I started practicing Bikram Yoga at the Old Street studio in London in 2007. After my first session, I told friends that it was the hardest workout that I had ever done. During my five years of Thai-boxing, I had trained to be a fighter and competed in the ring. As you can imagine, I was amazed to find that this yoga series could match the intensity of a Thai boxing training session. Instantly I was hooked!
At the time, I was completing my post grad in primary teaching and was feeling seriously burned out. I quickly found out however, that after a yoga session I would be completely revitalised, recharged and elated. My lower back had always been an issue for me and I had chronic stiff shoulders and sore necks. This quickly sorted it’s self out when I started my yoga practice and has never bothered me again since. I began to dedicate all my free time to my practice, travelling an hour across London to the Studio for each session.
In 2009 I suffered a sudden major illness. One morning I was in school, moving around furniture for my new class, and the next day I was in intensive care, recovering from emergency surgery and septicaemia. I had no underlying medical condition and doctors later confirmed that it was a completely freak incidence, caused by a bacterial reaction. I was unable to move for days, morphined up to my eyeballs, and ended up off work for several months. Tremendously shocked that my health could deteriorate so dramatically in such a small space of time, I began to suffer from anxiety and became depressed.
I was off work and stopped my yoga practice for several months as I struggled to return to my former health both physically and mentally, particularly to regain my confidence. Later that year, I returned to work and completed my probationary teaching year but after my rather resounding reminder that life is short, I realised that I wanted to be back with my nearest and dearest in my home town of Glasgow.
At this crossroads in my life, I was torn. I knew that this move would not be good for my school teaching career and on top of that, to my knowledge there was no Bikram Studio in Scotland at this time. How could I live without Bikram? I felt I had to take my practice with me and wanted all my friends and family to experience the positive changes that I had achieved through yoga. It was then that I made a life changing decision. I handed my notice into my job, signed up for a credit card and in the fall of 2010 I applied for Bikram’s Yoga Teacher Training (BYTT).
Preparing for BYTT was tough and getting through it even harder. You’ll hear all about, it but it’s a story for another day. Overall it’s probably the single most empowering thing I have ever done. After Teacher Training, I felt that I could see everything in life clearer. I felt one hundred times the person I had been the previous year, after my illness. My confidence and strength were restored and with them a strong new purpose in life was emerging.
I felt so much more aware of the value of my health and body than I had done only two years previously and felt compelled to promote health and wellness in my community. I feel that this is something that so many people take for granted and still shudder when I see Scotland’s health stats. Yoga is a great way to counteract elements of your life that are not so healthy. It’s all about the balance. You suddenly find yourself walking along a path to supreme health and mental clarity and you don’t even have to give up the fish suppers!
As all Bikram Yogi’s know, the series provides so many health benefits that it’s difficult to believe that just twenty six postures can do such much good for you. It affects you in so many ways. On top that your motivated and empowered by the knowledge that you are doing it to yourself. I loved yoga teaching straight away. For me, it is such an honour to be able to help people use yoga to improve their mind and body, even to heal old injuries and cure chronic health problems. Its such a positive inspiring environment to work it and I have met so many wonderful people through Bikram Yoga. Overall, I love getting to make people feel good- well ok maybe they don’t feel so great during awkward pose, or much of the standing series for that matter but it’s always worth it in the end and they come out smiling.
I so excited to now be opening a studio. Its always a new challenge and never a dull moment. I honestly cannot think of anything that I would rather do.
– Co-Founder Bikram Yoga Southside