How long have you been practicing?
I am honored to be BYF’s Yogi of the Month. Thank you for asking me! I have been practicing Bikram Yoga for 10 years. I heard about Bikram Yoga from my friend, Martha. The only classes at the time were held at a studio in Dennis. On a cold, dark February morning I drove there from Falmouth. I thought - this is crazy! The teacher was welcoming. The class was hard. I was terrible. And I felt great. I have had a regular practice since that morning.
What brought you through the front door? Suffering brought me to Bikram Yoga. I had been experiencing debilitating stiffness in all joints. I tried swimming and other styles of yoga. The heat, the simple (not to be confused with easy) 26 poses, and the unchanging sequence of the postures all worked best for me. Then I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Through anti-inflammatory diet and Bikram Yoga, I manage my RA without medication. Flexibility and balance still elude me but I have no pain. I believe this yoga has saved my life. Bikram Yoga claims to be "an open-eyed moving meditation". The familiar 26 postures and the rote dialogue allow me to attain a meditative state. It's a two for one: meditation and exercise. As long as I remember to breathe - all is well.
Favorite posture? My favorite posture is Standing Separate Leg Stretching. I love being upside down. This is a posture I could stay in all day. Every posture holds a major challenge for me. My yoga practice allows me to take on these challenges, working with my weaknesses, not against them.
Bikram yoga has taught me… everything! My daughter used to call it my second full time job. Now I work part-time, so I guess it's my only full time job. I'm in the yoga studio as much as possible. My regular practice is four times per week. Sometimes I'm in the studio five or six times a week. Never too much yoga!
Outside of the studio, you can find me… Outside of the studio, I work as a licensed mental health counselor in Mashpee. I spend my free time with friends and family. I have two married children and five grandsons. I have lots of sisters and many nieces and nephews. There is always something going on. I love the city and travel to Boston or New York City as often as possible. Each year in June, I go with friends to do Bikram Yoga in Times Square with 11,000 other yogis as a celebration of the summer solstice. Last year I went to India and hope to take another journey next year.
After class must have? After class, I am always hungry. I go home for some food or out to eat. Lastly, I am grateful for Bikram Yoga Falmouth. I will end as I began: class is always hard. I can still be pretty terrible. You are all welcoming and encouraging. And I always feel great. BYF is such an important part of my life. I am a grateful yogi.
What brought you through the front door? Several years ago, I went to Bikram once a week for a few months and, although I didn't find the reasons then to continue, I was left with a very favorable impression regarding the quality of the workout. In mid-2015, something happened in my life that made me really look at myself and I wasn't really happy with all that I saw. What followed could be described as similar to an addict's rock bottom and the rebuilding of your life from the inside out. Three months into the journey, I lay in bed one night and a powerful intuitive feeling came to me that I needed to go to Bikram the next day. It was a Wednesday, and the first workout was brutal. I sat out some of the poses but managed to stay in the room. I thought I should try to finish the week and set that for a goal. When Friday came, I thought I should set a goal of doing all five weekdays (9:15 class) the next week. So that goal and that schedule has been kept up for almost a year and a half and the reasons I show up today are not the same as in the beginning. At first, it was a challenge "change your body and then change your life" was intriguing and it helped me with anxiety. Today, the reasons for continuing this practice are complex and I may not find the right words. It is related to the quest for a more meaningful existence and how a practice fits into that. For me, it is learning by a process that starts with thoughts and concepts but, then, has to transcend into direct experience. Meditation and Bikram are practices that foster that transcendence. For the first time in my life, I have been able to consciously experience what some people call a higher vibrational energy, or Chi, or the Holy Spirit. To do something that brings health to your body and aids your emotional and spiritual growth is really cool and special. I recently thought about the first time I heard a Bikram teacher say, "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable" and how it so perfectly matched with my struggle with very difficult emotions at that time. And now, on a really good day in the hot room, I can feel something approaching bliss even while experiencing what my old self would describe as uncomfortable sensations. It is rare for me still, but I see that it is possible.
I would like to mention that the community, teachers and classmates, at the studio is a big draw for me. It is a very down to earth and fun (and funny!) group.
