Worried about the impact of her mom’s long work hours and stressful job, Kathleen’s daughter, Megan- an avid Bikram yoga student for 10 years- was determined to get her into yoga. Kathleen thought it would be a fun thing to do together and wanted to address a 45-lb. weight gain as she approached her 57th birthday. She’d always loved to exercise and was happier when she did. Why not?
Kathleen says, “I bought a yearly membership in December, but I was so afraid of the heat, humidity, and all the crazy poses that I didn’t attend my first session until January 15th! I didn’t even tell my daughter I was going because I didn’t know how I would do. Having been an athlete most of my life (the hard hitting kind, NOT the flexible type) makes me very competitive and I feared that I would fail miserably and not ‘score well.’ Talk about a lot of “head factors!”
“All my concerns surprisingly melted away in short order. All the teachers were/are so supportive and welcoming. It was very hard going at first and I was provided a lesson in humility. But I kept trying to do my best while focusing on making the smallest of improvements.”
Kathleen read Bikram’s advice in his book to come each day for 30 days, or even better, for 60 days. He spoke about it so compellingly that she just had to give it a try. She couldn’t do weekends, but she committed to doing five days each week for two months. She’s now proud to say she did nine weeks straight of 5 classes a week!
As Kathleen puts it, “Bikram is spot on! Those two months changed me and how I live. Work is no longer my primary focus and stress is a non-player for the first time in decades. I’ve slowly lost weight and improved my flexibility. (The first time I was able to grab my toes in Head to Knee pose I almost shouted out!) The heated room is now my sanctuary where I concentrate (meditation is still a bit of a mystery, but I’m open to it) on being the best me in the moment while surrounded by those of like mind and effort.”
Kathleen’s advice to new students? “Take it a ‘show up’ at a time and begin the journey. Do not beat yourself up in the trying! Find that support person who can share the joys and challenges that each session brings. Embrace the heat and breathe through it. And don’t worry about those sleek types next to you who can become a pretzel without the mustard. Remember, everyone is in there trying to get to a new place too!”
Bikram Yoga St. Johns' studio owner, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.