Yoga 360 Surrey Student of the Month (December): Kam G.

A life-long athelete who also suffered his share of sports injuries, Kam will be celebrating his one-year anniversary as a Bikram yoga this month. However, going from the football pitch to the yoga studio wasn't an easy transition for Kam: “I was a typical guy when it came to yoga,” Kam laughs, “I wasn’t going to stand there with lots of ladies.” Yoga was both much more difficult and much more rewarding than he had anticipated. He loves that he is always being challenged by his yoga practice, even as he sees progress. Learn more about how Bikram yoga humbled this macho jock and helped him to heal his injuries and return to the sports he loves, as well as change some attitudes about yogis here. Read More


Bikram Yoga Langley Student of the Month (December): Ana P.

Ana's sentiments exactly echo the opposite of how most people think of their first Bikram yoga class: "My first class was horrible and so hard, thank goodness. If it didn't kill me, I would have never come back.” That was 12 years ago. Being able to pursue her other activities without pain, as well as the ongoing challenge of each Bikram yoga class help keep Ana motivated to pursue her 3 class per week (minimum) schedule. Ana, a psychiatric nurse, notes that the time she spends doing yoga pays off in every aspect of her life. "I make time, because I can’t take care of people at work, my dogs, my friends or family if I’m not healthy.” Read More


Yoga 360 Surrey Students of the Month: Shawn Papatoff & Lisa Porter

Shawn, Lisa along with their daughter make Bikram yoga a family practice. They love talking about their yoga successes in the car on the way to or from class and have noticed that they are all happier, calmer and stronger as a family, whether they attend class separately or together. Lisa is a high-school teacher who started attending Bikram yoga to deal with the stress of the teacher's strike, now that school is back in, she's still experiencing the calming benefits of her yoga practice: "Just today one of my students commented to me that I seem "more relaxed" this year as compared with last year. Though he wasn't commenting directly on my yoga practice, I felt like his remark reflected on the important impact it has on my whole self, which is that I feel calmer, more "present", and less stressed. Yoga gives me a regular break and opportunity to spend working on myself and focusing on my own strengths and areas for improvements." The family reflects on some improvements they've seen: "Shawn notices that he is more flexible than he used to be, and I am impressed that he can do a toe stand and hold both hands up in prayer position for the whole time! For me," Lisa notes, "full locust pose is always a challenge, and I'm encouraged to see that I am finally starting to get my legs higher than they used to be. Our daughter is an equestrian rider, and she and her coach have noticed improvements to her riding as she has increased her flexibility and core strength." If you want to hear more about how Bikram yoga has impacted Shawn and Lisa's lives, how they've changed their views on yoga and even what is up with the "Japanese ham sandwich", read the full story on our blog. Read More


Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Student of the Month (November): Mai Tran

After working non-stop for 19 years, Mai decided to a break from the daily grind to focus on herself; however, she found herself at a loose end before she found Bikram yoga: "One of my top strengths is focus. I had been focusing on and dedicated to work all my life, so when I stopped working, I lost my focus. Taking bikram yoga gives me something to focus on, and also keep fit." This new focus has been life-changing: "For the first time in my life, I feel comfortable and confident with my body," she says. Check out the Mai's full story to hear about how Bikram yoga has helped her transform herself inside and out. Read More


Bikram Yoga Langley Students of the Month (November): Giovanni & Araceli Dinicola

A doctor's ultimatum brought Araceli to Bikram Yoga Langley: "I went for a check-up and had an ultra sound to check on my liver function. The doctor's advice was either take medication or do exercise. So, I chose Bikram yoga." Among the many incredible accomplishments Araceli has had in Bikram yoga, getting Gianni into the room and loving Bikram yoga may be one of the greatest: "Araceli is wonderful – she pushes me. If she goes in the morning, and it becomes four in the afternoon, she says, 'C’mon Gianni, you gotta go.'" This couple has lost weight, reduced stressed and grown younger through yoga practice. Read on to discover more of their inspiring story. Read More


Bikram Yoga Langley Student of the Month (October): Zuzana

 “The way to reverse downward spiral is to agree that the human body is the temple of the living Spirit”

     - Bikram Choudhury

When I was asked to share story behind my personal commitment to Bikram Yoga 360 my first reaction was - absolutely not! “No” to sharing my life, my pain, and my struggles along the way; “no” to sharing my sweat, “no” to sharing my wins either – “just let me be!”