Outside of yoga... I am a parent to two really cool kids, Lily (11 years) and Elijah (7 years). My kids attend the Waldorf school in Cotuit and, as a family, we are active in the support of the school. I live on a farm that I have worked for the last 15 years and run a small CSA.
After class... My must have is kombucha (home-brewed!).
How long have you been practicing? I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for 6 years. My first class was on Martin Luther King Day in January of 2011. During those 6 years, I’ve my fortunate to practice with my daughter, my son, my sister and many friends. My daughter, Kristen, was my catalyst for trying out hot yoga. Kristen had been practicing Bikram Yoga for some time. She talked about the Yoga many times but I wasn’t inclined to try it as the heat and humidity did not appeal to me. Kristen never deliberately tried to convince me to give the Yoga a go. For some strange reason, during a January cold stretch, I just decided that I’d try a class. I vividly remember that class. WOW! As I sat outside the hot room after class, trying to figure out what had just happened to me and my body, I remember thinking that I’d never done anything that difficult since giving birth to my two children.
After struggling through two more classes, I decided that Bikram Yoga was not for me. I loved the yoga but not the heat and humidity. So, I tried a Vinyassa class at a different studio. The room was 80 degrees and the other practitioners warned me that I would get very hot. When I barely broke a sweat and actually missed being all liquidy and fluid, my mind started nagging me to try Bikram again. I did and have been practicing ever since. In June of 2012, I completed a 30 day challenge at Bikram Yoga Falmouth and felt so proud of myself for being able to do that at age 62 and while working full time. I also took posture clinics with Kelly Mara, Diane Ducharme and Rajashree Choudury. Those clinics really helped me to understand the purpose for the postures and how to execute them correctly. I highly recommend taking clinics even if you have to travel to get to one. They really help your practice.
At the moment, Triangle is my favorite posture with Camel a close second. I also particularly like doing Standing Bow Pulling Pose. These postures remind me of poses from my days of doing gymnastics in high school. I feel very graceful during class. In many ways, this yoga is a beautiful dance.
Bikram Yoga has taught me that I really can do things that I never dreamed I’d be able to do. During my first months of practicing, I never thought I would be able to do Camel Posture. Now it’s one of my favorites. It’s also taught me that age doesn’t matter if you really want to do something. Right now, I’m trying to apply these realizations to my desire to learn to roller skate. It should be fun! Lastly, I learned how healing this yoga can be. When I started practicing, I was seeing a neurologist for injections to my neck. I had frozen shoulder and spinal stenosis. After only a month of Bikram Yoga my doctor could not believe the improvement in my mobility and said that he was there if I ever needed him again. I haven’t needed him again and never had another injection.
Outside of class, I am enjoying my first year of retirement from my position at Falmouth High School. I still love to read history books and enjoy reading for hours on Menauhant Beach in the summer. I miss teaching and interacting with teenagers, but love having more time for my hobbies. On many days I can be found at the barn where I board my Paint horse, Montana. Grooming him and taking rides through the woods is very relaxing and rewarding. I love being out in nature as I bond with my horse. I’ve joined a women’s singing group, the Songbirds, and also sing in my church choir. Bikram Yoga has drastically improved my singing ability by expanding the power of my lungs – a benefit that was unexpected!
After class I crave, of course, a shower but also an ice cold glass of water with lemon or orange Ultima.
How long have you been practicing? I first discovered yoga when I was 16. I practiced a different few styles before realizing that the heat was an element I loved. Besides tapping into mental strength, the physical workout I received was awesome. I love a good sweat and could see improvements in the strength I was gaining. I took a little break in my practice before noticing Bikram Yoga Falmouth. I have been practicing at BYF for almost a year and a half.
