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Bikram Yoga Langley Student of the Month (August): Helen

Helen has been going to Bikram Yoga Langley since the first class when the studio opened – and not even cancer has derailed her yoga practice. “Candice and the other instructors,” she says, “were so supportive when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.” She says they helped her to adjust her practice post-surgery and post-treatment, so that her practice matched her body’s returning abilities. Helen smiles, “My mantra from Candice: ‘dig deep; finish strong’, resonated with me during those difficult moments.” In fact, Helen admits that she hears Candice’s voice in her head (don’t we all?) telling her to ‘dig deep; finish strong’ when she’s running or doing other demanding activities. Other than being haunted by Candice’s voice, Helen has seen a lot of positive benefits from doing Bikram yoga, both pre and post-cancer treatment. She notes that her knees feel better when she’s running and her marksmanship (her grip is firmer and breathing more controlled) is improved when she does yoga. She’s also seen her eczema clear up with a regular practice, more flexibility in her spine, better posture and she says she feels better prepared for the demands of her job in law enforcement. She says her favorite thing about Bikram yoga is the way she feels after the class. Curiosity brought Helen to her first Bikram yoga class six years ago. She remembers her first class a mere blur: “I  just thought, ‘there's no way I can do what Candice is telling me to do!’” And yet, she did. Then she went on to complete a 30-day challenge. Helen practices whenever she can, although notes it can be a challenge to make the time as she does shift work and has other sports commitments. Currently Helen is itching to "dig deep; finish strong" in the yoga room - just as soon her new pink ribbon tattoo - a symbol of hope and strength - heals.

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Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Student of the Month (July): Jocelyn

jocelyn doing a back bendPregnancy can take a toll on your body; so much is changing - hormones, body weight, nutrition needs, joint mobility…  Seven months into her second pregnancy, Jocelyn describes her body and yoga practice: "Pregnancy is a crazy thing, I feel like an old person with brittle joints that might collapse at any moment. Bikram yoga has helped to relieve some of the pain in my joints and back, as well as strengthen these same joints and ligaments as they change and shift throughout the trimesters. This makes sleeping a bit easier, and standing not so painful."

Many women are nervous about practicing Bikram yoga while pregnant, but the pregancy series is designed for pregnant women to practice safely - benefits of particular benefit to mothers-to-be are muscle strength and stamina, detoxification and patience. This practice is meant to nurture both mother and child, and requires one to be cautious but not afraid: "Since becoming pregnant, I've had to back off in postures and 'soften' where needed, since there is a lot going on right now with my body. Pregnancy is a time for patience with your body, and the yoga room teaches me how to be patient with and respectful of my body. I definitely don't look like my neighbor in postures, but I'm glad for the process my body is going through." DSC_0014Some previous big changes had brought Jocelyn to Bikram yoga for the first time in 2011: "My older sister had been going to Bikram Yoga in Calgary very regularly. I was 2 months post-partum and very nervous, albeit, eager to see how this class would change me." In particular, this new mom wanted to get her pre-pregnancy body back. [caption id="attachment_594" align="alignright" width="300"]DSC_0008 Wren does yoga too![/caption] She credits the support of her sisters and her own drive to take care of her body with helping her get through that first class with relative ease, although she admits, "I wore pants and a t-shirt, probably the hottest thing I could have worn, and piled into a hot room occupied by 70 other students." All-in-all, Jocelyn's first class was a success, "My two sisters were laying next to me, and we encouraged each other through the 90 minutes. I left with a huge smile on my face, a high almost, and wanting to come back. A couple months later, I found that Maple Ridge had a Bikram studio, so I signed up for the 2 weeks and came as much as my baby would allow me to leave her." The result of a regular yoga practice has been fitter body, calmer mind and a more developed mind/body connection for Jocelyn: " Since coming to yoga, not only have I felt strength again, but renewed self-confidence and a release of anxiety. Yoga is a beautiful tool for mind/body connection. I feel more in tune with my body now than ever before. If you have any stress or anxiety (in body or mind), you will feel it in postures; you can not hide in the hot room." Working full time while also raising a two-year old can be demaning; Jocelyn says that planning is her best friend, particularly when it comes to maintaining her yoga practice. "I remember this quote: 'If we fail to plan, then we plan to fail.' It's blunt and to the point. Planning a couple classes at the beginning of the week helps me to stay focused and it is also easier for my family since we can plan when I'll be gone." Jocelyn also brings the connection she has formed with her body to her scheduling, "I allow myself to assess whether I'm fully prepared (mentally and physically) for a class that I've planned to go to: for example, if my feet are far too puffy, then it's just as important that I put them up." belly college 1Jocelyn will be taking maternity leave from her position at the Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge studio's front desk soon, but is looking forward to visiting the studio with a newborn quite before too long. Until then, she will continue to be inspired by each and every student and practice with integrity and with attention to her body each day. She describes the supportive community environment of the studio this way, "It makes coming to work a blessing rather than a job!" Jocelyn's long-term plans include listening to and responding to her body's needs, and to pass her healthy life-style habits on to her two childen: "I want to be treating my body with the utmost respect. To me this means, feeding it nutritious food, moving, stretching, challenging it in new ways all the while, being content with myself. Bikram Yoga is a well suited practice for me to reach some of these goals since "our body is different each day, we will respond differently to them each class which makes it still a challenging workout". I would love to someday bring my kids into the hot room with me so they could also learn what I have from Bikram Yoga."

