Yoga 360 Student of the Month (March): Angela

photo(8)Angela and her husband of 14 years encourage their children (aged 7 and 9) to live a healthy lifestyle through their example. “We’re a running family.  Our motto is a family that runs together stays together.”

Angela knows that taking time for herself is also part of healthy lifestyle: her favorite part of her Bikram yoga practice is “90 minutes of ME time.”

One of the benefits of Bikram yoga Angela has experience is more energy. And it sounds like she can use it! She runs – “I trained for and completed 4 half marathons in 16 months”. She loves to bake – I create themed birthday cakes made of fondant for all the kids in our family.  You’ll find me in the kitchen baking cookies or making earl grey or salted caramel ice cream during the weekends. Recently I’ve started testing out gluten-free recipes in hopes that I can continue to satisfy my sweet cravings somewhat guilt free.” Of course, her two children keep her busy. “My kids are still young, so I have to work around their schedule: ballet, art class, and swimming lessons. I try to go at least 3 days a week.”image

How does she manage it? “You make time for it. I completed the 30-day challenge back in September. Yes, with two young kids, I challenged myself to commit to making time to complete it. Classes on weekend mornings, afternoon class after work, and lots of help from my sisters who babysat for me. I’ll admit there were times when I felt guilty about spending all my evenings in class and away from my family. But, in the end, the benefits you gain from it – energy, inner peace, calmness, confidence – are worth it. Everyone around you benefits from a happy, energetic, healthy you.”angela 2

Bikram yoga actually gave Angela the tools she needed to start running. “It was because of this practice that I decided to run a half marathon. I thought if I could exercise for 90 minutes straight, then I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to run for over two hours. Really it’s all about conditioning, physically and mentally. The struggle is always in your mind. That little voice that tells you,’you can do it, you’re almost there,’ even when your body is telling you something else.”

The struggle was really on her mind in that first Bikram yoga class that she attended with her sister and some girlfriends: “Like everyone else, I wondered when it would be over. It was so hot, and, ‘no, I’m not coming back tomorrow.’” Except that she did.

Angela says that she likes, “learning to accept my limits and celebrating my accomplishments and growth – big or small.”

She knows about this, as she returned to yoga to recover from a running injury. “Hopefully I’ll notice a change when I start running again in a few months,” she says. Her goal is to return to running marathons pain and injury-free. “For my 40th birthday, I want to run the Walt Disney World half marathon in Florida. I’d like to be able to run it injury free. When I start training again for the run, I intend to continue with my practice because I know that running and yoga compliment each other.”


Bikram Yoga Langley Students of the Month (March): Shannon & Greig

photo(5)These married high-school sweethearts have lots to be proud of: not only have they kept their relationship going strong for 16 years, but they recently completed a 30-day challenge (30 classes in 30 days).

Greig claims that their discovery of Bikram yoga is “all Shannon’s fault,” but also admits, “My first class didn’t feel so bad, as long as I kept imagining I was in Hawaii.”
Shannon’s beginnings weren’t such a holiday. Greg laughingly recounts Shannon’s nervous preparation for their first class, “Shannon had anxiety about going to her first class and even cranked the heat in her car on the way over on a summer’s day, trying to get used to the feeling of being hot…”

Shannon remembers her amazement at her fellow class mates: “I remember thinking I can’t believe these people can make it through all these postures without dying.  I ended up laying there near the end just trying to not panic about the heat.”

Since completing their 30-day challenge, both Shannon and Greig have noticed some changes. They’re not the only ones – everyone around them has noticed their weight loss! Shannon and Greig also notice that running is easy for them now and they have more stamina for other activities, as well as reduction in stress, anxiety and back pain.
With stressful jobs as probation and corrections officers, they like the peace and singularity of the Bikram practice. Shannon says it’s “the sense of accomplishment I feel after every class and seeing what my body is capable of (or not capable of) and how that changes every day” that keeps her coming back; while Greig likes “that centered feeling you get being in the room, concentrating on only yourself.”

Would they have imagined doing 30 straight days of yoga before they signed up for, or even before they had completed, their challenge?

“Heck no!  A few months ago, I thought there was no way I could do 30 days of yoga.  I thought it would be exhausting and impossible to schedule in,” says Shannon. Greig adds, “I thought it was crazy talk to do 2 days in a row, never mind 30.”

How did they get started on their 30-day challenge, then?photo(6)

“We are pros at making excuses not to go to yoga!” Shannon and Greig explain, “We just had to make it a priority. Sometimes that means we have to cut out some other things we like, such as relaxing in front of the TV after work when you feel burned out.  During the challenge, it meant the house cleaning got neglected. Overall, we realized that most excuses to not go turned out not to be valid.”

Now that they have completed their challenge, they plan to make a bit more time for housework and some more enjoyable activities, like traveling and taking their dogs to parks. But this doesn’t mean they’ll neglect their Bikram yoga practice. Their goals include practicing yoga consistently, incorporating yoga into an exercise plan to help with weight loss and working more on enjoying the present.


Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Student of the Month (March): Michaela

michaela1Michaela’s smiling face will be familiar to just about anyone who attends the Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge studio, but few would suspect how Bikram yoga changed her life.

“I was very depressed in 2011. I had lost my mother unexpectedly in 2003, then I had lost my Grandmother who I was very close to in 2006. My husband and I moved from Whistler back to Maple Ridge, and my husband was away traveling for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. I just really kept going and never really allowed myself time to just reflect on all the changes in my life, which also included having two children. I felt very alone and vacant. I had lost touch with myself and had let myself go physically and mentally. I did not want to share my feelings with anyone because I wanted everyone to think I was strong.”

Michaela saw how Bikram yoga had helped a friend through a difficult period in her life: “I noticed her positive attitude and the strength that it gave her during a difficult time she was going through. I thought to myself, ‘how can she handle what she is going through just by going to yoga?’” She adds, “I understand this now.”

Michaela had tried Bikram yoga in Whistler and immediately loved the challenge, the heat that hit her like a brick wall and the way she slept so deeply after class. She had never felt better, but was unable to continue with Bikram yoga due to injuries from a skiing accident.  muses, “Even though I did not continue with Bikram at the time, I knew I would be back and, in the meantime, I continued to tell everyone about it.”

Possibly when this mother of two needed it most, she spotted the newly-opened Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge on January 28th, 2011: “I got home and called my husband right away to tell him that I would be happy if I could just go to yoga. It’s strange, but it was true. I thought of my friend who survived her difficult times by going to Bikram.”

“My first class at BYMR was with Mary; I had forgotten how hot the room was and how difficult it was to breath!” But she immediately felt that this was what she needed: “It was a challenge, and I knew that I needed to continue. I signed up for an auto-renew membership and the 30 day challenge right then and there. My 30 day challenge turned in to 60 days, which turned in to 88 days straight!”michaela7

After completing her 60-day challenge, Michaela had lost 30 pound, was very happy and she reports, “everything about me was better, and I had a desire to improve myself, which I had not really cared about before.” The biggest change wasn’t weight loss or reduction in chronic pain, but a change in attitude: “I am not longer critical of things I don’t know about, and I don’t pass judgement anymore. I really admire how much more open minded I have become. I am more confident and I am not self conscious in my own skin.” Michaela notes that she has much more patience and tolerance, while her friends and family claim that Bikram yoga has helped her to find herself again and to be happy.

Speaking of family, Michaela recognizes how lucky she is to have their help in keeping a regular yoga practice. “I am so fortunate to have a loving family who supports me and know how important Bikram yoga is to me. I go to yoga as often as I can; I don’t allow it to interfere with my family life and encourage my family to join me whenever possible. Both of my kids have done the kids yoga classes and my son loves the “real” yoga classes! I feel that if you love something, you will make time for it; this is easier when you have a supportive family like I do.”michaela5


Meanwhile, Michaela has found so much strength and happiness in yoga that she has been able to shift the balance in her life, to accommodate yoga, work and family. “I cut my yoga down to 4-5 days a week, and I did not allow myself to feel guilty when going on 2-week breaks for family vacations.”

Michaela plans to never quit her yoga practice, with specific yoga goals of one day doing the standing splits and to feel “a little bit comfortable” in standing head to knee. She also aims to enjoy the floor series more: “I actually really don’t like it, but I know is good for me. I almost feel like I am starting to like it – but just a little bit!”

She has made huge strides physically as well: “I never thought that I would be able to touch my toes or even balance on one leg! I also never thought I would wake up without saying ‘oh, my back!’”

Perhaps this is part of the reason that Michaela whole-heartedly loves her job as customer sales representative with Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for New Drivers. But mostly she loves her family, friends, family and “yoga family”. “I love Bikram Yoga. Sometimes I feel like it is an obsession, but when something makes you feel this good and your mood affects others in a positive way, why not keep going back for more? I really try to introduce Bikram yoga to all my friends and family… including my children (Alex, 9, and Sofia, 8).


Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Couple of the Month (February): Kate & Travis

These two pilots have been flying high on Bikram yoga - they love seeing the changes in each other's bodies, a reduction in anxiety and the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a Bikram yoga class. Kate had wanted to try Bikram yoga around Valentine's Day last year; they never made it in, but started to practice regularly a few months ago and will certainly be working yoga into their Valentine's Day Plans this year! Read more about Kate & Travis's love of yoga Read More


Yoga 360 Surrey Couple of the Month (February): Jasbir & Sukbir

Sukbir & Jasbir love to start their day off right, by attending the 9:15 a.m. class four days per week. Jasbir is amazed that the peace and happiness he experiences in yoga stays with him all day, even in traffic! Read More


Bikram Yoga Langley Couple of the Month (February): Sanne & Terry

Sanne & Terry can't wait for their standing Friday night date - yoga, sushi and wine (hopefully all in that order!). They love each other and the opportunity to get into their bodies and away from their every day stresses. Read More


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