Travis and Kate, who have been dating for about a year, met through their jobs as flight instructors. A mutual love of the outdoors drew them together: "At the time we ran a lot together. Those were our first 'dates', actually, looking back. We would run after work along the dyke by the airport and push each other to run further than last time."
Because of the heavy cloud cover during our West Coast winters, both Kate and Travis are grounded for most of the winter - both have yoga-related second jobs. Travis works at the Lulu Lemon warehouse, and Kate works the front desk at Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge.
Kate says she had suggested that they try Bikram yoga around Valentine's Day last year, but they never made it in. They'd heard that it was "hot and you sweat a lot." Travis' co-workers complained that it was too hot and too intense for them.
When they finally made it to their first class, they were surprised: "It was a real eye opener. Way harder than we expected," they exclaim. Neither one of them had expected to sweat so much; Kate claims she had never seen beads of sweat on her shins before.
This first class was also part of Kate's interview for the front desk position, "No pressure," she laughs. Kate attributes part of the struggle in her first class to a "rookie mistake" - she was trying so hard to hold the postures, she held her breath.
After a few months of regular practice, they say "We're glad we finally made our way in the door." The biggest changes both Kate and Travis have seen are increases in flexibility: "Touching our toes! That was definitely a bench mark for both of us."
Kate has also had a major breakthrough in standing head to knee: "Standing head to knee felt so out of reach," sighs Kate, but she excited recounts that after a double (two classes in the same day) last week, she got one leg straight! "I Still have a long way to go, but things like that are so encouraging," she grins.
Travis notices his increased strength, flexibility and balance at his warehouse job, which requires him to bend and lift: "it’s easier to bend down."
The list other positive effects their Bikram yoga practice has had on their lives: "We’ve both seen an increase in flexibility and muscle toning. We’ve lost a little weight, sleep better, have more energy, experience less lower back pain and more core strength." They add, "It’s also pretty difficult to feel negative after you’ve accomplished a Bikram class."
They haven't just changed their bodies, but also their lifestyle. They explain, "We’re also more conscious of how we’re feeding ourselves - making sure we’re not undoing what we did in class- and our alcohol intake has definitely gone down." They love feeling more in tune with their bodies & describe it as both humbling and confidence building to "look at your half-naked body in a mirror for 90 minutes."
Although their schedules don't always allow it - Travis leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. and Kate works most evenings - they try to practice together once or twice a week. When they describe their yoga routine, you can just feel their contentment, "We really like practicing together and making a nice meal and juice together afterwards." For Kate and Travis, making time for yoga classes together seems almost simple, "Seeing results motivates you to make time. Since it’s something we enjoy doing together, that helps as well. We’re spending time together sweating, rather than watching TV." However, we all know that it takes determination to get in the room, even if you enjoy it and are seeing great results.
The motivation to come back comes from the results they've seen already, and new health and wellness goals. Travis and Kate plan to continue improving and maintaining healthy spines and flexibility. Travis plans to continue with his practice, which lessens anxiety, as well. They also add, "Bikram has become a part of a lifestyle for us; it really pulls you in. After a few days away we really start to crave stretching and feeling our joints open up. The group that we’ve met though the studio has also been really great. We really enjoy all the people we’ve met."
They want people to know that there's nothing to apprehensive about - just start Bikram yoga and start experiencing the benefits.