“I want to thank you for what has been a second home for me for the past 2+ years. Practicing and working with you and the BYLES family has done wonders for my mood and mental focus, and I’m sure this is something you hear often. I also want you to know, though, what an inspiration you have been to me at such a transitional time in my life. In 2009, Bikram yoga helped me deal with being laid off from my office job, then helped me to realize that I never wanted to work in an office again. I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to change paths and become a teacher if practicing asanas in a hot room hadn’t proven to me that I’m capable of thriving outside my comfort zone.
It’s true that I once heard a fellow teacher praising your balance, but what I admire is not that you can stand on your head (and how!), but the other kinds of balance—between hard work and having fun, between tradition and innovation, between humor and earnestness—that you bring into the room and the community. I hope that my own classroom can be that kind of space for my students one day.”
“In 4 1/2 years of off-again-on-again Bikram, Friday was the first day that I didn’t battle consistent thoughts of self-hate when looking at myself/my body in the mirror. To say that I was affected by being raised by an obese mother who has continuously treated her body like shit, is an understatement. That part of my upbringing and her continued unhealthy, self-destructive habits is something I struggle with daily. She is only 52 and she can hardly walk, she’s had over 7 major surgeries, and is now retired on disability and has very little energy, inertia or drive left. Even so - I refuse to ever give up on pushing her, encouraging her to change her habits, to love herself, to forgive herself, and to treat herself better. Besides her eating terribly, continued inactivity, and constantly taking a ton of pain killers and pills – I also believe her mental thought patterns, stress and self-hate has fueled her poor physical state more than anything. Nevertheless, she is a beautiful, nurturing caring soul to children, animals and often highly misunderstood individuals. She just can’t seem to treat herself with the same love and understanding. She lives vicariously through me and has even confessed that if it weren’t for me and my drive – she might actually kill herself. And though she rarely listens to my advice or acts on my well-intentioned wishes for her well being – damn it, I refuse to EVER give up on her. And most importantly – I refuse to ever give up on myself. Because, in the end, I have come to accept that’s who I am truly accountable for. So. My breakthrough? Though there were still some spots of self-criticism and self-doubt, your class was the first time I felt truly proud and an overall sense of calm and love towards myself. For the first time ever – I didn’t see my heavy, illness-ridden mother in that mirror. I left behind the image of her. I checked that baggage at the door before I walked into class. And for the first time ever – I saw MYSELF in that mirror. Strong, calm, driven, passionate and determined. Bam. Breakthrough. If I want my mother to ever love herself – I’ve got to practice what I preach and love myself first.”