to-Knee pose on the beach

Dante practices his Standing Head-to-Knee pose on the beach.