How did you first discover Bikram yoga?
After a few years of dealing with horrible neck issues that came from too much running, writing my thesis, and working with young children, I decided to try Bikram yoga because I heard it was great for the spine. After a few months of going consistently, I finally was able to sneeze without worrying I’d pinch a nerve in my neck and I haven’t been to the chiropractor in months!
What inspired you to sign up for the 60 day Challenge?
I tried the last challenge over the summer and it felt great! But I didn’t finish. I grew up doing tons of sports and the competitive side of me really wanted to see if I could finish it.
What do you feel like you got out of doing the Challenge?
I really needed something in my life that was just for me. As a preschool teacher, eldest sibling and only sibling still around my parents area, I give a lot of myself, which is the way I love to live, but I also haven’t tried to do anything that’s just for my own benefit. Going to practice everyday was like a reset for my mind after checking in with 20 families about their child’s day. This challenge was definitely more of a mental challenge to see if I could focus on my own well-being and dedicate those 90 minutes to take care of me.
What has been your greatest struggle or accomplishment?
Struggle: stillness. I wish I had a better practice of absorbing the work I’ve just done in between the postures. It’s something I want to teach my students since kids live such hectic lives now. Accomplishment: starting to see my body get stronger as well as my determination. I barely think about the heat anymore and everyday I go in with a game plan for the posture I want to work on. Before my game plan was to just survive the heat!
Any advice or tips for new students?
I was really shy about meeting new people or asking the teachers for support at first. The challenge helped me come out of my shell cause I desperately needed advice for what my body was going through. Through that, I’ve found some amazing coaches and yoga peers that I can chat with. It’s nice to know I can come to BYSJ and “talk shop” about yoga with them since no one else really in my life is doing it, other than my sister and she’s all the way in New Zealand!
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I love to be outdoors, especially the beach. I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my Paul, so we spend a lot of time there hiking, taking care of the property, hanging out with friends and family, or going to lunch at wineries. We also like to camp at Pismo or a lake for some boating. During high school and college, I played water polo and was on swim team. Since I’m not on a team anymore, my sister, cousins and I formed an open water swimming team and we do different swims each year as a way to still swim and make an excuse to spend a long weekend together. We’ve swam from Alcatraz a few times, and swam the Trans-Tahoe Relay 3 times. I’m hoping to get back in the water and train more this summer and now that I have BYSJ to help me with any sore shoulders, I’m not too afraid of training a little harder now.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I love this practice and I’m learning more about my body and what it needs as I go. The teachers are amazing and I love the information they share about the research about yoga benefits for your body, mind and soul!