standing bow pose

March Student of the Month: Malar Sathasivam


Malar has been practicing Bikram Yoga for 3 years now and was first told about Bikram Yoga from a friend but was actually motivated to stick with it by her mom! She says, “a friend of mine mentioned the name and I looked it up online and came in for a trial class. My Mom motivated me to stick through the trial period.” Malar eventually enjoyed the yoga and studio so much that she even moved in order to be closer to the studio and her work!

Before Bikram Yoga Malar says she used to be sluggish, achy, and lazy all the time. She says, “my energy levels were low and working out at the gym left me achy and sore.” One of the biggest benefits that Malar finds to doing this yoga is that it helps with her achiness and soreness, stating “the health benefits are innumerable and very subtle I believe. The one thing I did discover that is not touted is the ability to bounce back quicker and better after a bout of illness or injury. Every time I have an injury or ache and I take a couple of yoga classes and they go away. I haven't taken any pain reliever in a long time. Anytime I feel achy and sore I just head to yoga.”

Malar also contributes this yoga to making her a better dancer saying, “I want to keep dancing even after all my friends are done!” On a more serious note, she says it is a personality trait, “I have never in the past stuck to any activity this long. I have learned endurance for life. I will carry the lesson of not giving up everywhere with me.”

When asked what her favorite posture is, Malar says Standing Bow Pose! Over time she has been able to see her leg come up higher and higher above her head in the mirror. “Only yogis know this feeling,” she says.

As for her advice for new students, Malar says, “Keep coming in. When I first started and was about to give up after my trial period, Steve made me sign up for 3 months. He said commit to it for 4 months and if you still want to quit after that it should be okay. Well, here I am 3 years later.”

Top 5 things I love about our studio

1) The community - such a wonderful people you practice with and awesome teachers

2) Evolution - I love the way the studio has evolved with new classes and still holding onto the roots

3) Fun parties - love meeting and talking with everyone outside the studio

4) Schedule - I'm so grateful for the number of classes you have in a day or during holidays no excuse for missing any

5) Challenge/training - I love the challenge series and training the studio provides for competition, enabling us to reach the next level

Conjuring Up Your English Bulldog Determination

By P.J. Stuart Dandayamana Dhanurasana. It’s “everyone’s favorite pose to photograph,” and why wouldn’t it be? Whether you’re showing off Standing Bow in front of the Eiffel Tower or out in the back yard, there’s no better way to demonstrate your physical grace than by snapping a shot of this one. It’s iconic.

But it’s also ironic. Because as effortless as this beautiful posture may appear, many of us know – as we see drops of our own sweat flying onto the mat – Standing Bow demands a huge amount of determination to stay balanced (at least for longer than the 5 seconds it takes for a picture). Bikram says – and BYPV teachers remind us time and again – it takes “English Bulldog determination.” Most admirers would never guess the secret to all your grace and beauty is a … bulldog!

I mean no disrespect to this fierce, wrinkly-faced creature. On the contrary, in an effort to empower myself and improve my practice, I began researching this ferocious animal. As one of Bikram’s designated animal guides (I’ll save the Bengal Tiger for a separate post), I thought it might help to have a more concrete, deeper understanding of this beast.

What makes the English Bulldog so determined?

 FACT #1: Bred for Fighting

Ever wonder why there’s a bull in “bulldog?” This dog’s broad, sturdy jaw isn’t merely a coincidence. A cross between a mastiff and a terrier, the English Bulldog was bred for fighting … specifically, for a sport known as “bull baiting.” In the 1600s, English spectators placed wagers as several dogs were set onto a tethered bull. The dog that successfully grabbed the bull by its nose and pinned it down was proclaimed winner.

Without extreme determination, many of the dogs would die in violent competition.

 TIP: Picture THAT next time you’re holding yourself up in Standing Bow! (And don’t worry, the sport was declared illegal in 1835 under the Cruelty to Animals Act – EnglishBulldogs have had a much cushier, gentler lifestyle ever since).

FACT #2: Stupid Determination

Turns out, there might be psychological reasons English Bulldogs are so gosh-darn determined, too. They rank 78 out of 80 in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks dog breeds according to their brainpower. English Bulldogs hold the lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence of all dogs, which makes them less likely to listen to human commands – and more likely to listen to their own animal instincts.

 TIP: When an animal knows it wants or needs something, it will do whatever it takes to get it! Take a tip from our English canine pal, push all your obtrusive human thoughts aside – and channel some of that stupid determination.

FACT #3: Mascot Power

The English Bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps. During World War I, many German reports called the attacking Marines “teufel-hunden” (meaning Devil Dogs) – vicious, wild and ferocious. Soon after, U.S. Marine recruiting posters showed the image of a snarling English Bulldog wearing a Marine Corps helmet.

In 1922, at the Marine base at Quanitco, Virginia, the Marines enlisted their first bulldog, Pvt. Jiggs. Today, many USMC bases have their own mascot on base. (Thirty-nine American universities also use a Bulldog as their mascot!)

 TIP: When trying to conjure up your English Bulldog determination, remember – they symbolize the warrior culture of combat marines! Don’t accept anything less. You’re a marine now – yogi style!

BYPV says: Look what you can accomplish with a little of that "English Bulldog determination"!