Then I had time to think. Along the way I was not alone. There has been support and encouragement. Compassion. Guidance. Honest feedback. Challenge to tap the potential. So, my journey towards healing isn’t only mine, but it is shared with the entire team from Langley studio.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. For you to understand what I am talking about I need to tell you a short story:

"It was early fall, year before Olympics in Vancouver. She has been working non-stop getting business ready, not only for the once in a lifetime event, but also for the new leadership in the company she worked for. She overestimated her stamina and strength – and she had a work related accident that left her with shoulder, arm and spine marked for the rest of her life. Oh, she was thankful - she had a brilliant surgeon who probably saved her arm and put everything back together. After months of therapy, she went back to work. A year and half after the first surgery, she had the second surgery, hoping that the constant pain in her arm and shoulder gets better. It didn’t. That was when she first tried Bikram Yoga 360.

The fact is, she didn’t care enough about herself to take time and keep up with the classes. She didn’t care enough about herself to honor promises she made Pressures at work and life in general swallowed up her resolutions and a downward spiral began. In order to get through the day, and sometimes night, painkillers became a good friend. She didn’t pay enough attention to her body and spirit to realize she desperately needed to stop this downward spiral, to do a U-turn in order to start the healing process.    

Then events took place late last year at work: restructuring in the company. She got the gift of time; she decided to do something about her well-being. So, she took a trip to Europe and tried European Spas with all the prescribed treatments. Yes, she did get temporary relief after electric injections, massages, ultrasounds and all the mineral water she drank and soaked herself in. But, in May this year she ended in doctor’s office in tears asking him to help her get rid of the pain. X-rays showed arthritis in the shoulder and middle spine, with more bone test required. She got a strong pain prescription and dose of reality: “this is pretty much it; not much we can do outside to control the pain when needed.”                                                    

After digesting doctor’s message she pulled out Bikram Choudhury’s Yoga book and didn’t stop reading until she finished the book. On June 1st she finally made the U-turn and turned her health around by joining her first yoga class.” "

“It is never too late, it is never too bad and you are never too old or too sick to start from scratch again”

     - Bikram Choudhury

You probably have lots of questions. Yes, I would have them too.  So go ahead and ask.


How are you doing today – after 4 months?

ZV: I can move my arm beyond what I hoped I would be able to do. Yes, I will always feel pain – but today it is manageable and most of the time without painkillers.

How was your first class and classes that followed?

ZV: I didn’t leave during the first class … that was an accomplishment. Classes that followed were hard work filled with pain. Sometimes the pain was so bad, I remember during Savasana I had tears running down my cheeks and the only though I had was: ‘thank goodness I am sweating so nobody can see them.’

How often do you practice?

ZV: Every day – unless I am out of town or have commitments not allowing time for practice.

What brought you to Bikram Yoga in the first place?

ZV: After I was told physiotherapy will no longer improve the mobility. I talked with my doctor, who actually condoned a yoga workout.

How does your family feel about your new found focus in your life?

ZV: My daughter is 100% supportive, being yoga practitioner herself. She is smart, strong, independent 30 year-old woman that gives her mother every reason not to only love her unconditionally, but to be very proud of her as well. (Having a 30 year-old child should tell you how old I am! Ha-ha!)

What have you learned that you consider most important since June 1st?

ZV: The most important truth I have learned is this: we all make time for what is important to us. Going forward I will always have time for myself, for my well-being.”

What are your goals for the future?

ZV: My goal is to keep challenging myself – and keep getting challenged – so my body will keep repairing what still can be repaired, so it will keep getting stronger and more and more in tune with the spirit within.

What would you like to say as the closing?

ZV: I’d like to leave you with the quote below:

“You don’t have to change the world; just change yourself, and you will surely inspire the world to follow.”

      - Bikram Choudhury

September 24th, 2014
Zuzana Vyskocil


Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Student of the Month (October): Brielle

Brielle is adamant that she would not have imagined herself doing Bikram yoga only a few years ago. “I would have not attended any type of class, accompanied or alone.” Somehow, her best friend Emily convinced Brielle to try one class: “right away, I knew it was a key to happiness,” she exclaims.

Brielle describes her first class, a 60-minute express class, as “intense, motivating and very fun”. Prior to this class, she wasn’t sure what might lie in store for her, so she did some research and discovered stories of people healing mind and body through their Bikram yoga practice. Brielle counts the calming effect of the yoga among the greatest healing benefits she has experienced, “Bikram yoga has helped me all-around with anxiety. That really benefits any activities I do throughout the day.”

Brielle certainly has a lot of other activities, in addition to her job at Smile Thai Cuisine and an eco-friendly cleaning service, to keep her busy. She enjoys camping, hiking, outdoor reading and open-air yoga. She is also interested in sustainable living. Integrating her lifestyle and yoga is one of her goals, “My goals in life are to be healthy, happy and grounded. In terms of goals with yoga, I aim to keep learning and keep practicing. I also wish to take classes to learn the history of yoga.” Brielle’s statement about her future career aspirations project an image of easy-going confidence, “I am not sure what I would like to do for a career path, but I am positive that it will fall into place and tie into all that I stand for and wish for the world.”

