My first Bikram class was February 1998 in Cranston, RI. My teacher was Mary Ann Nassa. At the time, she has been practicing Bikram for 18 years. I practiced there until 2004 until I was stationed at Fort Totten in NYC. Fortunately there was a Bikram studio close to me and it allowed me to continue my practice. Being in the military, I got tagged to deploy to Iraq for a year and I had to find the time and place to practice.
I then deployed for 3 years to Africa where I taught a Bikram inspired yoga class which allowed me to practice and share my passion for yoga. With the 100 plus degree heat in the summer, every day was a good yoga day. When I came home, I was delighted to find Bikram Yoga of Rochester and I started practicing there the second month they opened. All was well until I ruptured my patella tendon in April 2013, and that kept me out of the hot room for over 6 months. When I had some control of my leg, I was back in the Bikram studio in my corner hanging on for dear life on the ballet barr. My goal was to make it back in "my spot" next to the teaching platform where I didn't need assistance of the wall or barr. I eventually made it back next to the teaching platform.
Prior to my injury, I started pole classes in January 2013. I have been an athlete my entire life and pole became my passion. I am now 51 years old and I proudly call myself a pole athlete. The past 9 months (my last year in school) I neglected my Bikram practice. My husband even mentioned on occasion that I needed to get back into the studio. My school schedule with my classes during the day and internship, training and studying in the evenings, I had no time left in the day to make it to the Bikram studio. An event that make it clear I had to find my way back was one day I was training a student personal training client, and I wanted us to do the half moon to warm up our shoulders. When I raised my arms overhead and interlaced my fingers, I literally couldn't straighten my arms. Now, prior to that moment, I was suffering really painful elbow joint pain to the point some days I had to sit out half of my pole practice because I couldn't lift myself on the pole. Not being able to straighten my arms overhead made me realize my shoulders were so tight, that I put unnecessary stress on my elbow joint. I started doing the half moon as part of my warm-up daily and the day after graduation I was in the Bikram studio. I found that being disciplined with my practice allowed mobility in my shoulders so I can stop injuring my elbow joint. Practicing in that heat allows me deep stretching and I experience fast improvement because of it. I have since discovered at the end of a 2 hour pole practice that I was able to practice without pain, which was I was not able to do for almost a year.
I made a promise to myself to not allow myself to take an extended period of time away from the hot room. Bikram gave me my pole practice back and I can train without being in pain. If you are an athlete, Bikram yoga will enhance your training. If you are not an athlete, Bikram yoga will improve your health and quality of life. Bottom line, Bikram yoga is a necessity and I have discovered I cannot live without it.
Beautiful pole work with Celia! Demonstrating the power of Bikram Yoga in cross training! Super proud of our Yogini!