What brought you to Bikram Yoga? One day I noticed a sign out front of the plaza where Bikram Yoga Falmouth is located saying “hot yoga” and was immediately curious. I thought it sounded amazing, but wasn't sure what exactly what Bikram Yoga was all about. I decided to start going to yoga again on the regular. I committed to taking the 6am class for my first session because I knew if I could get myself in the door that early, I could get myself in the door at any time and it would make it a lot easier to go. I bought a membership my first day at BYF. Bikram Yoga freaked me out at first honestly; doing the same posture over and over again was strange to me because with the hot yoga I practiced before, every class was different. But I learned that the sequence works out every single muscle and joint in your body. And that’s the main reason I keep coming back. I love the strength Bikram Yoga gives you, both mentally and physically.
My favorite posture in the sequence is Camel. It always opens up my chest and makes me feel refreshed afterwards.
Bikram Yoga has taught me a lot. When I first walked in, it was hotter than any yoga I had done before. I couldn't ever pay attention to what the instructor was saying because I was wondering if I was getting enough air during class. As I kept coming back, I learned to tolerate the heat, increasing my mental discipline. Which in turn helps me focus more on the instructor, my breath, and the movements, in essence, learing to focus on the present moment. Practicing Bikram Yoga has taught me that even the slightest little adjustment in a posture could stretch a muscle you may have never stretched. It taught me form is much more important than depth and that in doing the posture correctly, you can get so many more benefits.
Outside of the studio, my interests are grounded in creating a better world through our everyday choices. I try and promote as much healthiness as possible. I am raw vegan and enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have with others. I know that purchasing conventional foods promotes the destruction of this world as more GMOs are created and more pesticides are used. If nobody bought GMOs or poisonous foods, these large companies would go out of business! Buying only organic is the first step in creating a better world. The way I see it is simple: what’s more expensive, medical bills or buying organic produce? Not only will you feel better, but you will promote the restoration of this world.
After class, I always have a 2oz shot of wheatgrass juice, a 2oz shot of aloe water, and a protein smoothie. Rehydration is key!
How long have you been practicing? Since November, 2014
What brought you through the front door? I starting going because my body was quickly falling apart from bad genes and too many hours at a drafting table. For about a year it would take nearly an hour for my neck and ankles to revive in the morning. My mother has severe arthritis. She lives in constant pain and in a hobbled state. I knew I had to be proactive, or I’d end up just like her. In the first class, I could barely turn my head to the side. Lying flat on the floor was an accomplishment. By the end of the class, which was miserable, I knew I had to keep going because I was completely loose and pain-free. After two weeks I felt like a new person.
Why did you keep coming back? I am now nimble and free of pain by day (unless I provoke my arthritis by sitting balled up in a chair for hours with a computer in my lap). I feel more energetic, and my skin is better than it has ever been due all of the clear fluids I flush through my pores.
Favorite posture? Hmmm. The second part of Awkward pose. I’m pretty sure that’s why I can get out bed in the morning!
Bikram yoga has taught me… You don’t have to become your mother!
Outside of the studio, you can find me…what are your hobbies? Interests? I have a full time dog and a part time job at Coffee Obsession, and I’m an artist who hopes the recession goes away and people start buying large bronze sculptures again.
http://www.sarahpeterssculpture.com I also draw wackadoodle chalkboards for Coffee O.
After class must have? A shower! But during class, this is my favorite homemade electrolyte drink:
1 gallon Distilled Water, pour off 2 cups to make room for… 1 cup Lemon or Lime Juice (Santa Cruz bottled organic is cost effective)
¼ cup Raw Honey (I warm it with hot water to liquefy) 1 tsp. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt ½ tsp. Baking Soda Shake and keep refrigerated. Lasts up to a week.
How long have you been practicing? I'm Bill Kulis, 63 years of age, a high school teacher and coach at Falmouth High School. I started Bikram Yoga in February of this year.
What brought you through the front door? I came to the studio following the advice of my primary care MD and my chiropractor to deal with leg and lower back issues.
Why did you keep coming back? After six months of consistently practicing Bikram Yoga, I can unequivocally state that this has been one the best forms of physical therapy I have tried. The stretching in the heat combined with the sequence of postures has relieved the pain and stiffness in my lower back and legs. Additionally, this yoga practice has allowed me to regain my normal gait.