This is a far cry from the anxious, sleep-deprived person Brielle admits to being before Bikram yoga: “Bikram Yoga continues to help me with my fight or flight response to things in life. It also really helps me get to sleep. I used to wake up often in the night, or simply not be relaxed enough to fall asleep. Going to a Bikram class always helps me get a good night’s rest.”

Rising early and starting the day with fresh juiced fruits and vegetables is part of Brielle’s Bikram yoga routine. However, she also gives credit to her mom, for not letting her slack off. “My beautiful mother, Rose, is constantly telling me that she is proud and happy that I continue with Bikram, because she noticed the changes as quickly as I did. Whenever I say that I'm tired or make excuses to miss a class, she reminds me of all of the positive outcomes and that when I’m done, I will thank myself for going. That usually gets me out the door!”

Daily growth, improvement and positivity are other factors that motivate Brielle to come to class. “There is always room to grow and improve. I also very much enjoy the people. The teachers, as well as the students, are all so kind and encouraging. I am always leaving with a smile on my face.”

We look forward to seeing Brielle’s smiling face in many, many more classes.


Yoga 360 Surrey Student of the Month (October): Bind

When recalling the first Bikram yoga, Bind says, "I knew my experience was unique. I knew that I wanted to do this. I was surprised and impressed by other people's flexibility – I thought, ‘Oh, my God, they are so flexible.’”

So what did Bind think of the yoga practice? “I liked it so much!” She remembers doing her best to keep up with the class, but looking back she cringes at how many things she had wrong. However, the chance to keep trying and keep improving is one of the things that Bind likes about the practice: “Day by day, I realize my mistakes. Every teacher explains things a little differently, and every day you learn a little bit. It’s been a year and a half, and I’m still learning.” She adds, “I never thought that I could do those postures and be so flexible. Now I can do everything!”

“You are skinny; why are you doing that?” is what Bind often hears from her family members about her Bikram yoga practice. “If you are skinny, people always ask questions,” she elaborates. “But, they say I’m doing awesome.” “I didn’t actually want to lose weight. I just wanted to be more flexible and it’s helped me a lot.” The health benefits she’s experienced are amazing. “I had migraine problems, and now they are gone. I had a pain in my shoulders – it’s gone, totally!” Bind has also noticed that she has more confidence and her spine is stronger, so she can sit for long periods of time.

Bind, a 30-year old barista, stresses the benefits of the spiritual side of her Bikram practice as well. “I’m into spirituality, so I like the connection between body, mind and soul. It calms me so much. I’m more focused at work. I’m more calm and don’t react. I take it all easily, and go with the flow.”

Bind sees both the physical and mental benefits of her Bikram practice in her meditation practice. “I just did the vipassana 10 days (a disciplined meditation where talking, making eye contact and physical yoga are not allowed) – some people might want to bolt, but for me it was fine. Bikram yoga has made me disciplined.” Setting an intention and mastering your body even when you want to give up are skills that many people don’t have, but Bind noticed she had developed. “When you go to meditation, you have to sit for one hour with closed eyes, and stay in one position. I set my mind to it and made it through easily.”

This same discipline helps Bind stick to her 5 class per week Bikram schedule. How does she motivate herself to get to class, even on days when she’s tired? “It's just my daily routine. I don’t give myself an option.” She adds, “It’s all in your mind.”

Bind’s goals for her practice include wanting to become a Bikram yoga teacher. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but that’s my goal.” She clarifies that she wants to go deeper into the practice for herself, not to make money from teaching.

It is clear from talking with her that Bind understands her practice as a way to challenge herself and connect with other people – both excellent qualities in a teacher. When asked about her favourite part of her Bikram practice, Bind does not hesitate, “I like how people share energy together.”

We hope to see Bind teaching at our studio one day. For as many great things as there are to say about her, she has lots of compliments for our studio, its variety, cleanliness and service. “It’s a great studio. I’m lucky that I’m practicing at this studio.”


Yoga 360 Surrey Student of the Month (September): Kamila

This 24 year-old hairstylist had never tried yoga until she was invited to do a free class as an employee of a local business when Yoga 360 first opened in Surrey. “I’ve been hooked ever since,” she exclaims.

“My first class was awesome!” Kamila goes on to recount her experience, “I had Stephen as my teacher, and he is amazing at making sure you are in correct form. The class was particularly small that day, so it was as if I had a one-on-one lesson. I felt so energized after my class; I felt amazing! I was also starved, so I had something to eat. Even then, I had so much energy left over that I went to the gym afterward!”

