"I recently bought a shirt that says 'I do yoga so I don't kill people'; it's particularly funny when I wear it to work" Natalie, a single mom of two boys and 911 operator and police dispatcher, laughs. (This must lead to all kinds of 911 occupational humor, like: Caller: "I think someone's trying to kill me." Operator: "If I don't get to yoga soon, I'm going to kill you.") Brushing aside jokes, Natalie asserts, "Truthfully, yoga is a way of life and keeps me centered and happy!"
Working two similarly stressful jobs that include overnight shifts and raising two boys, as well as squeezing in time for other things she enjoys like movies, camping, kayaking, travel, chocolate and red wine, it would be easy for Natalie to complain that she doesn't have time for yoga. "Sometimes it's a struggle," Natalie admits, "but I still manage to practice three times a week. I make the time because it's important to me and for me and my all-around well-being."
Natalie practiced Ashtanga and Hatha yoga on and off before trying Bikram yoga. "I had heard Bikram yoga was like having a mini heart attack, but you can rest in Savasana," she laughs. Natalie's first Bikram experience lived up to the allure: "It was rough and hot! I discovered why they call it 'The Torture Chamber. 'But," she enthuses, "I loved the challenge."
Making time for a regular yoga practice, means that Natalie isn't losing time to being sick, anxious or injured, among other benefits. "I rarely get sick when I practice regularly. I sleep better, feel better physically and mentally and I've lost weight." She's noticed how her practice keeps her going, "I have more strength and endurance for day to day activities and other exercise, plus I have more energy to help me get through my 12 hour shifts."
Every day means making progress, and Natalie notes that some difficult postures aren't so difficult now. "I can do Standing Head to Knee without falling out all the time," she smiles. She works steadily towards her broad goals to continue to improve her postures and to advance her practice through Master Core classes and to stay healthy, strong and fit. Natalie's eventual goal, when time and money permit, is to become certified as a teacher and "spread the joy of yoga."
"I believe there's a style (or many) of yoga out there for everyone. I'm so happy that I branched out and tried Bikram yoga, as I love the ongoing challenge and benefits I receive from practicing it."