After your first Bikram class, what was your impression?
I came to my first yoga class in November 2006. My father was very
ill. I spent most of my time working and helping my mom care for my
dad. While doing this, I gained 25 lbs. I was medicating myself with
food. I was stressed, exhausted, and broken down. I was one sorry yoga
specimen my first class, but I was determined. Determined to loose
some weight and hopefully decompress a little.
At first, I didn't realize the utility of yoga or how I would
eventually apply the yoga experience to greater challenges coming in my
life. My dad died of pancreatic cancer in November 2007. Near the end
of my dad's life, when his suffering was more than I could bare, I
would step away from his bedside for a moment, take slow, deep breaths,
and the Bikram teachers' dialogue would come to my mind - "pranayama,
it's energy, life force", "you can do anything for 30 seconds", or
"relax, all you need to do is breathe". The words spoken by the Bikram
teachers, in the yoga studio, helped me focus and they gave me strength
while my father was dying.
By learning to control my breath and by breaking the difficult
moments down, the anxiety I felt about my dad's experience was reduced
to a size I could manage and cope with. In his hospice room, I would
practice pranayama breathing, savasana, and half tortoise pose. When
the powerful medications prescribed to my dad, the last few days of his
life, made him unable to respond, I believe we were still connected,
present together, and he was aware of my yoga practice near his
What drives you to continue to practice? What keeps bringing you back?
Prior to my first Bikram yoga class, privately my
dad expressed to me that he was very concerned about the serious impact
his poor health was having on me and the entire family. I'm certain my
dad was relieved to know through yoga I discovered a healthy, natural
way to care for myself during his illness and through the challenging
work of grieving.
What are some of the benefits and changes you've seen in yourself?
As for my physical health, I'm a healthy
weight. My blood pressure and cholesterol are normal, and my
triglyceride level is so low it's immeasurable. I'm a healthy yoga
speciman in progress. A "flower petal blooming".
What is your favorite posture?
My favorite pose is camel. The moment my head goes
back, I feel open and free. For me, camel feels like a great big sigh
of relief. I wish I could stay in that moment forever. Camel pose
clears my body and mind.
What is the greatest challenge about the yoga? Yourself?
Working with uncertainty and realizing unshakeable faith is challenging.
What advice can you give to a 1st timer after they complete the class?
Keep showing up. Be patient. See what happens. Then, share your experience with the rest of us.
Recently, Norman said to me, "Gail, you have a
beautiful yoga practice". Thanks! that's very kind of you to
say.Honestly, all I do is show up for class. If my yoga practice has
blossomed in to something beautiful, it's because of the dedicated
teachers at Nashua Bikram who have been guiding me since my first
class. I'm grateful for each of you.
See you soon.