Paying it Forward: A Thank You to my teachers

People ask me what my favourite part of teaching is, and I would say that it would be when students realize that they can do anything.  ANYTHING.

Why?  Because I know that feeling, too.  It’s utterly intoxicating.  There’s just no greater feeling.

To me, a very important part of teaching yoga is trust.   In my experience, students move forward more bravely when they trust the teacher – when they feel their progress actually matters.  Sharing the joy of progress also fuels  more growth down the road.

The past couple of classes I’ve taught, I’ve witnessed several major (physical) breakthroughs in the regulars.  Had it not been unprofessional, I would’ve jumped for joy in the hot room for them.  An even better part is when the students are in shock of what they had just done!  In those moments, I cease to exist, it is all about them.  As their vulnerability lay in a puddle of their own sweat, their inner power grows.   I don’t know who wouldn’t humbled by witnessing that.

I’ve had amazing teachers who helped me find those moments, those breakthroughs in my practice.   The only way I know how to thank them properly is to give the same to my own students.  And as a reminder to my fellow teachers…one day you may inspire a student to return your good will to others.

As I continue to teach, I pay it forward in gratitude.  I encourage you all to do the same.  Your world will be better for it.

A note to Bikram students

I’ve worked in my fair share of jobs: babysitter in junior high, grocery check out girl in high school, bartender and waitress in college, as a counselor and a teacher as an adult.

But never have I encountered such sheer level of complaints as I have working in the yoga community (not to me directly, just a general observation).

The room is too hot, too humid, too cold. The teacher is too loud, too quiet. The room is too small, too empty. The posture is too hard. Or it’s not doing anything at all.

In response to all the Goldilocks out there, here are 10 things to keep in mind when we go to our next Bikram class.

Please kindly remember that:

1. Bikram yoga is…hot.

2. The more bodies in the room, the higher the humidity. If you complain about the class being humid, look at your neighbours. Unless you have the guts to ask them to leave, just breathe and deal with it.


3. Each person is a mini heater. The body’s temp is roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit. (it wasn’t just a boy band). This rises as you exercise, as stated in Gym Class 101.


4. Heat makes a person sweaty. Exercise in a heated room makes you more sweaty.


5. Speaking of which, Bikram yoga IS exercise. Not a spa treatment.


6. Bikram yoga is 90 minutes. Just like a marathon is 26.2 miles. A 25-mile run is just a long ass run so why not do it properly? 


7. You get back what you put in. It’s as simple as that. Results come from hard work, plain and simple.


8. We teachers are specifically asked by Bikram (the dude) not to touch students. So don’t take it personal that I won’t ‘adjust’ you. Plus I have no idea where your hands have been.


9. When was the last time you complained to the treadmill that it was making you work too hard? Probably never because you get on it prepared to work. Same goes with Bikram yoga. You paid for the class. Why not get the most out of it? 


10. Lock your knee. No, seriously, lock your knee.

Above all, relax dudes and dudettes. It’s just yoga.

‘It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money you have. Just do the yoga.’ ~ Bikram Choudhury