How did you first discover Bikram yoga?
I’m a runner by heart but I discovered yoga back in 2012 as a compliment to my running. Since then, I’ve really grown to love practicing yoga. Not only has it helped me with my running, but there have been times where I’ve been plagued with injuries and practicing yoga has helped me get through those injuries.
When I first discovered yoga, a few of my friends and I decided to take up Bikram because we were looking for a way to recover faster from all the running we were doing. I still remember my very first class…whew! You know what they say, you always remember your first. I did not make it through the entire 90 minutes that very first time. I just remember looking at that clock going, when is this going to end? I only had 15 minutes left in the class and I had to walk out. I was so disappointed in myself but took that as a learning experience. I came back within the week and let’s just say the rest is history.
As the week’s went by, some classes were harder than others but I quickly learned, that what I did outside of class was just as important as what I did inside of class. After about a year of just practicing once a week or so, I decided to fully commit to practicing on a more consistent basis.
What have you gained from your yoga practice?
The biggest gain from my practice has definitely been the strong friendships and bonds that I have formed here at BYSJ. It really is like no other studio. There are hundreds, if not thousands of studios out there, but there really is no other studio like BYSJ. It truly is a family, and everyone is so supportive. The only thing I had to do was just show up.
I always hear people say “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” Well of course not, by practicing yoga we become more flexible. We all have to start somewhere! I was actually one of those people, until I decided to take that leap into practicing. Now, I can’t imagine my life without it.
I am deeply moved by the power of yoga. The calmness, being mindful and just letting the day go in order to heal and transform. The practice inspires us to listen to our bodies, to try a little extra harder and to be more mindful.
What has been your greatest struggle or accomplishment?
My greatest struggle is actually also my greatest accomplishment! I recently completed the 60 Day Challenge. Every year we do this challenge, twice a year, and I see everyone’s faces filled with excitement on some days and some days, not.
And I see how supportive everyone is to each other. I always had it in the back of my head, that I would do it one day also. So, on a whim, I decided, what better time than now. Completing the 60 Day Challenge by far has been my greatest accomplishment! I learned something new with every practice; postures that I thought I was good at, I wasn’t, and vice versa. It was so weird but such an eye opener. I also got outside of my comfort zone and practiced at times that I normally wouldn’t. Once I established a routine, it was pretty easy to get to class every day. Where the struggle came in, was after the challenge was over. I found it hard to get back into class. It’s something that I didn’t know how to deal with. I kept telling myself, “just go to class!” That’s how we grow, we learn from our struggles. I’ll take it one day at a time.
What advice would you give to new students or those struggling with their practice?
Try to partner up with other yogis. Having that bond and also having someone to hold you accountable or be accountable to can help tremendously. Working out is hard, we should try to have as much fun as possible. Not only have I gained a love for my Bikram Yoga practice, but I’ve also gained some lifelong friendships. That is what makes BYSJ so different from other studios that I’ve been to!!
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I started running back in high school but didn’t really ignite my passion for it until 2010, when I completed my very first half marathon. I was immediately hooked. Since then, I’ve completed 58 half marathons, 11 marathons, 6 50k’s, one 50 miler and one 100k. My main goal for 2019 is to get to the starting line of the New York Marathon injury free. Amongst other things, I am involved with a local running group, race pacing (helping other runners achieve their running time goals), USATF certified running coach and I also have deep roots in the local running community.
I love to run. Running has been my number one passion. I found Bikram as a way for me to ensure that I can continue my love for running. It has been by far the best compliment to it. Not only has it helped my muscles to remain loose, but the strength that I have gained from practicing Bikram has really strengthen my running.