What's your favorite posture? Eagle! I'm starting to open up a lot more in this one and see the changes in my body. So many of these postures seems impossible to me when I first started practicing, but now I recognize that I've been making steady progress. The instructors at BYF are fabulous! Kate, Laura, Karen, and Christian are great coaches and welcome you to do what you can with the physical state you are in that day. They are encouraging and supportive.
Bikram Yoga has taught me... There is nothing more important than investing in my overall health. This yoga can be frustrating at first with the heat and your current physical state, but it it is well worth the sweat and energy you expend! It is not a quick fix, as I can attest, but over the last six months my physical and mental well being have improved greatly!!!
Outside of the studio, you can find me... When I am not teaching or coaching for the High School you can find me behind the bar at one of your favorite Italian restaurants in Falmouth. I also like to golf and spend time with my family.
After class must have? Another water! Hydrate well before and after each class. Namaste
How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing Bikram Yoga consistently for about 6 months. However "hot yoga" is something I have done inconsistently over the years.
What brought you through the front door? My good friend and fellow Falmouth Bikram yogi, Suzanne Hickey, brought me through the front door after we had a conversation about working out. I explained to her how I felt that I had hit a plateau in my efforts to get in shape both physically and mentally. She suggested I give Bikram Yoga a try given her positive experience with the practice. I went to the studio, gave it a shot, and I became hooked! Now I try to get to class as often as I can, usually 5 times a week.
What's your favorite posture? My favorite posture is Bow Pose because I feel I have mastered it pretty well after working on my alignment and paying close attention to my form. Patience and practice add up nicely.
Bikram Yoga has taught me... Bikram Yoga has taught me how to become in tune with my body by slowing down, listening, and enabling me to make a total body, mind and spirit connection. Most importantly, my dedicated Bikram Yoga practice has taught me how to breathe!! I feel I'm better equipped to remain calm in stressful situations.
Outside of the studio, you can find me... Outside of the studio you can find me at my spa...Rosemary Skin Spa, a business which I recently opened in downtown Falmouth. I love working with my clients to offer them advanced skin facials and hair removal at a reasonable cost. Besides Bikram Yoga, my hobbies are the simple things in life: spending quality time with family and friends, particularly my three adult children, my boyfriend, my mom, siblings, and my dog Gigi.
After class must have? My after class must have is a shower first and then my favorite smoothie made with fresh fruit and Nerium Youth Factor which is a superfood and antioxidant boost powder that gives me so much energy and makes me feel great all day long!
How long have you been practicing? I've been practicing Bikram Yoga for about six years now. If I've counted correctly it's around 975 classes and not one of those classes has ever been the same for me. In retrospect, it seems like a lot but in looking forward, I'm hoping to practice for another forty years or so.
What brought you through the front door? Why did you keep coming back? I initially went to my first Bikram class to help with recovery from back injuries sustained in a car crash. A friend made the recommendation after everything else I tried didn't work. I quickly gravitated towards Bikram Yoga. I loved the energy and flexibility I've gained from my classes but more importantly I was surprised at how class helped me de-stress. I really enjoy the Bikram community - the teachers and fellow yogis are amazing. I like that everyone I've met is there for the same reason: to heal, improve, and strengthen themselves both physically and mentally.
What’s your favorite posture? It changes every month. I think about the posture that I need to improve the most and I try to figure out a way to make it my favorite. (Ask me about Triangle sometime and I promise to tell you a funny story about how it became my favorite...) This month's favorite posture however is Half Moon. I find it very helpful in creating much needed space in my spine.
Bikram Yoga has taught me… So many things...how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, how to hold still when I really don't want to, how to be patient with myself, how to listen, how to focus (ask anyone what happens when you lose focus in Standing Bow), but I think most importantly how to breathe and stay calm in just about any situation.
Outside of the studio, you can find me… When not practicing yoga I can be found spending just about every free minute with my family. We have a four year-old so there's lots of time spent with stuffed animal parades, nature walks, books, building forts from couch cushions and blankets. Thankfully my Bikram Yoga practice has given me the flexibility and health to be able to keep up with her. Other than that, I have a great job that I'm pretty passionate about. If there's any time left after that, there is always my guitar hanging on the wall and the crazy idea of playing open-mic night at Club Passim.