Kamila claims that she knew “nothing at all” about Bikram yoga before that first class: “I knew it was in a hot room and involved stretches,” she laughs. Despite this, she feels that she would have discovered Bikram yoga eventually: “I’m the type to always try new things, so if I didn’t find yoga a year ago, I would definitely find it eventually! It was destiny!” she pronounces.
Even though Kamila is young and in good shape, she has experienced the healing and health benefits of the Bikram yoga series.” I feel much more relaxed in stressful situations; I do not freak out over little things anymore.  My back feels 100 % again, after an accident I had a few years back.” She’s also noticed that her cardio vascular health and lung capacity have improved: “When I work out, I am not as out of breath. I recently went to the beach with a friend and blew up an air mattress in less than half the time it took her,” Kamila laughs. What’s more, the beneficial sweating in Bikram yoga class has helped Kamila’s skin: “I had very dry skin that was rough to the touch, and now my skin is silky smooth,” she enthuses.

Through regular practice, Kamila has taken her body to new places. “I never thought that I would be able to sit my butt all the way down with my legs flat on the ground pointing back. Previously, I was never able to sit completely down; I have improved tremendously! I also never thought I could hold my posture while touching head to knee!” Her future goals for her yoga practice are to “to keep improving and become more flexible.” Kamila is always challenging herself in the regular Bikram class and the intermediate Master Core series. One of her goals is to work on holding her handstands in the intermediate series: “I would like to be able to hold them for long amounts of time.”
With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why Kamila makes the effort to do yoga 5 times per week. “I make yoga my priority. I don’t feel good if I miss Yoga.” If that seems like a lot of time to spend doing yoga, think of it the way Kamila does: “everyday spent in that yoga room is a day gained in my future life,” she smiles.


Bikram Yoga Maple Ridge Student of the Month (September): Jaren

“I don’t have any horror stories about my first class." Although Jaren’s recollections of her first Bikram yoga class might seem like a bit of a let-down with a lead-in like that, her story is one of love at first sight, not horror. "I tried a few other types of yoga before my first Bikram class, but once I tried Bikram, I had an immediate connection with the yoga: I knew it was the one for me." 

On the topic of The One, Jaren was recently married, but put a condition on her pending nuptials: “I told my husband before I married him that he had to come to a Bikram yoga class. Two days before the wedding he came to class - and he still married me - so it must not have been that bad."

What's to love about Bikram yoga? “I remember how amazing I felt after my first class, and how excited I was to try it again." 

"When I was in college," Jaren relates the story of how she first became interested in Bikram yoga, "I sat beside a girl who was really big into Bikram Yoga. She always had a lot of positive things to say about how Bikram benefited her; I knew it was something I would enjoy."

As someone who loves a challenge and also loves being physical - Jaren fills her weekends with adventures, friends and hiking and snowboarding trips - Bikram has continued to be a practice that excites Jaren: "I go to the gym 6 days per week. I almost never stretch after my workouts. Yoga is really complimentary to my workouts, and I believe it has helped me to prevent injuries by stretching out my muscles, strengthening my joints and increasing my flexibility."

Even though she has a demanding job, busy weekends and goes to the gym six days per week, Jaren still finds the time for yoga. : “Most of the year I try to do Bikram yoga about 4 days a week.” She explains her surprise to learn that she benefitted from doing even more yoga: “This past spring I did a couple of the 4x4 challenge and made it my goal to do 5 or 6 classes a week. I really liked how I felt, and was surprised at the improvements I made in class.”
With the fall approaching, Jaren plans to increase the frequency of her practice again - from 4 – 5 days per week. She explains what motivates her to make time to practice, “I think in today's world, everyone is busy. Making time is about prioritizing what is important. I feel that making the time now to stay healthy will give me more time overall.” She adds that she doesn’t just think about having more time later in life, but her yoga practice allows her to enjoy the free time she has now: “My weeks are hectic, but I always incorporate yoga into my schedule. I feel it is really important for me to have that 90 (or 60) minutes a few times a week to focus on the present and leave the day behind.” In other words, she explains, “Yoga is great stress buster for me.”

 In addition to increasing her practice, Jaren plans to continue with Master Core intermediate classes, and is looking forward to seeing improvements in these postures as well.

No word on if her husband intends to follow up his pre-wedding class with more yoga, but Jaren makes it clear that no one she cares about should expect to skip out on trying Bikram yoga: “I am always trying to recruit my friends and family to class. I have had such a positive experience practising Bikram yoga and I want the same for them.”





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