My Love Affair With Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga Training, San Diego (Sept-Nov 2010)
I was introduced to Bikram yoga in the spring of 2009; I had just finished my first yoga training with Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. I had been giving classes for about 2 months when a friend of a friend spoke to me about this yoga practised in a very hot and humid room. He swore by it, telling me about the amazing benefits from this practice and that I should come with him to try it. He hadn't practised in a while, and wanted to get back into it. I guess he was looking for motivation, because after weeks of failed attempts at meeting up to go (he always seemed to have something last minute which caused him to cancel :D), I decided I was just going to go on my own.
So, here I was, in the West Village, intrigued and eager to experience what my friend's friend had described as something like no other yoga practice. And, he wasn't wrong. I left the 90mins class in a euphoric state, flushed out of all toxins imaginable (having sweated probably a gallon of water :D), a glowing skin and a clear and rested mind. I had bought the introductory 7-days offer, and I went every single day. After 3 days, my friends were asking me what I was up to as they noticed the glowing skin and the chilled out energy I was giving out. After the first week, I never stopped going to the studio. It was amazing, I was also practising Hatha Yoga at Integral Yoga Institute, where I also gave classes. The combination of the two styles was just fantastic, both as a practitioner and, as a teacher.
After a month of practising Bikram yoga, I decided I was going to take the teacher training because practising wasn't enough, I wanted to share it with other people, I wanted to share the amazing feeling I felt after each practice. For over a year, I saved up money every month to pay for the tuition fees, a whopping 11 grand for an intense nine weeks on the other side of the country. A part of me was curious to find out if I could 'make it'. Bikram yoga is intense in its design, nine weeks of two Bikram yoga classes 6 days a week plus one on Sunday, on top of the theory, was something else. It takes dedication, determination, compassion, and love. It was an incredible experience, that took me to the limits of my physical and mental capacity, and made me discover that I had room for more. I made it through the nine weeks, and came back to NYC, ready to share this amazing sequence.
Thanks to the amazing owner and teacher of Bikram Yoga Manhattan, Rafael Pacitti, I got to give classes straight away to the community I had spent the last 18 months practising with and learning from. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I was offered in NYC, but I had been ready to leave that gorgeous city. After the Bikram Yoga TT, I spent another 6 months in NY giving both Bikram yoga and Hatha yoga classes. I had started to apply for jobs in other parts of the world, and I got a gig teaching and managing a new studio in Dub Town, Ireland. In April 2011, I said goodbye to NYC and to one of the best periods in my life.
I went on to practise and guide Bikram yoga classes for over 4 years in Dublin, and Australia for a little while, before moving to Seville, Spain. I went two years without any Bikram yoga practice because there were no studios in Seville; I thought this was it, that I would never practise nor share Bikram yoga again. I had been guiding Hatha and Vinyasa Flow classes in different studios in Seville when I found out through one of them that a Bikram Yoga studio had opened. I almost jumped for joy at the idea that I would finally get to hit that hot room again. My first practice back was a slap-in-the-face-high-five coming home kinda feeling :D I left the studio, just as I had done that first week, in a euphoric state, cleansed and light. Shortly after, the amazing owners of Bikram Yoga Spain Sevilla -Esperanza and Juanma, offered me to guide classes at their studio, and I of course accepted; it was an amazing opportunity. My excitement overcame the slight anxiety I felt at the idea that I had never taught Bikram yoga in Spanish :). Fortunately, I had asked for the dialogues in both Spanish and French at the end of my Bikram yoga TT. I had asked for the French version because I figured it would be good to have it, since French is my mother tongue. I'm not really sure why I asked for the one in Spanish (call it foresight) since I had never been to Spain, nor did I speak a word of Spanish at the time, haha.
I printed the Spanish dialogue and put my head down and studied it. The first class was a little wonky as my brain wanted to guide in English, but I surprised myself and did it. I kept on studying the dialogue and practising the sequence, taking mental notes of how Esperanza worded some cues, and after a few weeks I was as comfortable teaching Bikram yoga in Spanish as I was to do so in English. I just LOVE languages, it is so damn fascinating how the brain works. I went on to guide classes, posture clinics and workshops at BYS for another 2 years. To get to study the Bikram yoga sequence and practice one again, in a different language, was a great privilege. I refined my cues even more, and learned more from my own practice.
Fast-forward to today: I just taught my first Bikram yoga class in French :). Up until 3 weeks ago, I hadn't practised (nor guided) Bikram yoga in over a year. To be fair, I hadn't practised ANY yoga in a studio environment for over a year, so when the studios re-opened in Toulouse, I decided I was going to pay a visit to some of them. The first studio that caught my eye was Moving Yoga Toulouse, it's on a frigging barge! So I was instantly drawn to it and eager to take a class there :D. And they offer Bikram yoga classes. Once again, I felt the butterflies in my stomach at the thought of sweating it out once again. I love ALL types of yoga, and practise different styles, but I truly enjoy having a heated practise as part of my routine. It's a challenging environment to practice in, but the feeling at the end of it is like no other. My first class at MYT was actually a beautiful Vinyasa Flow class; I had wanted to practise Bikram, but there weren't enough peeps that day, so the class had been cancelled. The week after, though, the class was up and running. It was guided by Coraline, one of the owners of MYT, who offered me to teach classes. Once more, I found myself in a state of both excitement and a little anxiety :). I love guiding classes, that is why I am a yoga teacher :), but I once again found myself out of my comfort zone. I had never taught a 90mins Bikram yoga class in French. I read up the dialogue over the course of last week, and went in today telling myself that this class will be the most challenging, but once it would be done, I would just have to do it again :).
It went down a little similarly to the first time guiding in Spanish: my brain wanted to speak in English, but I made it hahaha, amid a few amusing blanking moments and a couple of dodgy words lol I also surprised myself, at how much I remembered and how comfortable some things were. I give class on Thursday again, so I am continuing to study the French dialogue, and I am going to take class Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I am so grateful for this practice, and for all the opportunities it has given me in the past decade. I honestly never imagined I would be guiding Bikram yoga classes in French on a boat when I took that training ten years ago. That is why life is truly magical: there is zero way of knowing what is around the next corner. I have written about how challenging it has been to be back in this country and, but I also know everything comes with sadness and greatness. I am grateful for all of it.