Judy says, “Bikram yoga has fixed my diverticulitis. I used to get it several times a year, and would sometimes take double antibiotics and go on clear liquid diets to alleviate the pain and bloating. It sucked. I only got it once last year and that was a travel week when I hadn't been to class. Bikram yoga balances the added stress, lack of sleep and rich food and drink that often accompany our business trips. Now when we travel we try to have a yoga studio picked out to visit wherever we can!
“Practicing Bikram yoga also allows my mind to calm down after a full day of working on our own business. I have learned to breathe calmly through my nose, focus only on what's in front of me, and really listen, even when my brain thinks it's going to explode. When I do all of this the time flies by. And I forget about work for a while!
“I came to my first class in February 2016, because I stole my husband Alex's buddy pass. Then I told Alex he would hate it and it wasn't quite for him, so (of course) he tried it. The rest is history.
“Alex and I work together all day from home, and that can be challenging. Sometimes we need to ‘divide and conquer,’ and take yoga at different times. Whether we practice together or apart, after class I feel re-set mentally and emotionally and I'm a much nicer person to be around. We encourage each other to go to class even when one of us doesn’t feel like it- because we always feel better when we do.
Alex adds, “Bikram yoga has helped both of us with stress. I am just more relaxed in my work when I practice yoga on a regular basis. I’ve gained strength and flexibility, which I notice when walking and exercise in general. Bikram yoga also helps me with long plane trips! Since starting to practice I even feel more at ease when sitting in that middle seat on a long, long flight.
“When we’re in town, after an evening yoga class Judy and I often come home and have dinner together. It's a favorite time of mine. After an evening yoga class we are relaxed, laughing and putting our business and the rest of our lives aside. Having each taken time for ourselves, we are able to focus on each other and just enjoying our time together.”
Our building has no roof access. For months now, I've been trying to coordinate a really tall ladder- or a really tall guy with strong shoulders- to get us on the roof of Bikram Yoga St. Johns and hang our temporary banner signs. For various reasons, my original plan wasn't looking promising, so my husband and I decided to do it on our own instead. If we couldn't get on the roof, we'd hang it from the balcony! That's how Orlo ended up spending yesterday afternoon scrambling all over the building facade, string held in his teeth and balancing precariously in compromising positions while all the high schoolers at the bus stop across Lombard pointed and giggled.
By the time he called me to come by and check his work, he had the whole thing rigged. It wasn't what I'd imagined. I'd pictured a precisely hung banner attached to the building by some magical invisible method in such a perfect way that passersby wouldn't notice the vinyl or grommets or string or nails but would simply think immediately "Oh! Let's do yoga there!"
I frowned and looked at my feet and softly kicked the ground. I didn't want to ask him to take down what he'd done- he had worked so hard and pretty much risked his life crawling around up there. But it just wasn't exactly right. It looked messy. There were no convenient places to attach the sign, so string criss-crossed the facade at odd angles. A corner had torn from the banner when Orlo pulled it taut (using his yoga-chops to balance on one foot atop the 8-foot tall entry gate) and he had repaired it with a green tarp clip he found in our shed at home. There was a lightbox in the way, so the banner had to be folded up at the bottom instead of hanging flat. One corner was a few inches higher than the other. You get the idea.
I was concerned that this banner would give the wrong impression of our business. I worried that potential students would see it and think we were sloppy, we were unprofessional, we were imperfect. I thought some of them might even decide, seeing our fumbled attempt at banner-mounting, not to give us a try. I told Orlo all of this.
By the way, Orlo is the best. He said he was going to finish tightening some of the strings, and calmly assured me we could cut it all down if I still wasn't happy when he was done.
I am so glad I had a few minutes to reconsider. Because here's the thing: that banner gives exactly the right impression of who we are. And no, we're not sloppy or unprofessional. We're the kind of people- and ours will be the kind of studio- I think any prospective student would be pleased to get their yoga from.
We are people who see a problem and use the tools and skills at our disposal to fix it. We are people who are not afraid to take things on. We build businesses in the same year we get married and birth our first baby. We get stuff done. We clamber up and down building facades to hang banners, and when they tear we repair them with the best thing we've got. We are not sleek or streamlined. We're not putting in granite counter tops. We are scrappy and tenacious and we work. We throw our bodies into everything we do. We couldn't wait for a ladder to tell you we are here, because we know we have something to offer you which will change your life, as it has ours.
We don't mind if things get a little messy. That's something the yoga lets us practice: what's important is showing up and doing your darnedest. As one of my teachers says, "The perfection is in your effort." I almost forgot. But now I have a banner to remind me.
Bikram Yoga St. Johns' studio owner, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.