I love these features of real life yogis, people who come into the yoga studio to sweat and stretch and use their yoga time to help make their lives better. Exercise and living go hand-in-hand, and when you find a physical activity that helps all other aspects of your life get a little more manageable and a tad easier, well, that’s just awesome!
Bikram Yoga is, without a doubt, an incredible workout. But it’s so much more than that as well. In this feature, we interviewed Laurie Diamond, a long-time Bikram Yogi. Her Bikram Yoga experience extends far beyond burning calories and working out. It helps keep her sane and healthy, calm and focused.
Take a peek!
When did you start practicing Bikram Yoga and what brought you into the hot room for the first time?
I started practicing Bikram Yoga in 2010. I was at Tilly’s (a small grocery store in Natick) and was locked out of my car with my 10-year-old and 9-year-old in tow. Waiting for AAA, there it was a beacon calling to me: a flyer on the bulletin board announcing a new yoga studio offering Bikram Yoga. I had tried the practice many years prior but never stuck with it. I remember loving the heat and the constant practice of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. I thought I would give it a try again. It was meant to be!
At the beginning of your practice, what was the most challenging thing about Bikram Yoga?
Relaxing and enjoying the practice … realizing that it’s just yoga. I started at the studio wearing long yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I would be in the back row, hands on my hips, breathing in and out of my mouth, and looking stressed. I had to have everything perfect, right down to no wrinkles on my mat and no sweat on my face. I have come a long way!
What has been the greatest benefit (or benefits!) you’ve received from yoga?
The mental moving meditation and the hour and 30 minutes just for me. I am not a wife, mother, sister, nurse, friend etc. when I am in yoga, I am just me. What a gift! I am truly lost, not aware of anything but my breath.
As a nurse, you must experience both physical and mental stress. How has Bikram Yoga affected your life at work?
There are days where I am on my feet for 12+ hours a shift. Working in the ICU, the stress, demands, and acuity is fast-paced and intense. I approach situations in a calm and controlled manner. Again, here is the meditation that keeps me in check during these situations. Coming to the hot room after standing for a long shift in clogs is just what my tight hips, hamstrings, and lower back need. It is often tough to get to yoga, but my body is so happy when I do!
In addition to practicing Bikram Yoga, what other ways do you stay active and how does your yoga help?
I used to be a long-distance runner completing many marathons. My body could not keep up with the constant impact. My routine is now yoga, barre class, and 8-10 mile walks twice a week with my friend! Bikram keeps my tight hips, hamstrings and back loose and flexible, so I can enjoy these activities.
And finally, what advice would you give to new students just starting out with Bikram Yoga?
Just breathe and practice the poses with what your body can do, whether it’s 1% or 100% of the posture. I know in this life I will never lock my knees in Hands To Feet Pose or touch my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose and that is o.k. But I just may in my next lifetime!
Here’s to sweating and healing for the rest of this lifetime and beyond!