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Bikram Yoga Langley Student of the Month (July): Charlene

charlene3Some people think they don’t have time for yoga. Charlene, was only too happy to add yoga to her long list of activities: an interior designer and architect, she keeps busy with Latin and Italian studies, gardening and playing with her dogs.

She says she likes to stay busy to keep from missing her two children, away at university. Earlier in the year, Charlene was missing something else – her mobility!  A weight training injury had reduced her to using her umbrella as a makeshift cane. When her son noticed this, he suggested that she try Bikram yoga, which he found relieved his school stress. That 90 minute class seemed like an eternity, but not because Charlene missed her son so much. “I remember laying out half of the class, and frantically searching for a clock. I rolled over and asked the lady beside me, ‘Is this almost over?’ She nodded, but it still seemed like an eternity before Ellena asked me to get up and do the last posture.”charlene1 That was five and a half months and more than 165 classes ago. Charlene claims she just kept telling herself, “You can do this.” “This” means completing challenge after challenge; Charlene is currently 122 classes into her 150 day challenge. “I like being in a challenge,” Charlene explains, “because it commits me to make up for missed days.” She likes to say, “I came because I had to, but I stay because I want too.” Charlene has not only healed a crippling injury in less than a year, but credits “learning how to breathe” easing her asthma, decreased her migraines and dealing with stress. “After 35 years spent hunched over a drafting board my posture was compromised.” She adds, excitedly, “Candice taught me to focus on form and alignment, gave me exercises to do at home and now my half moon is looking slightly acceptable.” We know that Charlene’s half moon pose is more than slightly acceptable.charlene2 Besides feeling great, she credits the environment of our studio with helping her to get and stay motivated with her yoga practice: “The support and encouragement I have received from teachers, staff and fellow students has been extremely helpful. I have met so many inspirational people that I just want to be part of this yoga world and maybe some will rub off on me.” Charlene says she would have never thought of trying yoga if her son hadn’t pushed her into it. Since starting yoga, is she doing anything else she never expected? “Yes, I carried 3 yards of soil this spring and had absolutely NO back pain.” Her family, she says, have noticed that she is also more calm and relaxed. (But still very, very busy!) Since her first class, she’s learned plenty of amazing lessons, including that yoga doesn’t have to be painful. “Bikram Yoga has changed my life physically, mentally and emotionally. It's become like oxygen, I need it everyday.” [caption id="attachment_585" align="aligncenter" width="440"]charlene1 form
alignment
symmetry
balance
beauty
longevity
I took this photo in Pompeii
this pot is almost 2000 years old
you can still see the hand prints of it's creator[/caption]

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