BYV: how long have you been practicing Bikram yoga, did you start at BYV or somewhere else?
Aims: Its been six years I began my journey with Bikram yoga in Kelowna and then fell blissfully in love with BYV the second I walked thru the door five years ago!
BYV: What inspired you to begin taking class?
Aims: I found myself in a place where I had forgotten that perfect health was our natural state, I needed a practice that could help me realign with the healthiest, most vital aspects of myself in an environment where I could trust the teachers to guide me thorough healing safely . That way I could get busy reconnecting to my body in a loving way…no matter how painful that process may be!!
I had always been invested in health and yoga and when I looked in the mirror I felt hypocritical and disappointed in my body…not ground for healthy growth. I needed a practice that could guide me back to center and help me squeeze and wring and stretch the yucky stuff out so that there was room for the good stuff to shine through. At the time I had 2 babies one year apart in age so I couldn’t mess around, I had to go for the best, most efficient body/mind/spirit hit possible. I also had some pretty funky stuff going on with my body so I couldn’t compromise on the level of training the teacher had, I needed to trust that I wouldn’t further damage myself with my workout routine…Bikrams 26/2 was the only way to go.
BYV: What benefits did you notice right away from practicing?
Aims: A sense of victory every time I left the room, no matter how difficult the class. That sense of accomplishment and victorious juju has grown and shifted over the years to become an unshakeable sense of self respect…I mean who could ever NOT respect themselves after finishing that class!!
I also noticed immediately that my parenting and approach to life were benefiting greatly. Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was being controlled by the events around me and my reactions to them, the more I
practiced the better my emotional equilibrium and mindfulness became.
BYV: what long term benefits have you experienced?
Aims: My body, mind and spirit have all cultivated strength ,flexibility and presence with every passing year I spend as a devotee to this practice. I have healed and recovered in so many ways physically that I cannot even begin to list them here, they are “old stories” thanks to this practice and there are so many that it kind of blows me away…I must have felt SO awful all of the time!!
I now have the unshakeable belief that as long as I continue to “show up” that my body will continue to heal and my life will flourish in ways I can’t even yet imagine!
BYV: What motivates you to get your toes on the line as frequently as possible?
Aims: Everything is better when I do!! I mean EVERYTHING!!!
My art, my relationships, my level of gratitude, my meditation practice, the way I nourish myself and others, my whole world shifts into a brighter more delightful space when I get into the hot room as often as possible. And when I am lacking in motivation and trying to talk myself out of showing up I just imagine Bikram yelling “no choice!!” and then I can’t help but get my ace in there!!
BYV: Have you used Bikrams yoga as a form of therapy or rehabilitation?
Aims: Yes, absolutely. I use it to manage hashimotos thyroiditis and have successfully stopped taking daily medication for ADHD, hypothyroid and back pain. I am also in the process of losing 100lbs (a by-product of the hashimotos ) and love that even though I still have 75 lbs to go, I KNOW that I am strong and fit on the inside underneath the excess.
BYV: What is your favorite posture and why?
Aims: All of them…they are all like little teachers. Some are nasty and bossy like awkward pose, and others are blissful and loving like savasana. Either way, I feel like they ALL teach me something new about my body and life every time I hit the mat.
BYV: What would you suggest to a new student looking to expand their practice?
Aims: A few things, the first is to say “thank you” for everything that comes up in the room…every little pain and creak and all of the delicious good feelings too! The next is to ask for help…our teachers are outstanding and incredibly supportive, they see things we absolutely do not notice about ourselves…sometimes its as simple as them reminding you to “remember to breathe” or “activate your inner thigh” If you don’t want to ask for help then get your hands on either of Bikrams books, not only is he hysterical and passionate but the insights into posture details are supremely helpful.
BYV: Have you ever felt like running out of the room? If so, what kept you from acting on it?
Aims: YES!! Omg, I had NO idea how intensely strong my negative mind was until I started this practice!! How I avoid leaving the room is to actually listen to what my mind is telling me and 9times out of 10 it is positively nonsense!! When I realise that my mind is telling me that I have to leave or my “head will blow up” or “ I will die of exhaustion” it makes it way easier to have a little chuckle, take a deep breath and tell it to relax!!
Specific tools that have helped me NOT run are: mantras, visualizations, deep breathing, and honestly just looking around the room at all of the people who were courageous enough to just show up and try.
BYV: We would love to hear something personal about you and your yoga…
Aims: My yoga practice is the same as my relationship to art in so many ways!! Both are practices which teach new lessons every day (and NEVER the ones you expect them to be!), both require dedication, focus, determination and trust. On my mat or at the canvas I am only able to do what I can based on the skills I have cultivated through patience, presence, commitment and humility. And the only way to truly move forward is to put in the time, trust what you have been taught and surrender wholeheartedly to the process.
My experience in the hot room changed completely when I noticed these similarities. I was sprawled out like a starfish on my mat, sweating from places I didn’t know sweat came from (seriously, I had NO idea that our shins sweat until I tried putting my head on my knee!!) feeling SUPER sorry for myself when I thought “I wish I had the same attitude about yoga as I do about art…I would never just give up and sulk under ANY circumstances where I was creating…I would just step by step move through the suck until I mastered the skill”…and voila!! I had to stop trying to be a master and just devote myself to being a lifelong student, the exact same way I approach art. A humble student attitude to kill the ego trip and I was set!
Now I enter the hot room grateful. Grateful that I have legs to walk in on. Grateful for my SUPER patient teachers and their willingness to repeat the same thing every day so that I can remedy all that ails me!! Grateful for the community of people who gather silently in the hottest room in Vernon to sweat their tails off together!! Grateful for a practice that has rekindled my love for one of the oldest, most beautiful modalities of healing and all of the brilliant teachings and offerings that come with it. And grateful to the core for a home away from home where I cross paths with people, many of whom whose names I don’t even know, but for whom I have the utmost of respect….oh, and sometimes I get to color on the walls, which is like icing on the world’s most delicious cake!