After class must have? Water! (In various forms.) Salt seems like a close second
How long have you been practicing? I flirted briefly with Bikram Yoga about 10 years ago and thought “I’ll never do this again.” Then I surprised myself by starting a steady practice several years ago (usually two classes a week) at Bikram Yoga Falmouth.
What brought you through the front door? Why did you keep coming back? Good questions! I walked through the front door on what I thought was a whim, thinking “I’ll give it one more chance.” I tend to be a creature of habit, and fell into a routine fairly quickly, though not always with a lot of enthusiasm for the postures. I was, however, drawn to the experience of stillness, and also the staff. The Bikram teachers are a big part of my consistency. The studio feels like a friendly, healthy, supportive community for me – that is big! The opportunity for reflection, focus, and calming is a big draw.
What's your favorite posture? My favorite is one some people seem to hate: Triangle. The effect it has on my back is astonishing, including a disc injury that I got in 1999, when I did a memorial backpack climb across the Pyrenees, to honor my father and other World War II forces who worked with the French Resistance to fight the Nazis. I told myself I would finish the hike if I had to crawl the final few feet, and I almost did have to crawl. But I walked to the end, a village in Spain, and the evidence is two destroyed discs in my lower back. During Triangle, in every single class, my spine pops so loudly I’m amazed I don’t draw stares! While the posture continues to be challenging, I love the feeling of suppleness afterwards. (The endorphin flood helps too.)
Bikram Yoga has taught me... How to be a better, more transparent version of myself, not always so easy. It puts me in touch with a deep part of myself that I could easily ignore. Bikram Yoga (and Pilates) have been a big part of my lifelong journey to heal my spine and also to handle and heal a depression/anxiety syndrome that started in childhood. I am 67, and Bikram helps me feel more fluid and graceful in the aging process, both physically and mentally.
Outside of the studio, you can find me... You can find me teaching Pilates or at my main work: writing feature stories for home, architecture, and lifestyle magazines. (check out her amazing work at marygrauerholz.com) I love music, food, humor, and language, and read a lot. I will always make time to sit around a table of good food, friends, and family to discuss whatever is on our minds: social issues, books, life, you name it. My husband and I have five grandkids, an incredibly happy event for us.
After class must have? Any tips for new students? The first thing I reach for post-class is (more) coconut water and very often, a slice or two of cheese pizza from Steve’s. For new students, I would say drinks lots of water before and after class, and don’t worry too much. Life has a way of shaping the person we want to be.
How long have you been practicing? I started practicing Bikram Yoga in March of 2017.
What brought you through the front door and why did you keep coming back? In June of 2016, I decided to get healthy. Since then I have lost over 70lbs through a combination of diet and exercise. I started walking 4 miles a day, but when winter came I needed to find something to do inside. I am not a fan of going to the gym and watching TV while on a stair master or other machine, so I started taking a yoga class. My instructor at the time kept talking about Bikram Yoga and started weaving some of the postures into her class. At the same time, my sisters were also talking about Bikram Yoga and what an amazing workout it was. I kept looking at the BYF website and trying to psych myself up. I honestly didn't believe I could actually do Bikram Yoga. Finally one Sunday I just said, “I am going to do it!”. I survived my first class and felt such a sense of accomplishment that I wanted to come back immediately and do it all over again. I have been consistently practicing ever since, aiming to take five classes per week.
What's your favorite posture and why? I’ll choose Rabbit Pose because it stretches parts of my shoulders and my back which have been so problematic to me over the years (and when I get to Rabbit, I think the hard part of the class is over!). When I had my annual physical exam this past October, I grew ½ an inch, so I’d like to give the spine strengthening series some credit too.
Bikram Yoga has taught me... To truly be comfortable being uncomfortable! I enjoy the challenge of going outside of my comfort zone and making the time to try and clear my mind of all of the chatter that comes from day to day life. Focusing purely on myself for 90 minutes is a gift. I love that I can find a studio wherever I travel and you always know what to expect when you take a Bikram Yoga class.
