By Terri Villavaso
Seemingly, the good answers to this question are endless….
Well Bikram reminds us, the ONLY answer is in the question…
My whole adult life I have been mindful to stay fit, and take care of me. I enjoy running, hiking, cycling used to be big on the list, going to the gym, etc.
In 2004, I had no idea what a yoga class might entail… Union of mind and body, what does that mean? 90 minutes in a HOT room? Of course, I questioned WHY so long... Do everything twice? One time should surely be enough? WHAT DOES BREATHING MEAN?
My husband, Guy, started yoga a long time before me. I had zero interest in going. Of course I was capable of doing my own thing, and did not need a structured HOT class. I had so many opinions about it all. I thought for a long time, people were just sitting around in a room meditating, and there was no work out happening…
So our kids, Evan, Tyler, and Emily, were about 12 and 13 years old and they went to a class before I did with Guy! THAT, is what got ME to my first class… hearing them say, "MOM, YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS…. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE IT... YOU LOVE CHALLENGES."
My first class felt like it lasted about 3 hours… time dragging, no clock, I was in shock, most inflexible person in a room of about 45, some crazy teacher calling me… “hey you, in the red shorts”…
I was literally mad at every person in that yoga room, most especially at my husband for not telling me how it REALLY was going to be. All these so-called, YOGIS, focused only on their face in the mirror, not even noticing or caring that I was about to puke or pass out!
I could not talk for about 2 hours after class, and sat on the corner of my couch at home wrapped in a towel, unable to move or think. All kinds of things racing in my head, and I could not get the vision of this pretty chick on the front row doing a beautiful “standing bow pulling pose” out of my head! How dare her show me up, surely I can learn how to do that???
My family still laughs that I was the most unlikely person to ever go back for a 2nd class or next, or next, or to out of the blue, in 2007 announce to them, I want to be a teacher!!!!
It was not easy the whole process. Bikram always says, THE RIGHT WAY IS THE HARD WAY, AND IT’S UP TO YOU TO MAKE IT WORK.
I started noticing right away the effects of the yoga. I felt more patient, more disciplined with my diet, more tuned in to the inner person in me… the observer. I started feeling different from the inside of me, deep down. At the top of the list was something very big- my whole family became much more connected.
Somewhere between classes 8 to 10, I thought I might decide that this practice is for ME. We all know that moment… the one when you walk out of the studio and you have MORE ENERGY, compared to feeling you have to go home and rest!
I got on a routine pretty quickly and decided more is better! I have kept it up for a long time. Following a senior teacher seminar back in 2007, I got all energized and just could not stop thinking about it all. Craig Villani led the seminar at our studio, and he had such a strong presence and so much warmth and knowledge, and I just knew in my heart that teaching was calling my name! I could not stay off the Bikram website, and started waking up in the middle of the night, wondering, WHY IS THIS CALLING MY NAME?
I feel blessed I followed my heart. I have been teaching for 5 years now, and it just keeps getting better. I learn from watching the students, I keep growing on a daily basis. The yoga does not change, I enjoy the way I keep changing and I see the way YOU keep changing!
NAMASTE, SEE YOU ON THE MAT.