Mako started inspiring us (and making us laugh) in December by posting a photo of himself with a home-made 8-week challenge board and a plea to his fellow yogis to call the number on the poster and harass him if they didn't see him in class. He explains his public plea for harassment like this, "I learned a long time ago that I will do more to avoid embarrassment and humiliation than anything else, so when I set a goal I like to let everyone know what my plan is, so that I have to follow through."
Since then, Mako's completed 5 of his 8 weeks without missing a day (except for the day that we had to close due to an electrical issue, but he did two classes the following day), and is still going strong. Mako's reward to himself will be a vacation to Costa Rica with his family.
Mako blindly jumped into his first Bikram yoga class with a friend: "It was just after New Year's last year, and a friend of mine and I were sharing our goals for the year... He wanted to loose some weight - we brainstormed what he could do for extra exercise, and he said he always wanted to try yoga but was too embarrassed to go alone, so I went with him... We were right around the corner from the Abbotsford Bikram yoga studio, so we went there and signed up not really knowing what to expect."
Mako's first class started off like many other people's: He went in thinking "it's only yoga" and, "after half moon I thought I was going to die. I took a water break and got chastised by the teacher." Mako says that he was already beyond caring by that time. "Throughout the class my mind was screaming at me to run out of the room. At one point, I reached out and grabbed my buddy's hand to support one another cause we both felt like we were going to die! No kidding! Two grown men holding hands in a Bikram yoga class!"
The teacher told Mako to come back the next day and it would get easier, so he came back the next day and the next; eventually, it got easier, and he got better!
After 35 days in a row of Bikram yoga, Mako describes the physical changes he sees: "I had a tendonitis problem in my left arm which has all but disappeared. I couldn't even lift a milk jug with my left arm, and I certainly couldn't put my arms under my body in locust pose when i started this challenge a month ago, but now I feel like this is one of my strongest postures. My lower discs have always been a problem; I slowly feel my lower back getting stronger, and I am able to push farther before the pain comes on." His wife notices that there's "less to grab on to" and that he's less frantic with work.
Although his 8-week challenge was spurred on by a desire to shape-up, Mako says the spiritual and calming side of the practice far outweigh the physical benefits for him: "I like to go to class a half hour early and meditate in the hot room. This alone time for me really is my favorite time. I find it so important in this fast-paced life to turn your thoughts off. I have a completely different day if I don't start the day with yoga. I get approximately 1 hour of meditation time before the day starts, during that hour I'm planting the seeds in my mind of, 'how can I be of service today,' which makes for an outstanding day."
When Mako describes his work, it's easy to see why coming to class half an hour early for some quiet meditation is essential to his peace of mind: "I sell homes, and I love it! It's very fast-paced, and my staff and I are the best at what we do. I work like a madman because it really isn't work when you love what you do. I work for 13 days, then take 1 day off. I live, breath and eat Real Estate."
Mako brings this passion to his yoga practice as well. Don't expect him to stop once, he's completed his self-assigned 8-week challenge: "Goals shouldn't just be addressed yearly; they should be addressed daily. Practice daily."
Just how does such a busy person make time for a daily practice? "Finding time can be challenging. I wake up, and I go. What else am I going to do at 5 a.m.? Plus, this is the best time in the world! No one else is up, the business world hasn't started yet, there are no kids nagging at you, and this is the opportunity to charge your day with nothing but all the positive and good energy you want to use throughout the day."
After answering all these questions, Mako has a question for all yogis and yoginis, including himself, one that motivates him to get out of bed for those early classes every day: "why not make your life a masterpiece?"