Outside of the studio, you can find me...Having coffee with friends, needlepointing, cooking, hanging with my family and my dog Kona who is sometimes waiting for me in the car while I am practicing.
After class must have? I drink a lot of water before and during class. After class I can't wait to get my sweaty clothes off and take a nice cool shower
How long have you been practicing? I took my first Bikram Yoga class on November 24, 2014.
What brought you through the front door and why did you keep coming back? I'm always looking for ways to improve my overall health and wanted to try a new discipline on my path of self-improvement. I had taken other yoga classes in various styles, and decided to give Bikram Yoga a shot since I live close by and drove by the studio frequently. After taking class, the noticeable differences in how I felt kept me coming back- both immediately after class and in general how my body felt. I experience a surge of energy, my mood is lighter, and I walk taller.
What's your favorite posture? Why? I love the simple yet mentally challenging aspect of Savasana. This posture taught me how to quiet my mind, remain in control of my breath and also of my thoughts. Perhaps most importantly, my focus in Savasana has enabled me to access these tools when I'm outside of the studio.
Bikram Yoga has taught me...that it's never too late to make a change, both mentally and physically. Before committing to practicing Bikram Yoga, I couldn't touch my toes, and I thought that's just how it was for me. I've learned it's possible to change how my body functions, correct muscular imbalances, loosen up my hamstrings, and work towards healing back ailments that I thought to be the norm. Age is irrelevant if you want to make changes in how you feel!
Outside of the studio, you can find me...Being a Dad, fixing cars, driving fast, enjoying nature, and reading.
After class must have? Any tips for new students? After class I reach for my go-to snack, avocado with salt. My advice to new students is not to fear the heat, and don't get discouraged by how you feel in the beginning of your yoga journey. Let the effects of this powerful practice sink in over time because then there's no going back. This practice isn't a "want" for me, it's a must have. Shout out to this inviting community at BYF, both the teachers and the students- everyone here is warm and supportive and keeps me coming back for more.
How long have you been practicing?
I started Bikram Yoga approximately 3 years ago in 2015. I take the summers off to enjoy my warm-weather outdoor activities, but I’m always eager to return to Bikram Yoga Falmouth in the fall.
What brought you in the front door? My friend Sean and I were talking about all our aches and pains and debating who had the most. He came to me and said, “BOB YOU NEED TO GIVE Bikram Yoga A TRY!”. Being in the construction business for over 37 years, I’d been living with a lot of pain & monthly visits to the chiropractor for a tune up. So I decided I would take the next step to improve my well being & join BYF. I remember the first class well. I was a little intimidated, due to the nature of the yoga and that I never practiced yoga of any type- NO WORRIES. All the teachers are encouraging without any pressure & give practical advice to improve my practice to the best of my ability.Since I have been practicing, my aches & pains have disappeared to my disbelief. Bikram Yoga will always be a part of my life along with my enjoyment. (By the way - I haven’t had to visit my chiropractor since I started.)
Why do you keep coming back? Over the years of my career, I always enjoyed listening to how my clients manage their health for the golden years (so they say) and this yoga practice has been an ideal avenue for me to learn. Let's face it, we all have a hectic schedule with some grueling hours, yet I still look forward to attending class at the end of the day for fulfillment and relief. Some days if we are lucky we’ll get a joke or a story from the instructors that makes us laugh. It’s really addicting once you start.
What’s your favorite posture? I have to say I don’t dislike one posture from the other, but there are some that are much more challenging for me than others. These tough ones give me inspiration that someday I hope to improve upon them as best as I can.
Bikram Yoga has taught me... Bikram Yoga has given me more energy, calmness, and discipline to maintain a healthier life. All my life I always had time to work, but no time to keep my body in shape. I finally have control & balance thanks to this life changing practice.
Outside the studio, you can find me... Bike riding, playing tennis, golfing, attending a car show with my classics, hanging out with friends & family, traveling, and of course, working.
After class must have? Taking my time to cool down, then more hydration and a shower.
Any tips for new students? I encourage anyone that is looking for a path for a healthier lifestyle to come on in and give Bikram Yoga a shot. It’s the best thing that I’ve done for myself. Thank you to the team at BYF.