Interview by Jessica Senecal, Illustration by Nancy Cuervo
“It’s a very good feeling….. I wish everyone would try it and see the benefits.”
What brought you to Bikram yoga?
I was walking along Flatbush Avenue looking for a restaurant. I saw the studio, and I was curious. I took a peek inside and saw Aimee. She invited me in, showed me around and talked about Bikram Yoga. This was in 2009. I came months later….I didn’t know if I could do it…
What took you so long to come back and take your first class?
105 degrees! My goodness that’s very hot!…but still..I thought, let me try it.
Then in 2010 I did a week. LOVED it! Then I did a month. Not long after I became sick, having to be hospitalized and have my gall bladder removed. After I recovered I was thinking about the yoga. I missed it. I came back in March 2011 and never stopped.
Why do you come every day?
Because I enjoy it so much, it does a lot for me. For example it lets me sleep at night, a peaceful sleep. I was experiencing pain in my back, belly, knee, joints, and of course it helps. It is all gone. My appetite, eating habits, have changed for the better. My breathing used to be out of whack. I couldn’t breathe. If I climbed six steps, I would have to stop and rest. My heart felt like it was coming to my mouth. After Bikram I find myself doing 100 steps back and forth, I walk over 2 miles, my breathing has improved a lot. I lost 80 pounds, I’m now stronger, calmer, much friendlier, and patient!…Especially when I’m driving! Those drivers that would cut you off! Before, I would speed up and let them have it, but now I say “ok go ahead, go ahead, or if I’m at the supermarket, if someone cuts in front of me again I say “go ahead.”
You said your favorite postures are both Camel and the first Half Moon Backward Bending posture, You can breathe in those postures?
Yes, my breathing is good, a teacher told me once to breathe 6 counts in and 6 counts out. My breathing has improved a lot.
Can you tell me how you think Bikram Yoga has made these changes in your life?
No, I thought about it, but I really can’t give you an answer. I do know that all the positive changes are because of Bikram. I know that for a fact. It’s a big change in my life. Remembering the first day I did yoga, I took a shower and I went home. Girl, it was like a burn came out of me, like a light. I was so happy the whole day, in and out. It was a good feeling. My body feeling light, like I won the lotto…nice.
Are people saying / noticing anything different about you?
Yes, yes people are asking if I had a facelift, stuff like that. My skin is better, I don’t wear any make- up. You can preach to them, but they will not know until they try it for themselves and see what I’m talking about. Talking gets me excited, because you don’t know the feeling to be pain free. Every day you get up and there is no pain, its normal! That’s how I feel now. I use to get up in the morning, my knees would hurt, my back would ache. I don’t take any medications. No vitamins, just Bikram. And the food that I’m eating now—more vegetables, fresh fruits, baked salmon. If I show people the brochure, they ask “can I do that?” I say “yes!” I see people doubting me. However, then they will see me on Facebook doing these poses at 65 years old! Girl, please…..! Nobody knows what it feels like! You have to truly go where I have been to understand what I am saying. It’s a nice feeling.
So you find you come to a peaceful place in the yoga class?
Oh yes, by the time I step into the studio, it’s all smiles because I’m happy to be there. It a good place to be. Always I’m smiling. People even have been drawn to me. A couple of times students have asked to practice next to me, so they can receive my energy.
How did you feel about that?
It’s a very good feeling….. I wish everyone would try it and see the benefits.